Virginia Wine Time

We Enjoy Virginia Wine

Month: September 2010 (page 2 of 3)

Gemstones at Hillsborough Vineyards

It’s been two years since we have posted about a tasting experience at Hillsborough Vineyards, and we decided to update ourselves about the latest offerings at the winery this past weekend.

Tastings are now offered at tables and presented in four flights. The first flight presented the two white wines, Carnelian and Opal. Both are blends that include Chardonnay. Our star for this flight was the floral scented Carnelian 2007, a blend of Rousanne and Chardonnay. Pear and almond elements were apparent with a crisp, medium finish. Opal was also quite pleasant and currently features petit Manseng as well as Viognier and Chardonnay. Richer bodied, this aromatic wine would pair well with shellfish.

The second flight and third flights all featured red wines which ranged from the medium-bodied Garnet 2007 to the inky, bolder Onyx 2007. Garnet 2007 is a blend of traditional viniferous grapes that includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Still young, this gemstone presents cherry and violet aromas and flavors. However, we split our gold star awards. Paul favored the Bloodstone 2006 with Fer Servadou (85%) prevailing in the blend. Supporting roles are played by Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) nd Tannat (5%). Earthy elements dominate in this full-bodied wine, and Paul noted ash and tobacco on the nose. Firm tannins and a nice structure make this one a perfect partner with steaks or game. My own star went to the Onyx 2007, the boldest of the red wine offerings at Hillsborough. Intense, inky color and layers of flavors that include dark plums, mocha and spice suggest a more complex wine. Definitely age worthy and from the classic 2007 vintage to boot, I’d serve this one with a very hearty meal on a very cold night!

The final flight featured the crips, Provence-style rose, Seferfina 2008. Roses are versatile and by no means are they meant to be enjoyed only during summer. Herbed poultry or baked ham are commonly found on holiday menus, and Serefina should pair quite nicely with them. In fact, we enjoyed a glass of the Serefina after our tasting with a cheese plate and spicy summer sausage! Heavy cheese courses, though, should be partnered with the Moonstone 2008 made from late harvest Viognier. Aromatic with rich apricot flavors, its honeyed texture would compliment blue cheeses served with a warm baguette.

With our tasting done, we chatted for a bit with winemaker and owner, Bora Baki. Future plans include a phasing out of Viognier, a variety that Baki finds difficult to grow in the Hillsborough vineyard. Instead, efforts will be spent on Rousanne and Petit Manseng; these will be the sole varietals found in future productions of Carnelian and Opal. We’re paying closer attention to Petit Manseng as it is appearing more frequently on the tasting menus and has the potential to rival Viognier as a flagship varietal in Virginia.

We promised Bora to return to Hillsborough Vineyards much sooner next time, and we know that readers will want to visit even sooner. Please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Twitter Tasting

Tune into Twitter this evening at 7:30 to participate in the LIVE tasting of the new release of the 2008 Wooloomooloo from Mountfair Vineyards. Several wine bloggers and industry people will all be tasting the wine at the same time and Tweeting about it LIVE! Join in the fun! Ask questions! Find out what we all think of the wine! Click over on the right side to follow us on Twitter! You can also follow the #mountfair hashtag to read all the Tweets about the wine.

New Whites at Breaux Vineyards

Over the weekend we went to Breaux Vineyards to pick up my cellar club selections. As you may or may not remember the wines in the Cellar Club at Breaux are created just for the club members. That’s what makes this wine club special. While at Breaux to pick up the wines, we decided to do a regular tasting with one of our favorite tasting associates, Sylvia. Many of the 2009 whites were recently released.

The Cellar Club selections included the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc Water Bent Barrels. We noted smoke, citrus, and nice acids. The water bent barrels make this a really nice wine. The Cellar Club selections also included the 2007 Merlot. Here we noted extracted fruit, integrated tannins, and smoke. You can drink this one now or save it for years to come.

Here’s a rundown of the 2009 whites from the regular tasting and what we noted about each one. After tasting them all we decided we liked them all and couldn’t decide on specific gold stars.

2009 Jolie Blonde-lemon, grapefruit, crisp, and dry
2009 Viognier-honeysuckle, peach, tart, citrus
2009 Madeleine’s Chardonnay-pear, tropical fruit, pineapple, crisp
2009 Jennifer’s Jambalaya-1% residual sugar, crisp, nice acids, lime
2009 Nebbiolo Ice-peach, creamy, nice texture

During our tasting with Sylvia, Bruce came in with fresh barber juice. In the winery they were in the process pushing down the fruit and Bruce secured a taste of the fresh juice for us. It was very sweet and fibrous.

