Many wineries reflect the passions and pasts of their owners in the names of wines or trinkets on the wall. For the story of Desert Rose owner Bob Claymier, just look at the bar, where every imaginable foreign currency is embedded, mementos from the far-flung places his career with the CIA took him. After retiring, Claymier had settled into life as a rancher, but in
2011, the whisperer and his wife, Linda, added "winemakers" to their resumes.
A sense of humor finds its way into their wines, which include "R.E.D.," a Chambourcin named for the 2010 movie about former
black-ops in their golden years, and "Ole Moo Moo," an off-dry white blend of viognier and vidal blanc that takes its name from the ranch's sole cow. With a pond and log-cabin feel, the estate alone makes Desert Rose worth a visit, but the chatty attendants also are great resources on the wines.
There is one snag to getting to Desert Rose. Ignore your GPS to avoid driving several miles on frustratingly bumpy gravel roads. As you leave Linden Vineyards, return to John Marshall Highway and then go east to Leeds Manor Road. This will lead you to the rural ranch far faster.
-- Lavanya Ramanathan (Aug. 17, 2012)