Friday Pours

We started our evening with the 2009 Chardonnay from King Family. We paired it with some parrano cheese and a baguette. On the nose we noted pear and a twist a lemon. In the mouth we noted pear, a hint of granny smith apple, creme brulee, and a weightier mouth feel with a lengthier finish. We also noticed the clear straw color. It went well with our nibbles.

For dinner Warren selected the 2007 Petit Verdot from Gadino Cellars. I had a steak and Warren had herb crusted lamb chops. We also had roasted vegetables and pearl pasta. On the nose we got concentrated fruit, anise, and a streak of minerality. In the mouth we noted similar characteristics as well as a black pepper, longer finish with a vanilla ending. As with most 07 red vintages from Virginia decant first. And that’s exactly what we did. We thoroughly enjoyed it and Warren used the word “lovely” more than once.

What Virginia wines are you enjoying this weekend?

Wednesday Wine

Not to be outdone by Paul, I’ve decided to present my own favorite wine of the week, and that would be the Sunset Hills Cabernet Franc Reserve from the outstanding 2007 vintage. I last sampled this one back in March of 2010, and I can say that it has gotten even better over time. It presented a nice dense color in the glass and a smoky nose that included aromas of concentrated dark fruit and spice. Lush and complex, I noted flavors of dark plum, dark cherry and blackberry along with complements of tobacco and pepper. Aging in both French and American oak barrels for 18 months made for a lengthy finish. I nursed a glass for an entire evening and noticed that it softened considerably with some air time. If readers still have a bottle of this one on their wine racks, consider aging for a little longer; however, the enclosure is synthetic, and I’ve grown to distrust the ability of these to keep wines from spoiling or aging properly. Do enjoy with any braised meats, steaks or roasts; be sure to serve with roasted veggies, too.

We have not done a tasting of current releases at Sunset Hills since last fall, so we are certainly due for a visit. If you get there before we do, mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Monday Sip

The temperature changed today back to a more wintery level. With wintery weather in the forecast, I was looking for a red to sip for the evening. I have lots of reds to choose from but most of them I would need to have food. I was just looking for a sipper. I picked the 2009 Cabernet Franc from Blenheim Vineyards. I know I just posted about them last week but I do enjoy their wines and have several of them on my rack. While the 2009 Cabernet Franc would go beautifully with food, it doesn’t have to. That’s one thing I like about it. You can just sip it.

After cracking open the screw cap and pouring a glass, I noticed smoke and some light fruit on the nose. The first sip revealed some green pepper, a very slight hint of cherry, herbs, and a tart finish. After a few swirls and a little air, I noticed a floral quality that I haven’t noticed before. This cab franc spent 6 months in French and Appalachian barrels. I’m not familiar with the characteristics that come from Appalachian barrels. Maybe some of the qualities I’m noticing come from these barrels. In any case, I enjoyed the 2009 Cabernet Franc from Blenheim Vineyards. Blenheim is one of my favorite wineries and really enjoy the direction Kirsty is going with her wines. Visit Blenheim soon and tell Kirsty Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Beauties at Blenheim

On our recent visit to Charlottesville we planned to stop at Blenheim Vineyards to catch up with Kirsty Harman and to taste the newest wines. We last visited Blenheim in August so most of the wines we tasted were new. We were lucky to have Kirsty conduct our tasting.

The whites started with the wonderfully crisp and fruity 2009 Blenheim Farm Chardonnay. This was my kind of chardonnay. While tasting I jotted down honeysuckle, tropical fruit and a nice soft finish. The 2009 Blenheim Farm Chardonnay received my gold star for the whites. We then tasted the 2009 Painted White. This is a blend of viognier, rousanne, and marsanne. We noticed melon, spice, and honey and a creamy finish. Warren suggested this would make a perfect winter white wine. The last white was the non-vintage What Table Wine. This one is 100% chardonnay aged five months in French and American oak. It also has a very low .6% RS. We noted apple, pear, and citrus flavors. Warren noted the nice texture and thought this one would go well with spicy foods. Before moving on to the reds we tasted the 2009 Rose. Don’t let the salmon color fool you. This is a nice crisp, fruity rose. We enjoyed the melon and strawberry flavors. We know this one is perfect for warm days. We usually take it with us to Wolf Trap concerts.

