Virginia Wine Time

We Enjoy Virginia Wine

Month: May 2011 (page 2 of 4)

Twitter Tasting LIVE!

This evening we’ll be participating in a live Twitter tasting of Virginia wines. We’ll be joined by bloggers all over the country and several here in Virginia. We’ll be tasting the wines and Tweeting our impressions of the wines live on Twitter beginning at 8:00 PM Eastern time. You can follow along and find out what we all think of the wines. Are you on Twitter? If so, follow us and you will find out what we think of the wines. You can follow us by clicking on the word Twitter in the column to the right. Also, if your Twitter program can follow hashtags, set up a search for #vawine and you’ll be able to see what all the participants think of the wines.

The wines in the tasting are:

We hope you’ll follow along on Twitter and enjoy these wines as well!

Dinner Wine

Last night for dinner we had parmesan encrusted tilapia and wild rice while enjoying the setting sun on the balcony. We survived the rapture and were ready to enjoy some Virginia wine.

We selected the 2009 Northpoint White from Chateau O’Brien Winery and Vineyard. This crisp white is a blend of 70% pinot grigio and 30% chardonnay. We noted peach and melon on the nose and similar fruit flavors on the tongue with a hint of minerality. We thought it paired very well with our meal. If you haven’t been to Chateau O’Brien lately, plan a trip soon and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

New Wines at Corcoran Vineyards

A few Sundays ago we headed to Corcoran Vineyards to get a taste of the recently released wines they have on their tasting menu. Lori and Jim Corcoran have been working hard on some new wines. It’s always great to see Lori and Jim. We enjoy chatting with them about the Virginia wine industry. When we got there the tasting room was full of tasters and the lawn outside the tasting room was full of people enjoying a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Lori was conducting the tastings that day and walked us through the new wines. Of course we began with the whites. First up was the 2009 Benevino Riesling (named for the vineyard where it is grown). This one is dry with hints of lemon-lime with some nice acidity. The next white was the 2010 Apple wine. It has 1% residual sugar and tastes like you just bit into a juicy apple. The 2009 Traminette was next. This wine had some mandarin orange zest added and it really comes through on the nose and on the tongue. I also noted a hint of spice as well. We finished the white wines with the 2008 Cello. This one is Corcoran’s version of an Italian Cello. It’s made from Petit Manseng with lemon-zest. It’s very lemony. It will be featured at Landsdowne as an aperitif. We could see having this one with some goat cheese on a slice of baguette. All of these whites made me think of warm summer days on the deck, patio, or balcony. I could see enjoying a glass of any of them on my balcony. All of the fruit wines are produced in limited quantities so make sure you get yours soon!

We then moved on to the reds. We began with the 2009 Hunters Run Rose. You know we enjoy this one since we’ve written about it before. You can’t go wrong with this Rose. You’ll enjoy it. Next up was the 2009 Chambourcin. We have enjoyed Lori’s Chambourcin in the past and this one didn’t disappoint. I’m not a huge Chambourcin fan in general but enjoyed this one. We noted cherry, cranberry, nice acidity and a smooth finish. Lori informed us that the 2010 Chambourcin has been bottled but will not be released for some time. The 2009 is ready to enjoy now and we agree. Next up was the 2009 Cabernet Franc. This is a classic cab franc. We noted dark cherry, raspberry, with some hints of spice and pepper. Yum! Next up was the 2010 RAZ. This is a blend of merlot and raspberry. When you bring this one to your nose you get the raspberry right away. It follows through on the tongue as well. This one should be served cold and maybe with some dark chocolates. The final red was the 2010 USB. This is Corcoran’s port-style wine created from 100% Chambourcin and aged in Whiskey barrels. I was expecting high alcohol on this one but it’s only 13%. Of course you get the hint of whiskey but mostly I noted bramble berries. The name is interesting as well. Jim Corcoran said USB doesn’t stand for Universal System Bus but that it means Universal Sweet Beverage. I got quite a chuckle from this because I know what a USB port is…from the computer world. Love it!

After our tasting we were able to chat more with Lori and Jim and (as noted before) we met and chatted with Tom Johnson from Nova Ridge Vineyards. Lori was telling us about how her new labels. They are greener because they only appear on the front of the bottle. I think you’ll enjoy the new look. We left with several bottles of wine with promises to let Lori and Jim know when we enjoy them. If you haven’t been to Corcoran lately, this is the time to plan a trip. With such a diverse tasting menu, there’s something for everyone. And by the way, did you know Corcoran also has a brewery? We’ll plan to visit the brewery soon. When you visit Corcoran Vineyards be sure to tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

From Lombardy to Linden

So we’re back to reporting on our more local wine adventures, and this time our focus will be the barrel tasting held at Linden Vineyards exclusively for case club members. At the event, club members were able to taste barrel samples from the developing 2010 vintage as well as comparison tastings of 2007 and 2008 reds. We also nibbled on excellent gourmet snacks prepared by L’Auberge Provencale located in Boyce, Virginia. Between sips, we enjoyed a brief chat with winemaker Jim Law.

