Pick Up Party at Breaux

On Sunday we went to Breaux Vineyards to pick my Cellar Club selections. The selections were the 2008 Malbec and the 2007 Lot 751. We picked up the wines at the Pick Up party for club members. Breaux treats their club members very well. They set up the tank room with a long table on one side and smaller round tables on the other. There was a wonderful selection of foods that paired well with the wines. They also had a large screen showing photos from recent events at Breaux. Jen Breaux was there to welcome guests as well as many Breaux tasting associates.

Silvia waved us over to taste at her table. We started with the 2008 Malbec. I really enjoyed this one. It had a dark rich color, fruit forward in the mouth with a hint of tobacco. I think this one is ready to drink now but I’ll probably let it sit on the rack awhile. Next up was the 2007 Lot 751. This is a meritage style blend. Warren jotted down rich and complex. I liked the dark fruit on the nose and in the mouth with a hint of spice. It is young and will definitely be better in a few years. I would suggest putting this one on the rack and forget about it for a few years. With the nibbles they provided we enjoyed a glass of the 2002 Cellar Club Meritage. We noted dark fruit aromas, violet and licorice, tobacco and similar flavors in the mouth. We both noted a longer finish. This one is ready to enjoy now. We could see this with a nice thick steak.

One of the benefits of membership is access to some nice library wines on sale. After purchasing a few of my favorites, we said our goodbyes and headed back out on the wine trail. Next time you visit Breaux Vineyards tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Upcoming Releases at Corcoran Vineyards

So we’re back on the trail, and one of our first stops of the year was at Corcoran Vineyards. Owner Jim Corcoran conducted our tasting, and our palates were treated to some new and exciting developments.

Jim and Lori Corcoran are always looking for ways to put their own unique stamp on the Virginia wine industry; not just satisfied with same old same old, their mission is to produce wines that help to define themselves as makers of distinct, quality wines. Therefore, Jim was eager for us to sample some of the upcoming releases that include a Petit Manseng, a Petit Limon styled after the popular Italian wine, lemoncello, a raspberry merlot, and a port crafted from Chambourcin. My favorites were the Petit Manseng and the port. At 6% residual sugar, this Petit Manseng will indeed be sold as a dessert wine; it’s floral and citrus characteristics should prove to be a lovely way to end a dinner party. However, I tend to also like these kinds of wines with blue cheeses and a drizzle of honey. The Chambourcin-based port could likewise complement a cheese course or an afterdinner dessert that featured dark chocolate. Paul and I both predict, though, that summer-time favorites will be the Petit Manseng-based Petit Limon and the Raspberry Merlot. The Petit Limon is made with real lemons zested by Jim Corcoran himself—lots of them, too! It was quite refreshing and needed a warm, sunny day to be fully appreciated.

Jim offered to take us through a tasting of current releases, and of course, we took him up on the offer. Speaking of warm sunny days, the dry 2009 Hunters Run Rose had me thinking of a summer vacation in Provence. Created from Cabernet Franc, it presented strawberry and melon characteristcs; I love these kinds of Roses especially during the summer months. Jim shared with us that the upcoming Rose will feature the Chambourcin grape with a slight amount of residual sugar. Of the red wines we sampled, all were quite solid. My favorites were the classic 2009 Cabernet Franc and the complex Hunters Run Red. The 2009 Cabernet Franc was not blended, and it displayed the bright berry and spicy elements associated with this varietal. The 2009 Hunters Run Red is indeed a meritage blend and presented layers of darker cherry and plum flavors with smoother tannins. Paul’s own favorites were the 2009 Benevino Cabernet Franc and the 2009 Malbec. The Benevino Cabernet Franc was blended with a small amount of Tannat to give it a bolder body; it could certainly stand up to a steak dinner. As he sipped through the 2009 Malbec, Paul noted smokey, cherry and earthy elements; he’s a fan of Malbecs produced by Corcoran Vineyards, and he approved of this vintage!

With our tasting done, Jim then invited us to the tank room where he gave us other sneak samples that included an upcoming apple wine, a knockout Tannat, and a Petit Verdot that wowed Paul. We also got to see the small tanks of Petit limon that gave testimony to Jim’s expert zesting skills; another tank of orange zest suggested another experimental blend that may include Traminette as a base. We also witnessed an immaculate barrel room with state of the art control systems to insure proper temperatures and humidity. Though Jim appeared to be the wizard of winemaking at Corcoran Vineyards, he constantly credited his wife Lori for producing Corcoran’s solid line up of wines. We concluded that both Jim and Lori bring their considerable talents to all of these efforts, and it is without doubt that success will continue for Corcoran Vineyards.

