Last Saturday we went to the annual barrel tasting at Gray Ghost Vineyards. Each year we enjoy seeing how the wines are progressing in the barrel and get a sneak peak at what they’ll be like when they are in the bottle. This is a popular event at Gray Ghost and we never miss it.
We started with the 2010 Chardonnay. We noted tropical fruit, apple, and a hint of oak. This one will be bottled in June. Next was the 2010 Merlot. We jotted down cherry, black cherry, light oak, and smokey characteristics. This one will be bottled in July or August. The next red was the 2010 Cabernet Franc. We noted cherry, and a smooth mouth feel. This one should be ready by mid July. Next up was the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. We noted smoke, pepper, and dark fruit. This one won’t be released until sometime in 2012. We then tasted the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. This one is being aged in both American oak and French oak. The American oak sample presented berry flavors, a hint of cranberry and some tannins. Of course it will smooth out with more time in the barrel. The French oak sample was supple, smooth and also presented berry flavors. Our taste showed how time in the French oak will make the final product a wonderful wine.
The blending was next. We started with a blend of the 2010 Cabernet Franc and the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. It was a nice blend that presented smoke, pepper, and dark berry flavors. Our next blend was the star of the day. We blended the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon American barrel sample with the French oak sample. OMG! This was quite a blend. We noted eucalyptus, berry flavors, smooth tannins, and a beautiful color. This one will be released to the public in October but those who purchased futures will get their hands on it in September.
If you are at all interested in how wines develop in the barrel, you need to attend a barrel tasting. You get to see where the wine is going and you get a good idea of what the final product will be when it’s bottled. We always enjoy getting a sneak peek of the wines to come. Plan to attend a barrel tasting soon. And if you visit Gray Ghost, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
Our cider tasting event was a blast, but we were able to fit in a couple of wine tasting too. Along the way was Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery and we were fairly certain that our last visit was well over a year or so ago. We also gambled that Sarah Gorman, sister of winemaker Tim Gorman, would be in the tasting room, so decided to stop by for a tasting and visit.
And indeed Sarah was in the tasting room upon our arrival! Sarah conducted our tasting and filled us in the latest happenings at Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery. Five white wines were offered for tasting, and we both agreed that teh 2009 A6 was the gold-star winner. A blend of Viognier and Chardonnay, it presented pear and honey characteristics with a longer finish. I detected some cedar on the nose too. Nice for spring—I’d serve with shellfish now that crabcake season is around the corner. Sarah offered a comparison tasting between the 2008 Barrel Select Chardonnay and the 2009 Barrel Select Chardonnay, and I found the 2009 vintage to be more vibrant with apple, pear, and honey elements and a rich mouth feel. Paul became more nostalgic when he sipped the 2009 Quattro, a blend of Riesling, Gewuztraminer, Viognier, and Traminette.This is our traditional Christmas tree trimming wine that we serve with baked ham; in fact, Paul began to hum White Christmas as he brought his nose to the glass.
Of the red wines, an intriguing blend was the 2008 Cab F+Vio, and as the label implies it is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Viognier. Certainly a lighter bodied red wine, it offered bright red berry aromas and flavors with some spice notes too. A nice sipper especially for those who do not like red wines, this could also be served with herbed poutry or lamb chops. However, the ultimate favorite for both of us was the yet to be released 2009 Union, a blend similar to the impressive “3” blend. It’s a blend of three varietals from Cardinal Point. Tim Gorman, the winemaker created it on his own. Sarah gave us a top-secret sample of this one, so we’ll keep quiet on the details until the release date. Like suspense? For now, we can say that this is a blend of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Tannat. Otherwise, we’ll keep readers posted on this one as it develops!
As always, it was a pleasure to sip and chat with Sarah Gorman. Sarah confirmed what we’ve heard along the wine trail about 2010—lower yields but spectacular fruit quality. Expect good things from the vintage. With spring in the air, stop by Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery to enjoy a tasting of their current releases, and mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
As Virginia Wine Week continues we decided to post a few “Love by the Glass” posts about what we’re enjoying this week. Last night we enjoyed a glass of the Village Winery Viognier. This viognier is barrel fermented. We noted a floral nose with tropical fruit, spice, and creamy feel in the mouth. While this was just sipper for us, we could see having it with fish or chicken. What wine are you enjoying by the glass this week?
Recently Allan from CellarBlog suggested we follow up our top 20 Virginia wine list with another list. To help celebrate Virginia Wine Week it was suggested we post our favorite wineries for different categories. After several emails a bunch of the wine bloggers came up with the following 10 categories. We selected the wineries that we thought best fit each category. This one might be helpful for those looking for a specific kind of winery. Here are our selections. Would you agree? Have different ideas? Share them in the comments.
1. Most Dog Friendly: Barrel Oak Winery
2. Most Family Friendly: Bluemont Vineyard
3. Best Winery to Take a Date: Potomac Point Winery
4. Best Winery to Hear Music: Notaviva Vineyards
5. Best Winery to Bump into Owner/Winemaker: Fabbioli Cellars
6. Best Winery for Someone New to Virginia Wine: Chrysalis Vineyards
7. Best Views: Delaplane Cellars
8. Best Place to Visit With a Big Group: Breaux Vineyards
9. Best je ne sais quoi/indefinable quality that makes it special: Linden Vineyards
10. Best Winery to Laze Away the Afternoon: Gray Ghost Vineyards
Wine lovers – get ready to toast the second annual Virginia Wine Week: Love by the Glass, March 18 – 27, 2011. Virginia Wine Week is a statewide promotion that features Virginia wine by the glass at participating restaurants and wine shops across the state. Virginia Wine Week combines the best of culinary traditions at restaurants across the state with elegant local wines and special tasting menus. Special events throughout the week along with Love by the Glass travel packages give visitors a lot to love about wine travel in Virginia.
Virginia is becoming a major wine destination, with more than 190 wineries statewide and ranking fifth in the nation for wine production. Virginia was recently named one of the top five up-and-coming wine regions by Travel + Leisure magazine, adding to the state’s allure to wine lovers everywhere.
We received the above information from Virginiawine.org. Go to Virginiawine.org to find out where you can get Virginia wine by the glass!