DC’s Holiday Wine Mall is taking place this coming weekend! A great opportunity to get all the wine gifts you need for the holidays!
DC’s Holiday Wine Mall is taking place this coming weekend! A great opportunity to get all the wine gifts you need for the holidays!
While decorating Warren’s tree last night with his parents, we decided to have to some nibbles and wine. Warren selected the 2009 Cabernet Franc from Gray Ghost and the 2009 Chardonnay from Chrysalis.
From the 2009 Cabernet Franc from Gray Ghost we noted a light garnet color, bramble berry and cherry on the nose, cherry and spice in the mouth, and a nice smooth finish. The 2009 Chardonnay from Chrysalis presented pear, apple and some cedar on the nose, was light and crisp with apple flavors in the mouth, and some creaminess at the end. Both paired well with light fair of cold cuts, white cheeses, baguette and crackers. The wines and nibbles were a great way to start the holiday season and made trimming Warren’s tree even more fun.
After we visited Breaux Vineyards last Sunday, we headed to Sunset Hills to taste the wines. This was the first time Warren’s parents have visited Sunset Hills. We were lucky to be visiting them on their two year anniversary weekend.
Sunset Hills currently only has two whites available for tasting. We were disappointed to find out so many of their wines were sold out. We were hoping to try the viognier but that just wasn’t to be. However, we did taste two chardonnays. Here are my impressions:
2009 Chardonnay-peach, fruity, round mouth feel, my kind of chard, easy to drink, patio sipper, this one gets my gold star.
2009 Reserve Chardonnay-oak, butter nose, Warren’s kind of chardonnay, more complex, Warren’s gold star.
After the two chardonnays, we moved on to the reds. There were four to taste. Here are my notes:
2008 Cabernet Franc-raspberry nose, pepper, paired with pepperoni and cheese, more of a pizza wine, this one got my gold star for the reds.
2008 Cabernet Franc Reserve-earthy nose, dark fruit, higher percentage of cab franc, 84%, more herbal notes, mocha, Warren’s gold star.
2008 Cabernet Sauvignon-herb on the nose, cherry, plum, cedar, black pepper, 9% cab franc, a little young, can lay down a few years.
2008 Petit Verdot – 25% cab sauv, chocolate nose, medium bodied (the tasting notes say this is a monster red), blueberry, cherry, earthy qualities.
After our tasting we selected the 2008 Cabernet Franc to have with some lunch items. We chose several items from the Lite Fare menu to have for lunch with the cab franc. Before leaving we saw this wonderful sunset. It certainly explains the name of the winery. How lucky we were to see it! Next time you find yourself visiting Sunset Hills, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
Happy Thanksgiving! Today Warren made the thanksgiving meal for me, my mom, and his parents. Everything was delicious of course and we had a wonderful time visiting with everyone. Normally we would post about what wines to serve for Thanksgiving. This time however, we’re posting after the fact and posting about the wines we did have for Thanksgiving. It was mostly a Gray Ghost Thanksgiving this year.
We began with a butternut squash soup and had the 2009 Gewurztraminer from Gray Ghost. After the soup Warren served a harvest salad with the 2008 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay from Fox Meadow. The main course consisted of turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cornbread dressing, cranberry sauces (both kinds), green beans, and cornbread. We had the 2009 Cabernet Franc from Gray Ghost. For desert we had Warren’s mother’s pecan pie and the 2009 Adieu from Gray Ghost. All the wines paired perfectly with the meal. What Virginia wines did you have for Thanksgiving?
Warren’s parents are in town for Thanksgiving so we decided to take them to a few wineries in Loudoun County on Sunday. I also needed to pick up my Cellar Club selection at Breaux Vineyards so we stopped there first. We always have a great time at Breaux. Our favorite tasting associates Bruce and Silvia, were at the tasting bar and Bruce conducted our tasting. We also ran into our wine friends Susan and Stacy.
