We hope everyone is enjoying the holidays with lots of Virginia wine! We’ll be taking this week off to be with family and enjoy the holidays as well. Enjoy the holidays and Happy New Year, too!
This past weekend we headed to Breaux Vineyards to pick up my latest Cellar Club selections. While there we decided to do a tasting to see what had been added to the tasting menu. We were treated to a few vertical tastings of new wines and some classics. While we enjoyed all of the Breaux wines, I’ll only inform you of the wines that were included in our vertical tastings.
We began with merlots. Breaux is now tasting the 2005 and the 2006 at the tasting bar. Our favorite tasting associate Silvia, walked us through our tastings. The 2005 Merlot is a wonderful wine. We noted cherry, chocolate, dark fruit, and finish that was smooth. We thought this one could be enjoyed on its own or with food. The 2006 Merlot presented early, herby characteristics with acidic notes. We noted spice, plum, and cherry. We think this one needs another year or two to be a superb wine. We suggest you purchase it now and let it sit on your rack to enjoy in the years to come.
Our second vertical consisted of the cab sauvs from 2005, 2006, and 2008. Warren and I were split on our gold stars for the cab sauvs. I preferred the 2008 with its fresh, fruity, sweet nose with bright berries and light tannins on the tongue. The 2008 was a perfect example of the fruity characteristics I expect from a 2008 red. Warren selected the 2005 for his gold star. He described it as a classic cab sauv. He noted dark cherry, pepper, coffee and chocolate and noted the subtle oak would accompany food rather well. We both thought the 2006 presented a green characteristic (not green pepper though) with wet wood notes. We both think this one will get better with time.
Our final vertical included the 2006 Nebbiolo and the 2008 Barrel Select Nebbiolo. Our gold star went to the 2008 Barrel Select Nebbiolo. We noted a fruity nose with blackberry and dark currants in the mouth. We noted the chewy quality of this wine. The 2006 Nebbiolo presented herb, spice, tobacco, tar, and coffee. This one also had a chewy quality to it.
We really enjoyed our chance to taste so many vintages. We were excited about the Cabernet Sauvignons. So much so we are planning to attend the Cabernet Sauvignon Vertical tasting on January 14th. If you are planning to attend the event, let us know so we can all sit together. And if you visit Breaux Vineyards anytime soon, be sure to tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
Yes, it is the holiday season, and readers may have noticed that we have not been on the wines trails. Holiday fun and mayhem have left little time for weekend treks to the wineries; however, rest assured that we have been enjoying Virginia wines whenever possible.
We always enjoy holiday movies at this time of year, and a recent holiday film night featured two favorites, The Bishops Wife and Christmas in Connecticut. What wines to enjoy with these seasonal classics? With a nice chunk of manchego cheese on the chopping block, we poured the 2008 Claret from Linden. It offered notes of dark fruit and dried herbs with similar flavors. Medium bodied, it finished with a splash of vanilla. Easy to drink, it was perfect with the gaminess of the manchego cheese. By the time we sipped through this one, Dudley the Angel turned the sour Agnes Hamilton into an angel herself, and Santa brought Elizabeth Lane a handsome soldier who used the old Magoo to charm the ladies.
Virginia wines are always on the menu when we have friends over for dinner, and this past weekend we poured the 2009 Rose from Linden. (Yes, Linden again, but who can blame us?) Crisp with grapefruit notes and flavors of strawberry and citrus, it proved to be a versatile pour that paired well with a salad of marinated roasted beets, orange slices and chives.
And imagine our pleasant surprise when our friends, Dorothy and Laura, brought us a bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner. Their wine of choice? The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from Barboursville Vineyards. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he regularly delivers Virginia wines to good boys and girls. (Well, good friends sometimes are the Santas, and they have the good taste to give Virginia wines as gifts!)
We hope that readers are enjoying this holiday season, and we know that favorite Virginia wines are being poured. It is not too late to visit these Virginia wineries before Christmas, but time is running out. If you do plan to make a visit, mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
I recently posted about Virginia wines earning solid scores from Wine Spectator magazine, and I can report that Wine Enthusiast has likewise given impressive scores to several Virginia red wines. Annefield Vineyards, Bogati Bodega Winery, Keswick Vineyards, Lovingston Winery, Potomac Point Vineyard and Winery, and Veramar Vineyard produced the wines that are featured in this month’s issue.