With our tastings done, we stocked up on our favorite Corcoran wines, and we know that we will return for a sample of new releases. In the meantime, stop by Corcoran Vineyards (or their sister site, Hunters Run) for a tasting, and let Jim and Lori Corcoran know that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Pasta and Virginia Wine

We visited several Virginia wineries this weekend and plan to share our experiences with you soon. In the mean time we wanted to share our dinner wine. This evening we had linguine with red sauce. To accompany the meal we selected the 2009 Cabernet Franc from Annefield Vineyards. I thought it might be a bit young but Warren said a young red wine would pair nicely with a tomato based meal. Turns out he was right and our selection was perfect.

On the nose we observed raspberry, cherry, and a hint of menthol. In the mouth we noted similar characteristics as those on the nose with earthier, spicy elements. We noted a rich garnet color. Annefield Vineyards is relatively new on the Virginia wine scene but we feel they’ll be making their mark quickly. We tasted their wines back in December at the DC Holiday Wine Mall and enjoyed them all. We hope to visit them in the near future.

Friday Pours

So we’re back with a vengeance. We sampled a couple of whites this evening and recorded our thoughts about them. Paul opened a bottle of the 2009 Chardonnay from Piedmont Vineyards done in stainless steel tanks. On the nose we noted pear and citrus, and in the mouth we tasted pear and melon flavors with a crisp finish. Perfect with light cheeses and picnic fare! In fact, we enjoyed a glass of this one with a goat cheese and baguette.

For dinner, Paul selected the 2009 Neveah White from Tarara Winery. Paul is a fan of white fish, and he thought that this more complex white wine would pare nicely with his dinner menu that included breaded fish, wild rice and mixed veggies. At the dinner table, we concurred that 2009 Neveah was the best choice. On the nose, we noted fruit aromas of pear and melon with lime to complete the mix; in the mouth, similar fruit flavors prevailed with vanilla on the finish. (Warren intervenes—on the sniff, I got a whiff of mowed grass.) This blended white wine made for a more complex pour, and it paired quite nicely with our meal.

Planning to visit Piedmont Vineyards or Tarara Winery? Mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you!

So What’s For Dinner?

That’s the question Paul asked this past Friday night, and I already planned to prepare panned-fried chicken breasts topped with a wine sauce. A side of angel hair pasta tossed with butter and parmesan cheese finished the dish. The next question? Of course it was, “What Virginia wine should we have with dinner?” My decision was the 2008 Chardonnay Reserve from Keswick Vineyards.

With dinner on the table and candles already lit, my trusty notepad was beside my plate and at the ready to take notes on this Chardonnay. It presented a pale straw color in the glass, and the nose was greeted with aromas of pear, apple and hazelnuts. Simlar fruit characters were evident in the mouth with a honey/caramel texture and toasted edge. We both noted a lengthier finish, too. It proved to be the perfect partner with our meal, and we only regretted finishing the bottle!

So now that 2011 is in full swing, look for more regular postings from us. We resolve to try even more Virginia wines this year, and the 2008 Chardonnay Reserve from Keswick Vineyards got us started on the right track. Plan a visit to Keswick Vineyards soon, and be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

2009 Governor Fauquier from Philip Carter

We’re back! Happy New year! After about a two week hiatus we have returned. We haven’t stopped drinking Virginia wine, we’ve just taken a break from reporting what we’re enjoying. Tonight we’re back to reporting what we’re tasting. We have always enjoyed the wines from Philip Carter Winery. The 2009 Chardonnay and the 2009 Cabernet Franc just won silver at the 2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Congratulations! Those are our two favorites from Philip Carter Winery.

Tonight for our sipper we had the 2009 Governor Fauquier. We had it with some soft and creamy brie cheese on crackers. We noted pear and citrus on the nose. In the mouth we picked up pear, citrus, a spice character, nice acids, and a longer finish. It paired really well with brie cheese and crackers. We could also see pairing it with holiday ham, turkey, or shellfish. We thoroughly enjoyed this wine and would recommend it for those looking for a nice white wine to have with dinner or nibbles before dinner. Plan a trip to Philip Carter soon and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!