Virginia Wine Time

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Month: January 2011 (page 1 of 3)

Another Newbie: Crushed Cellars

During a recent trip on the Loudon County trail, we paid a visit to newly opened Crushed Cellars. The finishing touches were still being placed in the tasting room, but the tasting bar was ready for business.

Owner and winemaker Bob Kalok guided us through a tasting of the three wines available to sample and purchase. The first wine was a crisp, dry 2009 Seyval Blanc with its characteristic citrus and mineral elements. This one was my favorite of the wines that we tasted, and I think it would pair well with goat cheeses, poultry or shellfish. As an aperitif, the fruitier (and slightly sweeter) 2009 Vidal Blanc should prove to be popular. Paul enjoyed the vibrant 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon with its cherry and plum flavors and lingering finish.

Bob hopes to expand the offerings at Crushed Cellars in the new year to include Petit Verdot and Syrah. He also sells locally produced eggs, butter, and cheeses in the tasting room; in fact, he paired the wines with cheeses produced from local dairy farms. Bob also promised to keep his operation rather small but focused on quality wines.

Of course we will return to Crushed Cellars to taste new releases at Crushed Cellars. If you are planning to visit soon, mention to Bob Kalok that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Celebration Wines

Last night we had some friends over to help celebrate Warren’s birthday. I’m not a cook so Warren created a wonderful meal. Of course we had to serve Virginia wines with the meal.

We began the evening with white cheeses, baked shrimp wontons, and fruit. We paired these items with the 2008 Durant White from Pollak Vineyards. We enjoyed the crisp, fruity, mineral nature of this wine. It went perfectly with our food choices.

Warren then served a garden salad with a lemon vinaigrette. We paired the salad with the 2008 Sarah’s Chapeau from Aspen Dale Winery. This is a blend of vidal blanc and sauvignon blanc. The fruity, off-dry nature of this wine paired well with the salad.

For the main course Warren prepared a hearty beef stew with carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, and fresh thyme. We selected the 2008 Petit Verdot from Pollak Vineyards. We noted blackberry and plum notes and an earthiness. We poured the last two bottles I had on my rack. Unfortunately the Petit Verdot is sold out and I won’t be able to get any more. I’m looking forward to the next vintage!

We finished the evening with a very moist, chocolate birthday cake. I selected the 2009 Nebbiolo Ice Water Bent Barrels from the Cellar Selection from Breaux Vineyards. The delicious sweet strawberry notes complimented the chocolate cake. Everyone mentioned how much they enjoyed this one.

At the end of the evening we all decided that the 2008 Petit Verdot from Pollak Vineyards should get the gold star.

Warren and I continued his birthday celebration today by visiting Gray Ghost VIneyards, one of our favorite wineries. We are very familiar with their wines but always enjoy a tasting. We also enjoy chatting with Al, Cheryl and Amy about all things wine.

After our tasting we enjoyed some lunch nibbles with a bottle of the 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. What a wonderful bottle of wine. We noted dark fruit, tobacco, ash, and a lingering finish. We can always count on a great time at Gray Ghost.

If you visit any of these wineries anytime soon, please tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Winter Wines at Chateau O’Brien

We continue our quest to seek out wines that pair well with winter menus, and our tasting at Chateau O’Brien presented us with options.

As we entered the tasting room, we were warmly greeted by Howard O’Brien invited us to the tasting bar to sample the winery’s current releases. The regular tasting presented us with five wines to taste, and we were both impressed with the 2009 Northpoint White, a blend of Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay. Though perfect for spring and summer, the fruit forward style of this crisp blend makes it an excellent versatile sipper for winter if served with roasted poultry or pork. Before dinner, pair with brie and baguette.

Of the red wines, our favorite was found in the Cellar Collection which featured four red wines. The complex 2006 Northpoint Red, a true Bordeaux blend that includes all of the Bordeaux varietals, won our stars of approval. The grapes used in this blend were all grown on the northern slope of the Chateau at the Northpoint Vineyard. Darker fruit elements prevailed with this one with accents of tobacco and spice; Paul noted a smoother finish, too. Chateau O’Brien has earned notice for its quality Tannat, and the 2006 vintage should continue the accolades; dense and inky in color, we noted dark plum and cherry with aromas of leather and tar. Buy now but drink later with a hearty beef dish served beside a roaring fire.

Fruit wine lovers should appreciate the sweeter 2008 Virginia Apple Wine crafted from locally grown apples. Elegant and rich, this one should prove to be popular with dessert or on its own as a dessert.

Part of our experience at Chateau O’Brien was the ability to chat with both Howard and his wife Debbie; their enthusiasm for wine and winemaking is undeniable. Chateau O’Brien’s wines continue to be poured at the area’s top restaurants, and we see more good things for winery in the future. Planning a visit to Chateau O’Brien? Be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Miracle Valley

A few weeks ago we hitting the wine trail in the Delaplane area and stopped by Miracle Valley Vineyard to taste the wines and see what was new. We hadn’t been there for sometime so it was time to check in.

Our tasting associate guided us through the tasting beginning with the whites of course. We started with the 2008 Chardonnay. This one got my gold star. It’s aged in stainless steel and is crisp, with ripe pear and grapefruit notes. This is my kind of chardonnay. Warren preferred the 2008 Reserve Chardonnay which was aged in Hungarian oak for nine months. He noted hints of apple and pear with a bigger, rounder mouth feel than the stainless chardonnay.

Next up were the reds. We started with the 2008 Merlot. We noted blackberry, plum, spice and pepper. The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon was next. It was aged for 18 months in French oak. We jotted down cherry, blackberry, pepper, and wood on our tasting sheet. The last red was the 2008 Cabernet Franc. This one got the gold star from both of us. We enjoyed the cherry, blackberry, and vanilla notes with a hint of pepper and a very nice lingering finish.

With our tasting complete and our wine chatter with our tasting associate coming to an end, we purchased a bottle of the 2008 Chardonnay to bring home. This one would go on my rack. The next time you find yourself in the Delaplane area, stop by Miracle Valley Vineyard for a tasting and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Happy Birthday, Warren!

Today is Warren’s birthday! Leave him a birthday wish in the comments!

Winter Fare and Virginia Wines

This past weekend was probably the coldest days we’ve experienced in a winter that has been extremely cold. No wonder we sought out food and wines that kept us warm!

On Friday night, we dined on braised veal shanks (known as osso bucco) paired with the 2003 Nebbiolo Reserve from Barboursville Vineyards. Displaying the trademark brickish hue in the glass, this Nebbiolo revealed cherry, violet and tobacco aromas with lingering fruit on the finish.

Sunday was the day for Chrysalis‘ VIP members to attend a food and wine party hosted at the winery. Chef Hump Astorga had prepared a kale and Portuguese sausage soup to partner with the 2006 Rubiana and a barrel sample of the 2010 Barrel Select Norton. While we both appreciated the fruity, drink now Rubiana, it was the 2010 Barrel Select Norton that won our stars of approval. This one was a dead ringer for a lush, fruity Beaujolais made from the gamay grape. It’s sure to be a crowd favorite once it is bottled and released.

Plan your winter menus around favorite Virginia wines some of which may already be on your wine racks. If you need to stock up, visit Barboursville Vineyards and Chrysalis Vineyards; however, please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

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