Potomac Point 2009 Richland Reserve Heritage Bordeaux-style Red Blend (Virginia)-Pungent dark char amidst firm black plum on this Virginia Bordeaux blend brings to mind flavors of smoked meats and strong black coffee. Full bodied and masculine in profile, it’s quite tannic, yet concentrated enough to handle it well. — A.I. (12/1/2011) — 86
Veramar 2009 Estate Club Merlot (Virginia)-Warm and spicy on the nose and palate, this Virginia Merlot boasts a sour cherry aroma combined with hints of gingersnap cookie and ripe bramble. Ample and rich with slightly stewed black fruit notes, the palate is bathed in waves of anise and cinnamon that linger on the finish. — A.I. (12/1/2011) — 86
Veramar 2009 Estate Club Ameritage Red Blend (Virginia)-While soft and ripe on the nose and palate with loads of soft red fruit and hints of mocha and milk chocolate, this Virginia Ameritage doesn’t have a lot of structure, but its smooth, warm style is still eager to please. — A.I. (12/1/2011) — 86
Veramar 2008 Estate Club Cabernet Sauvignon (Virginia)-Ripe and rich on the nose with a harmonious black fruit and sweet vanilla bean aroma, this Virginia Cab is clean and pure with a remarkably pristine fruit profile. Bright and fresh with balanced acidity and a nicely concentrated midpalate. — A.I. (12/1/2011) — 86
Annefield Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (Virginia)-Aromas of espresso and burnt biscotti entice on this dark yet elegant Cab. On the palate, fresh violets linger amidst layers of ripe black fruit, smoke and char towards a stout, moderately tannic finish. Quite pleasant now, but could improve with 3–5 years of bottle aging. — A.I. (12/1/2011) — 87
Bogati 2009 Collection I Bordeaux-style Red Blend (Virginia)-Sweet red cherry fruit melds with whiffs of graham cracker crumb and leather on this ripe, full bodied red from Bogati. There’s a thin vein of green that trails throughout, but the palate is nicely structured with a dose of warm pepper notes and mouthcoating tannins on the finish. — A.I. (12/1/2011) — 86
Lovingston 2008 Josie’s Knoll Estate Reserve Bordeaux-style Red Blend (Monticello)-Lush, ripe blueberries and plums meld into hints of dark chocolate and lavender on Lovingston Estate’s lovely Josie’s Knoll Estate Reserve. It seems a bit soft on entry, yet bright acidity and smooth, furry tannins give the black fruit palate substance and style. — A.I. (12/1/2011) — 89
Keswick Vineyards 2009 Merlot (Monticello)-Hints of anise, black pepper and toasted coconut make this dark, smoky Merlot a bit exotic and unexpected. Full-bodied with a concentrated yet vibrant black fruit palate, it ends with flair on a rather tropical coconut finish. — A.I. (12/1/2011) — 87
Lovingston 2008 Josie’s Knoll Merlot (Monticello)-Intensely aromatic with notes of sweet pomegranate and fresh violets, Lovingston’s standard label Josie’s Knoll is soft and a tad sweet on entry with a ripe black cherry juice note. Hints of fresh herbs on the midpalate combine with grippy tannins on the finish, adding a dose of style and structure. — A.I. (12/1/2011) — 86
Do non-believers in Virginia wines ever challenge you to prove that the state makes great wines? Don’t suffer through the experience. Tell them to read some of the industry magazines, or even better, refer them to Virginia Wine Time. They just need to be educated on the matter.
Visit the outstanding wineries that are mentioned in this post, and be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you!
On Sunday we went to the Gray Ghost Holiday Open house. They hold this event annually and we try not to miss it. Each year they have a different holiday glass design. This year its a penguin. They also have a yearly cork contest. Al makes some holiday item out of corks and you need to guess how many corks it took to make the item. This year Al made a holiday mail box for letters to Santa. Warren and I guess every year but never win. We aren’t the best at guessing. At this time of the year the tank room is decorated for the holidays showing all the previous creations for the cork contest.
During the event we enjoyed some wonderful foods and all the delicious wines offered at Gray Ghost. I favored the Merlot this year and Warren decided his favorite of the day was the new Reserve Chardonnay. He has always been a big fan of the Reserve Chardonnay.
Here are some pictures from the Holiday Open House at Gray Ghost:
The holidays are such a busy time of year. On Friday evening we were able to sit down, relax and have dinner at home. We decided to have dinner at my house and decorate my Christmas tree.
We began the evening with the 2010 Pinot Gris from Pollak Vineyards. We had this with some sliced swiss cheese and water crackers. Right away on the nose we noted lemon-lime. On the palate we noted citrus as well. One thing we noticed was lacking was acidity. This pinot gris wasn’t nearly as crisp as we remember others being in the past. This made us wonder of this was a symptom of the 2010 growing season for whites. Have you noticed any 2010 Virginia whites lacking acidity?
For dinner we had ham steaks and scalloped potatoes. We selected the 2009 Cabernet Franc from Philip Carter Winery. We have enjoyed this one in the past and knew it would pair well with our meal. We noted violets, dried herbs, raspberry and cherry. We noted very similar characteristics in the mouth. The woodsy, herby, berry fruit really stood out. And yes, it paired well with our meal.
If you visit Pollak Vineyards or Philip Carter Winery anytime soon, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!