Since we visit Breaux on a regular basis there usually isn’t anything new for us to taste but this time there was a new cab franc and several barrel samples to try. After sampling all the regulars, we go to the 2006 Marquis De Lafayette. It was released about two months ago. It’s 100% Cabernet Franc and we noted dark plums, raspberry, pepper, and spice. It has a smooth ending as well. We thought this one would be perfect with turkey on Thanksgiving. While at the tasting bar we were also able to taste the 2009 Viognier. We really enjoyed the floral and honeysuckle notes on this one. There is so little left that it’s not even on the tasting menu. If you want a bottle you need to get to the tasting room soon. The 2009 Viognier received one of our gold stars!
After our regular tasting we moved on to the barrel samples. We were able to taste samples of the 2008 cab franc, the 2008 malbec, the 2008 syrah, the 2008 petit verdot, and the 2007 nebbiolo. We’re not sure if these barrels will be blended to make other wines or if they will become stand alone wines. It’s too early to tell. However, we did enjoy the 2008 cab franc. It’s really fruity right now with hints of jam and spice. We think this one will turn out to be really nice. We decided to award a good star to this one. We look forward to tasting it in the bottle.
After tasting all the wonderful wines and chatting it up with Bruce and Silvia and Susan and Stacy, Warren opted to enjoy a glass of the 2008 Barrel Select Chardonnay and his dad selected the 2004 Merlot to enjoy on the patio. If you stop at Breaux anytime soon, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
Virginia Wine Bloggers Unite to Promote DC’s Wine Country – the Wines of Loudoun County
Virginia wine bloggers – Frank from DrinkWhatYouLike.com, Va Wine Diva & Grape Envy Guy from SwirlSipSnark.com, and Paul & Warren from VirginiaWineTime.com – along with the Virginia Wine Board and Loudoun County wineries will host the first ever TasteLive! event dedicated to showcasing the wines of Loudoun County, VA.
TasteLive! is the world’s premiere online wine and beer tasting community that leverages the increasingly powerful social media tools of Twitter, Facebook, Posterous, and other services to create a community that brings together consumers, bloggers, press, suppliers, and winemakers from across the world to taste and discuss wine virtually.
On Thursday, December 9, the wines of Loudoun County will take center stage in a TasteLive! virtual wine tasting dedicated to showcasing the wines of DC’s Wine Country – Loudoun County. Wine bloggers and wine enthusiasts throughout the US will come together online at 8pm Eastern Time to taste & tweet about the wines of Loudoun County. This event will serve as an introduction to Virginia wine for several participants and is a prelude to the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference which will be held in Charlottesville, VA in July.
Located just 25 miles from Washington, DC, Loudoun County – referred to as DC’s Wine Country – is home to 27 wineries and tasting rooms organized into four clusters sprinkled throughout bucolic countryside.
This tasting features wines from five different Loudoun County wineries, and winemakers from each will be joining in the virtual discussion. The five featured Loudoun wineries and wines are:
2009 Ottantotto Viognier
Part of the Loudoun Heights cluster, Notaviva Vineyards is one of Loudoun’s newest wineries. Husband and wife team Stephen and Shannon Mackey were brought together by their love of music, which is expressed further through their wines. Notaviva is from the Italian nota – music note and viva – with life. In keeping with their love of music and wine, each Notaviva flagship wine is named after musical terms to represent the emotions they inspire.
Follow Notaviva on Twitter: @Notaviva
2009 Nevaeh White
Part of the Potomac wine cluster, Tarara Winery is a terroir-driven winery crafting artisanal, hand crafted wines to best showcase their vineyards through single vineyard blends capturing the essence of the unique sites and classic varietals around Virginia.
Follow Tarara on Twitter: @TararaWinery
2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve
Part of the Loudoun Heights cluster, Breaux Vineyards overlooks the beautiful valley between the Blue Ridge and Short Hill Mountains. The 404-acre Breaux estate has over 100 acres planted in 18 different grape varieties. Be sure to check out the Breaux Vineyards introduction video at VisitLoudoun.org.
Follow Breaux Vineyards on Twitter: @BreauxVineyards
8 Chains North
2008 Furnace Mountain Red Reserve
8 Chains North Winery, located in Waterford, Virginia, showcases handcrafted wines made from Loudoun County grapes. ‘At 8 Chains North we spend 8 intense months in our vineyards on the Potomac River and in the Short Hill Mountains of Loudoun County, allowing us to draw out the very best of every vintage.’
