Virginia Wine Time

We Enjoy Virginia Wine

Month: April 2012 (page 2 of 2)

Mind The Gap

Yes, mind the wines at Chester Gap Cellars—they are quite good. We made a pre-spring break visit to the winery, and as always, Bernd Jung’s wines continue to impress.

Our tasting started with the two dry white wines, the stainless steel fermented 2009 Viognier and the creamier Viognier Reserve that is aged in oak barrels. Guess who preferred the oaked version? I did, of course. The eight months of aging in oak barrels imparted a weightier mouth feel while presenting peachy fruit characteristics. Paul goes for the crisper white wines that stainless steel fermentation tends to produce. I actually liked this one too with its intoxicating floral notes and, as Paul noted, “really peachy flavors.”

The red wines were likewise very solid. We both enjoyed the 2009 Merlot and appreciated its aromas of cherry, raspberry, dried herbs and sweet tobacco. We also noted similar fruit characteristics in the mouth, and Paul observed a “smooth finish.” Paul is the Merlot fan, and he jotted down, “daily sipper” on the tasting sheet. The 2009 Cabernet Franc proved to be a bit bolder but also well crafted with characteristic dark berry, eucalyptus and spice elements. However, the ultimate red wine had to be the young 2009 Vintners Red. Aged for 24 months in oak barrels and just bottled in February, this blend includes 53% Cabernet Franc, 27% Merlot, and 20% Petit Verdot. Earthy elements prevailed; however, swirling coaxed dark fruit and spicy aromas to appear. Buy now but drink later is my advice; in fact, I purchased a bottle for a future dinner that may feature leg of lamb!

Our tasting finished with the 2010 Petit Manseng. We are starting to hone our knowledge on this upcoming varietal in Virginia as it is appearing more frequently on tasting menus in the state. This one was presented as more of a dessert wine with residual sugar just under 6%. We also learned that Bernd Jung has planted Rousanne vines, and we were treated to a sneak pour of a newly bottled Rousanne. We’re not sure of Jung’s plans for the Rousanne grapes, but we intend to keep up with this development.

So as we tasted away at the tasting bar, Paul and I made note of the ever-present crack in the tasting room’s cement floor, and our tasting associates confirmed that indeed the crack had become a conversation piece as well as a permanent fixture. In fact, a future plan may be some sort of social media site entitled, “Mind the Gap.” We liked the idea as much as we enjoyed the wines. Paul and I shared a glass of the 2009 Merlot while enjoying a warm afternoon on the winery’s deck. Of course, we made sure to purchase some of our favorite wines. Plan a visit to Chester Gap Cellars, and be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Glen Manor Barrel Tasting

Recently we attended the Spring 2012 Barrel Tasting at Glen Manor Vineyards. It’s always interesting to get a peek at what the future wines will be like when they are released. Tasting the wines right from the barrel gives you a good idea of what’s to come. Last year we tasted the 2010s and really enjoyed them. This year the focus was on the 2011s of course and as expected we enjoyed them as well. We ran into Kurt and Carol from Wine About Virginia in the tasting room. They were having a regular tasting. It’s always good to run into fellow wine bloggers.

Four red wines and two white wines were offered at the tasting. Each wine had a special food pairing. We began with the 2011 Cabernet Franc. It was paired with pork belly on tortilla chip with dried cherry and red grape olivada. This first wine ended up being my favorite. It was bright and fruity and had a smooth ending. Anyone who follows my wine tastes knows that I enjoy a fruity beginning and a smooth ending. It paired very well with the pork belly.


The next two stations were to taste the Vin Rouge. We tasted the 2011 Vin Rouge from the barrel. We thought this one is ready to enjoy now. We noted fresh berry fruit with moderate tannins and a smooth ending. The 2010 Vin Rouge was up next. This one was tasted from the bottle because it was released that day. We think this one could age well. We noted dried fruit, light tannins, and considered this one the everyday red drinker. We could enjoy a glass of this with almost anything. This one was paired with rabbit and pork rillettes.

At the next station we tasted the 2011 Petit Verdot. This one won’t be released until sometime in 2013. It was very young and clearly needs more time. It was a bit astringent but with the strong fruit characteristics, you can see where it will be in the future. I’m a big fan of petit verdot and am looking forward to the future release of this one. It was paired with chocolate, ancho, blueberry & pecan pain d’Epices with honey butter & cajun-spiced pecan.


The final two stations offered the Petit Manseng desert wine Raepheus. We were able to taste the 2011 and the already in bottle 2010. The 2011 was very sweet and the alcohol was a bit high for me. We noted tropical fruit and high acids. We thought this will calm down with time in a bottle especially since it won’t be released for a while. A small glass would be nice though. The 2010 from the bottle was floral and more delicate. It also has high alcohol but you don’t notice it at all with the low 5% residual sugar. This one is more complex with delicate flavors. It was paired with thyme-pecan-pecorino shortbread with apricot-mango-ginger-chipotle chutney & gorgonzola.

We had a chance to speak briefly with winemaker Jeff White about his recent Governor’s Cup win as well as the barrel tasting and the current growing season. Bud break has occurred and so far his vineyards have escaped the frost issues. We enjoyed our time at Glen Manor as we always do. We are looking forward to the future releases as well. If you visit Glen Manor Vineyards anytime soon, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

April Wine Events

We get emails all the time asking us to share information about upcoming wine events in Virginia. There are several coming up in the month of April. We decided we would share some of them with our readers. We won’t be able to attend them all but maybe some of you will have a chance to get to some of these events. They all take place on April 21st. Have fun!

