Gray Ghost Harvest

On Sunday Warren, his parents (flew in from New Orleans), and I went to Gray Ghost to help harvest the chardonnay grapes. We’ve harvested several years in a row now and always have a good time. I was so distracted by the harvesting that I forgot to take some video of the actual harvesting. However, I did shoot some video of the process after picking the grapes. Here’s a short video of what happens to the grapes after they are harvested.

September Tasting Roundup

September Tasting Roundup
Our past posts featured festivals and the wineries that participated.  Of course, we had a great time and tasted some nice wines.  However, we did get out to other wineries in the course of the month but did not write about them.  In this post, I briefly touch upon these wineries, and they include Pearmund Cellars, Hiddencroft Vineyards, and Notaviva Vineyards.

Pearmund Cellars always offers an extensive tasting menu, and this time was no exception.  Paul and I split a combination of the classic and reserve tastings.  Of the white wines, we both favored the 2008 Sauvignon Blanc with its citrusy characteristics. Paul also fancied the medium-bodied 2007 Lisa’s Merlot. My own favorite was the bolder 2007 Ameritage Reserve with its flavors of dark plums, black cherry, and anise.


We always look forward to an update from Clyde and Terri Housel at Hiddencroft Vineyards. We both favored the 2008 Traminette with its spicy nose and pineapple notes. The 2008 vintage does include a blending of 10% Vidal Blanc. We also concurred with our favorite red wine, the Cabernet Franc Reserve that included tobacco notes along with dark berry fruit flavors.


Notaviva Vineyards continues to expand its offerings, and these include award winning wines produced from grapes grown in their own vineyards.  Its selection of wines is called the Music Series with each wine “named after musical terms to represent the emotions they inspire.” Our favorite here was the Vincero Viognier which is done in stainless steel and presents stone fruit and white pepper.  Pleasant acidity and a refreshing crispness made for a “passionate” pour. The 2007 Cantabile Cabernet Franc  was our favorite red wine. Raspberry and pepper notes with a subtle tobacco presence present a symphonic blend in the mouth!


So as fall makes its arrival, we bring our September tastings to a close. Plan a trip to Pearmund Cellars, Hiddencroft Vineyards, and Notaviva Vineyards, and be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you!


Sample and Enjoy 20 different Wines for Only $10 Per Person

The North End Wine Club at the Surf Club Ocean Grille is resuming. Twenty wines– reds and whites – will be available for sample from Surf Club’s exquisite collection. (Customers have the opportunity to
purchase bottles of wine — with special pricing — to take home for later enjoyment.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009, begins: 7 PM

$10 per person (plus tax & gratuity)

Open to the Public ~ NEWC membership not required

Surf Club Ocean Grille
Adjacent to the Wyndham Virginia Beach Oceanfront
5700 Atlantic Avenue
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

Please call 757-425-5699 to R.S.V.P. or for more details.
*The North End Wine Club is limited to 100 people so call today to reserve your spot.

Great Grapes Festival at Reston Town Center

On Sunday Warren and I had the opportunity to attend the Great Grapes Wine, Arts, & Food Festival at Reston Town Center. There were 15 wineries in attendance and many vendors and food booths at the festival. The weather was perfect for the occasion.

General Motors sponsored the event and had several new Buick LaCrosses parked at the event for people to check out and learn about. There were many representatives there offering cool Buick wine bottle stoppers for answering a few questions about the new Buick LaCrosse. Warren and I both answered the questions correctly and walked away with our own wine bottle stopper!


We made our way around the event visiting many of the 15 wineries. Here are some of the wineries we visited and which wines got our gold stars.

Cooper Vineyards-We had the chance to taste Cooper Vineyards wines back in July when they appeared at Hartwood Winery. It was good to see some familiar faces. Our gold stars went to the 2008 Coopertage Blanc and the 2008 Petit Verdot. We walked away with bottles of both of these.


Chateau Morrisette-I once called this winery the Disneyland of Virginia wineries but my opinion has changed somewhat. We have tasted their wines for a long time and this time our gold stars went to the Viognier and the Cabernet Franc.

Fabbioli Cellars-We love all the wines that Doug produces. We always enjoy talking with Doug as well. While we do love all the wines, the gold stars went to the 2008 8 Chains LoCo Vino and the 2008 Cabernet Franc.


Vino Curioso-We have only ever tasted these wines at festivals. We know they are planning to eventually have a tasting room but until then we’ll continue to learn about their wines at festivals. Our gold star here goes to the Yesterday which is a sauvignon Blanc.


Chateau O’Brien-We haven’t visited Howard in a long time so we need to plan a trip there soon. It was nice to see some familiar faces at the booth though. Our gold stars here go to the 2007 Northpoint Rose and the 2008 Virginia Apple Wine.


First Colony-Our gold stars went to the 2008 Viognier and the 2006 Late Harvest. Both very nice wines.

After visiting all the winery booths we got some lunch and then wandered around enjoying all the vendor booths. I had to buy some kettle corn and some peanut brittle. It was really good. We also enjoyed the live music at the event. We even picked up some reusable shopping bags from the Giant booth.