We were greeted to the tasting event on the crush pad with a sample of the 2010 Avenius Sauvignon Blanc paired with a king fish prepared seviche-style and topped with caviar. The Avenius Sauvignon Blanc is always a treat, and the 2010 vintage offered brighter fruit but lower acidity than previous vintages. Perfect for summer and lovely with the fish. From there we proceeded to the barrel room for samples of the 2010 Boisseau Red, 2010 Hardscrabble Red, and 2010 Avenius Red. All three were blends that featured Cabernet Sauvignon as the main component. Of the three, the Boisseau Red will be the most approachable upon release. The Boisseau vineyard holds loamy soils to produce fruitier wines, and the 2010 offering was blended with 35% Merlot to present a more fruit forward, rounded wine. The sloped Hardscrabble site features granite soils and older vines; there is no doubt that the 2010 Hardscrabble Red will be one to age. Boasting 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and only 15% Merlot, it was tight and complex. Plan to buy upon release, but enjoy at a later date. In between the two was the 2010 Avenius which was a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot and 8% Petit Verdot. Dark fruit and spice were evident; not quite as accessible as the Boisseau but also not quite as inaccessible as the Hardscrabble. So I plan to buy a bottle of all three—one to enjoy ASAP, one to enjoy to end the decade, and another to sip at some point in between!

From the barrel room we made our way to the special release room, and here we were able to compare 2007 and 2008 vintages from the three vineyards. My general conclusion after sampling them all was that the 2008 vintages are ready to enjoy now while the 2007 vintages still need some time. I did find the 2007 Hardscrabble Red much more approachable this time around and was my overall favorite of the day. I enjoyed my sip of this one with a grilled lamb chop, and it was lovely pairing. Paul gave his nod to the 2008 Avenius Red, a blend of Petit Verdot (72%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (28%). He enjoyed its flavors of plum, dark cherry and black pepper and thought it paired perfectly with the barbequed pork belly.

As we moved from station to station, we were able to chat with Jim Law who, along with his father, guided tasters through a sample of the 2010 Hardscrabble. I asked Jim how he felt about the 2010 vintages, and while he felt confident that these were going to be excellent wines, Jim confided that he prefers to work with vintages produced from “classic” years. As readers know, the 2010 growing season was exceptionally dry and hot with similarities to California as opposed to Virginia. Therefore, the 2010 wines may be jammier and higher in alcohol levels. For that reason, Law prefers the 2008 wines that were the product of a more typical growing season in Virginia. I also asked Jim if he planned to join the Viognier bandwagon; though I already knew that the answer would be “no”, I did want to hear his opinion on the matter. Of course, the answer did not disappoint; however, Jim did add that while Viognier was not really his passion, he did appreciate its place in the ever-improving (and expanding) Virginia wine industry. In the meantime, look for Jim Law to continue the focus on his excellent Chardonnays; in fact, I took home a bottle of his 2009 Chardonnay!

With our tasting done, we did enjoy a glass of the 2010 Avenius Sauvignon Blanc with a baguette while appreciating a lovely spring afternoon on the deck. We watched barn swallows flutter about busily making nests and took in aromas of wisteria. No better way to spend an afternoon. Plan to visit Linden Vineyards or perhaps a visit to L’Auberge Provencale for dinner—it’s a B&B too, so maybe plan a weekend getaway for wine and dinner. Be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Check Out These Links!

It’s been an interesting week in the Virginia wine world. Dave McIntyre has a very interesting post about a few things. One of the things he writes about is viognier becoming Virginia’s signature grape. Check out the article here.

On top of Dave McIntyre’s piece, Frank Morgan from Drink What You Like has written about this topic as well. There is a huge string of interesting comments with the post. Check out his post here.

The folks over at Virginia Wine In My Pocket are helping make today (Friday the 13th) a little less scary by offering their iPhone/iPad app for only 99¢. That’s a deal! If you don’t already have the app, you might want to get it today. It is only on sale today! You can learn about the app here.

And finally, you might be looking for something to do next weekend. The annual Wine Festival at the Plains is taking place next weekend. We usually attend this event but are unable to this year. Think about going and if you do, let us know how it was. You can check out the event here.

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