Virginia Wine Time

We Enjoy Virginia Wine

Month: June 2010 (page 2 of 3)

You Are The Winemaker

Yes, at Vint Hill Craft Winery you are indeed the winemaker. Rather than try to explain this novel concept to you, I’ll simply cut and paste from the winery’s website:

You are the Winemaker! Choose to make wine with us as it is crafted to your specifications, in your style with your name, a label of your design and of course, your story behind it. Vint Hill Craft Winery provides the opportunity for individuals or small groups to participate alongside our expert winemaking team to ‘Craft’ their own wine at our specially designed, eco-friendly, ‘small lot’ winery. Customers will receive hands-on instruction in every aspect of the process; crafting their own personalized wine, beginning with the selection of your grapes from California, Washington and, of course, Virginia!

My Dad was in town this past weekend, and we decided to pay a visit to Vint Hill Craft Winery. The winery is off of the beaten wine path, but we did indeed find the winery and tasting room. The facility itself has quite a history, and it was once an intelligence gathering post operated by the US Army. This operation ended in 1997 after 55 years of service; however, the facility received a new life in 2009. Winemaker Chris Pearmund and businessman Ray Summerell opened the Vint Hill Craft Winery for the purpose of providing a facility for aspiring winemakers. As an extension of the process, the tasting room recently opened to allow consumers the opportunity to taste the finished products. The craft winery’s motto? Create, Taste, Learn.

Tasting was certainly on our agenda, and we were offered three flights to sample. Since there were three of us at the tasting bar, we each took a flight. Dad and I opted to sample the Chardonnay flight, Paul made a go of the Viognier flight, and we all tasted the red flight. Of the Chardonnays, Dad and I both concurred that the 2009 Chardonnay VHCW was the winner. Aged in both new and neutral French oak barrels, the pear flavors, and rich, honeyed texture made for an easy sipper or food-friendly pour. The grapes used, though were not grown in Virginia and come from the Russian River Valley of California. For those who favor a more buttery Chardonnay, the 2008 VHCW is the one to try, and the grapes were indeed grown in Virginia at the Broad Run vineyard. Paul weighed in on his favorite Viognier, and he preferred the 2009 VHCW crafted from grapes grown in the Pan d’Or Vineyard of Virginia. The honeysuckle notes were undeniable with characteristic stone fruit flavors in the mouth. Another nice sipper but could complement a shellfish dinner.

We let Dad select the favorite red, and he liked the 2008 VHCW Merlot from the Crown Orchard Vineyard in Virginia. This one was aged in American oak, so we were not surprised by the smoky aromas; I caught a whiff of dried herbs, too. Dark cherry, spice and tobacco were prevalent flavors, and we all noticed a lengthier finish. Dad likes to grill, and he thought this one might go well with grilled fare that featured a dab of barbeque sauce.

With our tasting done, we each purchased a bottle of our favorite wine. On another note, our visit to Vint Hill Craft Winery brings the number of wineries visited by Virginia Wine Time up to 99! Yes, we’re one winery away from #100! Which winery will it be? Well, we haven’t decided yet, so keep tuning in. In the meantime, visit Vint Hill Craft Winery, but mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Notaviva Vineyards

A few weeks ago we met some fellow wine bloggers Suzie, and Josh) at Notaviva Vineyards for a tasting and to celebrate my birthday. We were anxious to see what was new on the tasting menu. Notaviva was a very busy place but we found a spot at the tasting bar and checked out the new wines.

Of course we started with the whites. Notaviva has two viogniers-one that is fermented in stainless steel and one in barrels. The stainless steel version, Vincero, was crisp and tart with a floral nose. Even though it was our first wine, this one got my gold star. Next was the barrel fermented viognier, Ottantotto. Warren noted banana and peach here. This one became Warren’s favorite. We then tasted the Verano, a vidal blanc that is barrel fermented. This one has 1% residual sugar. We noted peach and a creamy mouth feel. The last white we tasted was the Calor Chardonnay. This one also had 1% residual sugar. We noted a nice floral nose with apple on the palate.

There were two reds to taste. We tasted the Celtico Chambourcin and the Cantabile Cabernet Franc. We noted jam, cherry, and cranberry tartness from the Chambourcin. This one was just recently bottled and was cloudy so we’ll need to give this one some time to get used to being in the bottle. The Cabernet Franc presented a fruity nose with raspberries noted. We also noted a spicy/herby quality. This was not one of my favorites but others in our group enjoyed it. We finished our tasting with the Gitano, a sweet red consisting of tint cao, merlot, and cabernet franc.

With our tasting complete, we secured two bottles for our lunch. We decided to have both the viogniers and do our own little comparison with our food items. Both viogniers went well with our cheeses and crackers and various other items. They even went well with the birthday cake Dezel brought for my birthday. As it turns out, it was a split decision. Some really liking the stainless steel and some really liking the barrel fermented version.

During our tasting we were able to chat with Stephen Mackey, owner and winemaker. We’ve talked with Stephen several times over the years while watching the winery grow. He caught us up on what’s been happening lately. He let us know several wines will be released in the coming months. It was great catching up with him. You need to plan a trip to Notaviva soon. And when you do, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Manassas Wine and Jazz Festival

Out and About

We’ve been out and about on the wine trail recently. Here are a few stops we made and photos from each stop.

One stop was at Naked Mountain. We always enjoy going to Naked Mountain and finding out about their new releases. Here are some pictures from that visit. I’ll note here that my gold star went to the 2008 Unoaked Chardonnay. Warren’s gold star goes to the 2006 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay. This is typical for us. I prefer stainless and Warren prefers barrel fermented.

Village Winery is another winery we visited recently. Kent Marrs, the winemaker and owner, always treats us so well when we visit. We visited with our wine blogging friend Dezel from myvinespot. Our gold star here went to the combination of Elderberry Sparkling drink and the Apple wine. This was perfect the day we were there because it was quite warm and the drink was quite cool. Here are a few photos from the visit.

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