On another note we have to mention the Equation. Every time we taste the Equation we note something different. This wine is definitely changing with time. We appreciate the changes each time we taste it. It just keeps getting better. We even left with a bottle this time! Plan a visit to Breaux Vineyards soon and check out all the new white wines and re-discover some of the reds again and of course, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

The Wine Festival at The Plains

On Saturday we went to the Wine Festival at The Plains. Great Meadow is a beautiful location for a wine festival and the weather made it even more perfect. The event is always held under huge tents so even if there was a threat of rain, it wouldn’t stop anyone from tasting some wonderful Virginia wines. Besides all the Virginia wineries that attended the event, there were several food venders as well as booths full of items for shopping. And you can’t forget the Polo!

Of course we attended the festival for the wine. We stopped at many of the winery booths and tasted lots of Virginia wine. Here are some wines we made note of from the festival:

Cooper Vineyards-Chardonnay and the Petit Verdot

Loudoun Valley Vineyards-Pinot Grigio and the Vinifera Red

White Fences-Meteor Glow and the Meteor Bright Red

Bright Meadows-Rebellion Red

Fabbioli Cellars-Tre Sorelle, Rosa Luna, and the Cab Franc

Gadino Cellars-Barrel Select Chardonnay (NICE!), the Cab Franc and an extra star for the Dolce Sofia

Delaplane Cellars-Emerald Lake Viognier

Miracle Valley-Chardonnay and the Cab Franc

Aspen Dale-Mary-Madeleine’s Rose and the Rockawalkin’ Cabernet Sauvignon

Kluge Estate-the Viognier and the Blanc de Blanc sparkling

delFosse-Rose, Merlot, and the Cuvee Laurant

We always have a fun time at the festival and enjoy catching up with many of our wine friends. We encourage our readers to check out all these wines. And we hope you’ll plan to attend the next Wine Festival at The Plains. Here are a few photos from the day.

Tasting Roundup: Tarara Winery and Pearmund Cellars

Today’s roundup features recent tasting at Tarara Winery and Pearmund Cellars. These were done within the past two weeks, but back to work schedules created a bit of a backlog. So here we go:

Tarara Winery: This time around we participated in the regular tasting as opposed to the premier tasting, and six wines for sampling. Of the white wines, we awarded our gold stars to the Charval 2009; in fact, we were shocked at ourselves, because Charval was never a favorite of ours in the past. However, this version was a crisper yet fruity pour that includes a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Pinot Gris. Citrus notes abound with a nice acidity that makes it a pleasant sipper or a perfect mealtime companion if shellfish is on the menu. I also enjoyed the Rose 2008 with its notes of strawberries and crushed herbs. Salmon pink in color and quite dry, this is a Rose that should prove to be quite versatile with both summer and fall menus. The reds all seemed a bit tight, and of the three reds to sample, the Cabernet Franc seemed to spend the least amount of time on oak—15 months. All were aged in American oak, so the descriptors, “spicy” and “pepper” were scribbled frequently on our tasting sheet. These are all food wines, and our favorite was the Long Bomb Edition 1. A dense core suggested a bolder wine with aromas of violet and dark fruit. Tannins were “chewy.” Long Bomb Edition 1 is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, but purists may be disheartened to know that the fruit used in this blend is not from Virginia; however, Long Bomb Edition 2 does indeed include fruit grown exclusively in Virginia.

As we sipped and savored, we received tweets about the $10 tasting fee and whether or not we thought it too steep. To be honest, it is one of the highest fees for a regular tasting that we’ve encountered; however, the tasting pours were quite generous, the wines were all well-crafted, and the tasting associate was very knowledgeable. We’ve also noticed overall improvements in the quality of Tarara’s wines thanks to talented winemaker Jordan Harris. Given those factors, I did not regret paying the tasting fee. In fact, we ended up staying a bit longer to enjoy a glass of the Charval 2009!

Pearmund Cellars: Lots to taste here, so we split a classic and a reserve tasting and were not bashful about spitting or dumping. Of the whites, I was most intrigued with the 2009 Petit Manseng, a brand new offering on the Pearmund lineup. Done in stainless steel, it presented aromas and flavors of apricot and pineapple. Pay attention to this variety as it is appearing more frequently in Virginia’s tasting rooms. Paul’s favorite was the 2009 Riesling. We enjoyed a sample of this one at the Iron Bridge Wine Co. in Warrenton, and the tasting here confirmed Paul’s favorable opinion. Pear notes dominate while soft lime flavors refresh the palate. Nice with spicy foods and do try this one with stronger cheeses, too. Of the red wines, we both converged on the 2008 Ameritage which is a Bordeaux blend. Lush flavors of blackberry, cherry, plum and anise prevail with this one, and it should prove to be a perfect match with steaks.

With summer fading away, plan fall trips to Tarara Winery and Pearmund Cellar. Be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you!

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