April 21 and 22 – 7th Annual Discover Virginia Food and Wine Festival-Ruckersville-The Discover Virginia Food and Wine Festival is Greene County’s spring party and kick off of the Virginia Wine Festival Season. The 7th annual festival will offer it’s unique atmosphere of family friendly festival entertainment, food vendors and wine tastings. The festival will spotlight Virginia Wineries as well as many local restaurants and artisans. Burnly Vineyards, Ducard Vineyards, Mountain Cove Vineyards, and Saude Creek Vineyards are just a few of the exciting vineyards that have signed up. Whether you are there to taste wine, enjoy the bounty of fresh food, or purchase unique local merchandise – the Virginia Food and Wine Festival is a fun family environment – even for the family dog! Check out the website for more information and tickets.

April 21-Taste of Monticello Wine Trail wine festival-nTelos Wireless Pavilion is excited to announce the first annual Taste of Monticello Wine Trail wine festival – presented by Brown Mercedes Benz, Saturday, April 21st from 1pm to 6pm. Taste of Monticello Wine Trail brings together the best vineyards the Commonwealth of Virginia has to offer under the pavilion for an unforgettable afternoon of wine sampling. Sample over 90 wines from vineyards including:

• Afton Mountain Vineyards
• Blenheim Vineyards
• Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery
• DelFosse Vineyards & Winery
• First Colony Winery
• Flying Fox Vineyard
• Glass House Winery
• Horton Vineyards
• Jefferson Vineyards
• Keswick Vineyards
• Kilaurwen Winery
• King Family Vineyards
• Lovingston Winery
• Mountfair Vineyards
• Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
• Prince Michel Vineyards & Winery
• Stinson Vineyards
• Trump Winery
• Veritas Vineyard & Winery
• White Hall Vineyards
• Virginia WIneworks/Michael Shaps Wine

Special VIP packages include parking, early access to the festival VIP area, exclusive catered lunch provided by C&O Restaurant, opportunity to sample select wines not available to general public and a chance to mingle with wine-makers.

In addition to many participating vineyards, Taste of Monticello Wine Trail will feature an array of non-wine vendors offering products ranging from jewelry to produce, fine cheeses, and baked goods. Food vendors include Whole Foods Market, Pantheon Popsicles, and more. Blankets and lawn chairs are encouraged, as there will be designated areas for picnicking.

Please visit our website for more information, event updates and to purchase tickets.

April 21 – Blue Ridge Oyster Festival – The Blue Ridge Oyster Festival is very proud that all the food, wine and beer all comes from Virginia and one of the many ways we celebrate this is to debut two wines from 2 vineyards, from 2 counties. This year, Blenheim Vineyards will debut their House Red at the Oyster Festival and Cardinal Point Vineyards will debut their Chardonnay. Check out the website for more details.

From Cardinal Point – Nelson County

2011 Chardonnay: Featured Release – clean, round, nice vanilla and cream, but not heavy. Our chardonnay escaped any ill affects of the 2011 harvest rains. Aged in 100% American oak, mostly from Pennsylvania.

2011 Rockfish Red: 100% Cab Franc, aged for four months in French oak. The steady rains during the 2011 harvest account for its lighter-than-usual color, but the great ripening weather before the rains account for the great flavors. This wine has great berry fruit aromas and flavors, which have a nice dry and crisp finish. A perfect warm-weather red wine!

From Blenheim Vineyards – Albemarle County

2011 Red Table Wine – Featured release – The latest version of red table wine is fruit forward and packed full of juicy berry flavors.
Butterscotch and caramel notes that come from some barrel aging support the ripe plum and red cherry. 50% aged in French and American oak for 5 months. 352 cases produced. 46% Cabernet Franc, 36% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 White Table Wine – A crisp and refreshing warm weather white perfect for pairing with oysters and picnic fare. 100% stainless steel fermented and aged, 33% Viognier, 66% Chardonnay. 331 cases produced.

2011 Rosé – A delightfully fruity but dry rosé made from Mourvedre, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Extended skin contact helped create a vibrant and flavorful wine that pairs well with a variety of seafood dishes as well as grilled chicken and vegetable dishes. 280 cases produced.

April 21 – A Vintage Affair – A Vintage Affair will take place on April 21, 2012 at 7:30pm at the Italian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Experience exquisite wines paired with inspired cuisine. This exciting epicurean adventure gathers wine lovers, foodies and Washingtonians for an evening to remember. A Vintage Affair also features live and silent auctions with unique and remarkable offerings including rare wines, exotic trips, and one-of-a-kind dining experiences.

Proceeds from A Vintage Affair support Children’s National Medical Center to help doctors, nurses and staff develop and sustain cutting-edge research, innovations, treatments and programs at the hospital. Over the past several years, A Vintage Affair has helped to raise more than $3 million to support children and families being treated at Children’s National.

Check out the website for more information.

Women and Wine: Emily Pelton

We continue with our Women and Wine series with a spotlight on Emily Pelton. Emily and her father, Andrew Hodson, are winemakers at Veritas Vineyards and Winery. Veritas Vineyards and Winery opened in the summer of 2002. Visitors are always impressed with the estate’s lovely grounds and facilities; however, it is the wines that impress judges and critics. In fact, the Veritas 2010 Vintner’s Reserve Meritage Blend won a gold medal at the 2012 Virginia Governor’s Cup. Click on the Women and Wine tab to read her answers.

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