It was great day and the weather was perfect. We enjoyed all the wine, food, and vendors. We even considered getting a Buick LaCrosse at one point! If you happen to visit any of the wineries mentioned please tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!


Wine Festival At The Plains

On Saturday Warren and I attended The Commonwealth Polo and WIne Event at The Plains. As you can see from the photos on the last post, it was a beautiful setting at Great Meadow. Even though the skies were cloudy and it was a little chilly for early September there was no rain which made it perfect for enjoying wine tasting, browsing the exhibits, and watching the polo matches. We had a great time.


Our focus of course was on the wines. There were many wineries tasting at the event. Many of the wineries we’ve visited before but there were also a few new ones. Here’s a listing of most of the wineries we visited at the festival and which wines got our gold stars.

Gabriele Rausse Winery-Stars go to the 2007 Refosco and the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.


Philip Carter Winery-Stars go to the recently released 2008 Chardonnay and the Meritage. We plan to visit Philip Carter soon because they have some new wines coming out this fall.


Gadino Cellars-Our gold stars were given to the 2007 Viognier and the 2007 Cabernet Franc…both really nice, strong wines. We have to make a visit to the winery soon.


Aspen Dale-We had a great time visiting with Shay McNeal when we visited Aspen Dale Winery so it was nice to see her again at the tasting booth. Our gold star here goes to the 2008 Parris Country Blend Merlot.


Fox Meadow Winery-We haven’t been here in a long time so it was nice to taste their current offerings. Our gold stars went to the 2008 Riesling and the 2006 Merlot.


Miracle Valley-We’ve visited this one a few times and always enjoy their wines. Our gold star here goes to the 2008 Cabernet Franc.

Holly Grove Vineyard-This is a new one to us. We are curious to make a trip to the eastern shore for a visit sometime. Our gold star here went to the 2008 Sunset Rose.


Bright Meadow-This is another new one to us. We’ll have to plan a trip down south for this one. Our gold star here went to the Burley Red.


After our tasting we made our way to the the food vendors and had ourselves some brick oven pizza with a bottle of Parris Country Blend Merlot from Aspen Dale. It went beautifully with our spicy pizza.


After enjoying our lunch, we took some time to enjoy the polo matches that were taking place right in front of us. The arrangement of the food vendors, seating areas, and shopping vendors was perfect for enjoying the polo while enjoying other activities. Warren has decided he’d like to learn how to play polo!



At the end of the polo matches, we did a little shopping at different exhibits. We left with some peanut brittle and some biscotti. We loaded up our purchases and headed home. It was a long day but one we thoroughly enjoyed. If you visit any of the wineries mentioned, please tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Narmada Winery Opens

During a Labor Day weekend trip to Amissville, we paid a visit to Narmada Winery on its opening weekend.  We also got to briefly chat with winemaker Rob Cox about the winery, its vineyards, and the future.


We were struck by the expanse of the property that includes Narmada Winery.  This includes the home of owners, Sudhas and Pandit Patil, the vineyards, barrel room, and future tasting room.  A man made pond adds a bucolic touch, too.  On opening day, though, the tasting room was still under construction, and tasting were conducted beneath tents that overlooked the property and its amenities.  Of course, we all about the wine, and winemaker Rob Cox guided us through the list of current releases.  The first wine was also the only white wine offered, and it was affectionately called Mom to recall the hard work and dedication associated with being a Mom.  It’s made from Chardonel , a French-American hybrid, grown on the estate and spends  some time spent in both oak barrels and stainless steel tanks.  It presents pleasant pear aromas and flavors with a subtle almond at the end. Boasting 1.5% residual sugar, Mom is a refreshing wine but not cloyingly sweet.  In fact, it was the perfect pour for the warm afternoon and would make for an easy sipper or picnic partner.  (I also imagine that many Moms would love to relax with a glass of this one after a hard day!)


Of the four reds available for tasting, three were Chambourcin products; Chambourcin, too is a hybrid grape and grows well in Virginia.  Our favorite here was the dry Chambourcin known as Reflection.  Treated seven months in oak, Reflection is a light-bodied wine with bright cherry and raspberry notes.  I think this would be a nice red wine to enjoy during summer time with grilled or spicy fare.  An interesting port-style wine was Primita which comes in at 9% residual sugar; it’s also blended with a bit of Grenache.  Destined to be great with dark chocolate, I’d also enjoy Primita with a strong cheese.


As we swirled and sipped, we also got to chat with Rob Cox. He recognized us from the blog even though we were trying to be anonymous. Rob’s credentials include work at Pearmund Cellars, and he has worked with Sudha and Pandit Patil to produce upcoming releases that will include Chardonnay, Viognier, and Cabernet Franc.  The Patils are of Indian heritage; therefore, they favor varietals and a winemaking style that can compliment spicy cuisine such as Indian food.  Their vineyard adventures began six years after they purchased the Amissville property in 1999.  Fourteen acres of property are now in vines.  The tasting room will open in November.


So with our tasting done, we shared a glass of the Mom Chardonel and enjoyed the blue grass rhythms of a local trio.  We do plan to return to Narmada especially once the tasting room is open for business, and we are eager to try the upcoming releases.  Be sure to stop by Narmada Winery, and mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.