Follow 8 Chains North on Twitter: @8ChainsNorth
North Gate Vineyard
2008 Petit Verdot
North Gate Vineyard is situated in on approximately 26 acres in the northwest part of Loudoun County, Virginia. Nestled against the eastern base of the Short Hill mountains (foothills to the Blue Ridge), North Gate Vineyard produces high quality wine grapes for its own set of wines as well as other wineries in Virginia. Husband and wife team Mark and Vicki Fedor have been growing grapes since 2002 and have been part of the winemaking scene in Loudoun since 2003.
Follow North Gate on Twitter: @NorthGateWines
We’re sure many of you are fans of Loudoun County wine, these wineries, and even these specific wines, so we hope that you’ll join us for this tasting. A major benefit of a virtual wine tasting is that everyone can become a participant.
You can tweet along (or follow the tweet stream if you’re shy). You can do this by logging into the TasteLive! Platform or following the twitter stream for the hashtag #vawine through your favorite twitter platform (e.g., TweetDeck). If you don’t tweet, you can also follow the twitter stream by searching on the hashtag #vawine from the twitter home page since you do not need to have a twitter account to look at tweets.
Please join us; this would be a great time to gather your wine friends and celebrate the wines of Loudoun County. After all, how often do you have the opportunity to chat about wines with both the winemakers and some of your favorite bloggers all at the same time?
Our last spate of winery visits found us at Fox Meadow Vineyards. We realized that our previous visit was sometime in the late fall or early winter of last year, so we were well over due for a tasting. With taste buds at the ready, we made our way to the tasting room to sample the latest pours at Fox Meadow Vineyards.
Fox Meadow Vineyards was quite abuzz with activity upon our arrival on a Saturday afternoon. I’m sure the seasonal temperatures, colors and nice wines had something to do with it. Of the white wines that we sampled, Paul favored the 2008 Oak Chardonnay aged for ten months in both French and American oak barrels. He appreciated the fruity nose with pear and pineapple notes with some honeysuckle to boot; pear flavors and a toasty finish made for a classic Chardonnay. My own favorite was the sneak sample of the yet-to-be released Reserve Chardonnay which was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels. This heavier-bodied Chardonnay exhibited fruit characteristics of pear and roasted pineapple with a toasted nut finish and a creamy mouth feel. Spicier foods might pair well with the Freezeland white, a sweeter, fruity wine; of course, we think of our friend Michael Tyler when we sample these wines, and we dutifully place the initials, MT, next to this selection.
Of the red wines, the unanimous favorite was the 2007 Renard Rouge. A complex meritage-style blend, it presented brambleberries and plums on the nose with additional earthy and spicy elements. Nice tannins make for a food-friendly wine if steaks are on the menu. The 2007 Renard Rouge won gold at the Governor’s Cup, and it is an example of the excellent reds that constitute the class of ’07 in Virginia. Those who are in search of a lighter-bodied red may prefer the 2007 Cabernet Franc with its raspberry and spice characteristics.
With our tasting completed. we shared a glass of the 2008 Oak Chardonnay while out on the deck to enjoy a nice fall afternoon. We plan to return to Fox Meadow, but readers may want to visit even sooner. Be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
Hurray for Virginia Wine Time!! Paul and I just learned that we will be awarded a Certificate of Accomplishment from Virginia’s First Lady, Maureen McDonnell. We will receive this official recognition at an award’s luncheon on December 2, 2010.
We’ll take this opportunity to pat ourselves on the back. Our mission has always been to promote the Virginia wine industry, and our original philosophy was that every winery makes at least one good bottle of wine. Five years later, we can report that many Virginia wineries produce more that one good bottle of wine, and several wineries now craft excellent wines across the board.
We’ve had a blast visiting at least 113 wineries, and along the way we’ve met passionate winemakers, vineyard managers, bloggers, and tasters. This award acknowledges that our efforts have been productive, and we plan to keep sipping and writing away!
Planning to visit Virginia wineries any time soon? Please mention that the award-winning Virginia Wine Time sent you!
Which one would you have with this meal? Turkey cutlets, rice, and sweet potatoes.