The first of the reds was the non-vintage Red Table Wine. This is a blend of merlot, malbec, syrah, and cab franc. It’s aged in stainless steel. No oak on this one! Right away we noticed how much this one reminded us of a Beaujolais. It was bright and fruity with hints of violet, cherry and plum notes…a perfect pizza or burger wine. Next up was the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. This one is a blend from two vineyards. We noted raspberry and plum flavors. The 2009 Syrah was next. This one is 86% syrah with 10% mourvedre and 4% grenache. We noted cherry on the nose and on the tongue with some black pepper. We haven’t tasted very many syrah’s in Virginia but we think this is one of the best. Last up on the tasting sheet was the 2008 Cabernet Franc. We noted cherry, smoke, cranberry, and a nice finish. With the regular tasting complete, Kirsty suggested we try some others that were not on the regular tasting sheet. Of course we said we’d love to try them. We were able to taste the 2009 Seven Oaks Merlot. This one was part of the Taste Live event late last year. We enjoyed this one but only after having it open for some time. It needs time to breath. Giving it some oxygen brings out the flavors. If you have a bottle of this one, open it and walk away. Come back in three hours and you’ll love it. We also go to taste the 2009 Petit Verdot. This one quickly became my favorite of the day. It received my gold star for the reds. I noted some dark red fruit with a smooth mouth feel and a bit of spice and smoke. LOVE IT!

Kirsty then asked if we wanted to taste a few things still in the barrel. She had to twist our arms but we obliged. We got a sneak peek of the 2010 Rose right out of the tank. OMG! Beautiful color, pink roses on the nose; strawberry and cranberry in the mouth. This is going to be an amazing rose. We can’t wait to get some in the bottle. Kristy then let us taste two different barrels of syrah. She’s not sure what she’ll do with them yet but the second one really stood out as special. We then tasted a barrel with grenache and mourvedre blended together. She’s not sure what she’s going to do with the barrel but wants to see where it’s going.

We always enjoy our time at Blenheim Vineyards. Kirsty is so full of wine knowledge and is always willing to share it with us, as well as all her wines! I left with a case of Blenheim wines. Half of the case was the 2009 Petit Verdot! The next time you’re in Charlottesville, plan a trip to Blenheim Vineyards. You will thoroughly enjoy the wines. And them them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Time to Drink Naked

It’s that time of year when we go to Naked Mountain Vineyard and Winery to enjoy lasagna and wine. Which wine did we enjoy with lasagna? Well, to figure that out we had to complete a tasting of wines at the tasting bar, of course!

The 2006 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay and the sweeter Chardonnay Riesling were the two white wines offered for tasting. My favorite was the Barrel Fermented Chardonnay with its aromas of pear and vanilla; I also enjoyed its creamy mouth feel. Paul preferred the fruity characteristics of the Chardonnay Riesling, and I think he had visions of a warmer spring day and a refreshing fruit salad when he savored this one.

Speaking of food, we certainly had lasagna on our minds when we sampled the red wines. The Rhone-inspired 2006 Scarlet Oak Red earned my stamp of approval. Created from a blend of 45% Syrah, 45% Mouvedre, and 10% Tannat, it presented a smoky nose with cherry and raspberry aromas with a whiff dried herbs to boot; similar flavors with a toasty edge were evident in the mouth. Paul, however, was more inclined toward the newly released 2007 Raptor Red, a blend of Tannat (31%), Merlot (30%), Petit Verdot (20%) and Cabernet Franc (19%). Darker fruit elements abounded here with a smoky/earthy nose. I concurred that this blend offered a bolder, more complex wine; from the 2007 vintage, it will only improve with time.

So with lasagna on the way, we settled on a glass of our favorite red wines; I enjoyed a glass of the 2006 Scarlet Oak Red, and Paul sipped the 2007 Raptor Red. As we sipped and nibbled, we met cellar master Brooke Walter who hinted at exciting possibilities for the upcoming releases. She was particularly enthusiastic about the possible release of a stand-alone Malbec. Brooke also assured us that new owners Randy and Meagan Morgan were commited to maintaining the strong winemaking tradition at Naked Mountain Vineyards. Needless to say, we promised to return in the near future to sample new releases at Naked Mountain Vineyards and Winery.

We should also mention that the sausage lasagna is amazing at Naked Mountain, so plan to enjoy a lasagna lunch with a glass of wine at Naked Moutain Vineyards and Winery. Please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Cabernet and Chocolates

On Sunday we attended the annual Cabernet and Chocolates event at Gray Ghost Vineyards. We always have a great time enjoying chocolates and all the red wines. We got to see some of our favorite wine friends. We also got to taste the new 2010 Riesling! It was delicious! Here are some pictures from the event.