Press play to see the premiere of the 2011 Viognier from Jefferson Vineyards.
Last weekend we were at Linden for the annual barrel tasting and I snapped this picture of the vineyards. The growth is well on it’s way. Some say as much as three weeks earlier than last year.
A few weeks ago, on a Friday evening, we enjoyed a few wines as we usually do. We’ve been busy posting about events and winery visits that we had to put this off a few weeks.
We started the evening with the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc from Glen Manor Vineyards. We are huge fans of Jeff White’s wines and this sauvignon blanc didn’t disappoint. We had it with manchego cheese and sour dough bread. While enjoying the wine we definitely noticed grassy and boxwood on the nose. On the tongue we noticed tropical fruit, minerality, and a nice crisp ending. It paired wonderfully with the cheese and bread.
For dinner we were having lasagna and selected the 2009 Private Reserve Red from Chrysalis Vineyards from the VIP Wine Club. We noted dried fruit, tobacco, anise, and a whiff of sandalwood. In the mouth we noted dried plum, dried herbs, tobacco, and a vanilla finish. We think this wine is still integrating and could benefit from more time on the rack. The acidity of the wine did a nice job of cutting the red sauce of the lasagna. Yes, it is a little young but paired well with our meal.
We’ll continue to enjoy our Friday wines and post about our impressions. If you haven’t been to Glen Manor Vineyards or Chrysalis Vineyards lately, plan a trip to visit them soon and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
The Linden Barrel Tasting is an event that we always mark on our calendars. This year’s tasting featured some white wines from the 2011 vintage, a 2011 Claret, and special releases from the 2008 and 2009 vintages. Paired with the wines were delicious treats from the Ashby Inn and Restaurant.
Our tasting started on the right note with a sample of the 2011 Avenius Sauvignon Blanc paired with mussels. We’re big fans of the Avenius Sauvignon Blanc, and we were huge fans of this 2011 vintage. Lots of citrus and soft melon notes with a nice acidity made for a refreshing wine that is destined to please summer palates. From there we proceeded to the barrel room where we tasted samples from the 2011 Avenius Chardonnay, the 2011 Hardscrabble Chardonnay, and the 2011 Boisseau Chardonnay. Each offered a unique style—the Avenius presented a Chablis-style wine while the Hardscrabble seemed reminiscent of an Old-World, Burgundian white wine. The Boisseau offering most resembled a New World Chardonnay with a heavier mouth feel and pineapple flavors. All were lovely. Favorites? That might depend on what’s for dinner. Oysters? Avenius. White fish or chicken? Hardscrabble. Anything with a cream sauce? Boisseau.
The 2011 Claret was enjoyed with a sample of specialty sausages from Croftburn Market in Culpeper. Was 2011 the year of dismay for Virginia red wines? This Claret would answer, “No.” Fruity and light bodied, its mix included Merlot (44%), Cabernet Sauvignon (36%), and Cabernet Franc (20%). I thought that it paired best with the spiciest meat sample, the pepperoni. Like other 2011 red wine samples that we have tasted, I suspect that this 2011 Claret will be enjoyed upon release rather than later.
We moved on to the special release room where we were able to compare and contrast the 2008 and 2009 red blends from the Boisseau, Hardscrabble, and Avenius vineyards. I noted a distinct difference between the vintages that suggested something other than different years or blend composites, and it was in this room that I recorded the quote of the day from Jim Law. When asked about the more fruit-forward style of the 2009 vintages by another taster in the room, Law responded, “I lost the fear of my grapes.” Law explained that he learned from winemakers in Bordeaux that extraction is the ultimate key to crafting good red wine rather than intense ripening in the vineyard. With this lesson learned, Law described the 2009 season as a shift in his own winemaking style. The difference was most evident in the 2009 Hardscrabble Red. The 2008 vintage represented a style that was characteristic of the Hardscrabble wines— very structured with earthier nuances and berry flavors. The 2009 vintage, though, presented layers of fruit at the start with deep plum and dark cherry characteristics. A similar style was evident in the rounder 2009 Boisseau Red in which Merlot dominated (44%), and the Petit Verdot-led 2009 Avenius Red.
The tasting seemed to end too early; however, we took advantage of a nice spring afternoon to sit on the deck with a glass of a favorite Linden wine. Barn swallows fluttered about, and the scent of wisteria wafted from below. It could not have been a more perfect afternoon. Be sure to visit Linden for a tasting of Jim Law’s exquisite wines, and mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
And what better way to celebrate the Founding Father of Virginia wine’s birthday than tasting the exquisite Meritage blends at Jefferson Vineyards. Winemaker Andy Reagan hosted this event; of course, we had a great time.
The oldest wine poured at this event was the 2002 Meritage; the youngest, the still evolving 2010 Meritage. We attended last year’s Meritage tasting, and as I recall my favorite was the 2007 Meritage that was a blend of Cabernet Franc (39%), Merlot (26%), Cabernet Sauvignon (18%) and Petit Verdot (17%). This year’s favorite? The complex 2007 Meritage! Brambleberry characteristics with earthy nuances and a smooth finish made for a wine that can still get better with age. Paul’s own fave was the 2004 Meritage. No surprise here—Merlot comprises 70% of the blend, and Paul is a Merlot addict. Cabernet Franc (20%), Cabernet Sauvignon (7%) and Malbec (3%) completed the mix. Paul noted cherry flavors and a whiff of dried herbs.
Andy also offered samples of his Meritage Reserve wines. These are his special blends. One reserve was a blend of the 07, 08, 09 vintages; the other, a mix of the 08, 09 and 10 vintages. Each vintage was aged separately in new French oak puncheons for 48 months, 36 months and 24 months respectively. Of these, my preference was the first blend—dark fruit elements with aromas of sweet tobacco suggested a complex, heavy pour. Meat and cigars are mandatory partners with this one!
The tasting stations offered foods to pair with each Meritage. Grilled beef, duck, and an assortment of cheeses added to the tasting experience. Of course, Paul gravitated to the sliced duck breast, but he does enjoy duck with complex wines. Now if only he would eat asparagus!
Other distinguished guests included the dynamic duo who write Swirl, Sip, Snark. We enjoyed comparing notes and chatting about wine. Andy was a generous host who answered all of our questions and engaged us in all sorts of banter. Of course, we wondered when Paul would stop eating all of the duck!
Be sure to pay Andy Reagan a visit at Jefferson Vineyards, and mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.