Aspen Dale

On Memorial Day weekend we attended the 250th Anniversary of Wine at Philip Carter Winery. After the festivities there, we stopped at Naked Mountain Winery and then our final stop was Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn. It had been almost a year since we last visited Aspen Dale. At this time of the year we are looking for wines to enjoy during the summer. We found some familiar wines that we’ll be enjoying this summer.

We decided to do a full tasting and were pleased to see they are still serving small food pairings with the wines you taste. They had some delicious cheeses! Of the white wines we thought the 2011 Sarah’s Chapeau would make a great summer sipper. We noted citrus grassy notes. Chill it nicely and enjoy on the deck. The Mary Madeline Rose would also make a nice summer sipper.

Of the reds we enjoyed the Rockawalkin’. We noted earthy, spicy, oaky notes and thought it would pair well with a nice steak. Most people aren’t thinking of reds for summer time but this one would go well with a nice steak on the grill.

After our tasting we had a chance to talk with Shay McNeal, owner and winemaker, about what she’s has going on in her barrel room. We were able to taste a few of her upcoming wines and had a special tasting of the 2009 Islington which is a barrel aged Seyval. We had a nice time catching up with Shay and enjoying the live music and lively atmosphere at the barn. If you haven’t been to Aspen Dale lately, plan a trip soon and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Time For Summer Sippers

Yes, it’s that time of the year to put away the bolder wines until the fall and to crack open the crisper, lighter-bodied white wines and fruitier red wines. Our mission to stock up on warm-weather wines brought us to Naked Mountain Winery.

The 2011 offerings at Naked Mountain seemed to meet our expectations for white wines from the 2011 vintage—fruity and refreshingly acidic. The 2011 Viognier presented one such example. Nice melon citrus aromas were matched with flavors of pear and melon. A higher acidity level led to a crisp finish. Perfect on its own or serve well chilled with light cheeses or shellfish. For sweeter wine lovers, the 2011 Chardonnay Riesling should fit the bill. A residual sugar level of 2.5% made for a fruity wine with peach and apple flavors. Our friend and guest blogger Michael Tyler, a fan of fruity white wines, would really love this one while grilling on the deck on a hot afternoon! He might even save a glass for me!

White wine lovers who find themselves in a dither at barbeques might appreciate the 2010 Catamount Run Red. Spicy barbeque sauces and char-grilled fare that once mooed may not seem like a match with sweet white wines; however, this fruity red wine should woo white wine drinkers. Slightly sweet with a bright, fruit forward presence should partner quite nicely with burgers, ribs, and sausages. If heavier meats are on the grill, Paul’s favorite, the Raptor Red, might be a better match. This non-vintage pour is a blend of wines from the 2007 and 2008 vintages. Its smoky nose gave way to aromas of dark seed berries and tobacco.

If a cheese course or cheesecake is on the dessert menu, opt for the 2011 Old Vine Riesling. At 6% residual sugar, it is certainly a dessert wine and presented floral aromas with apricot notes and hints of green apple.

It was indeed a hot day, and we refreshed ourselves with a glass of the 2011 Viognier. It proved to be the perfect pour to complement a warm, muggy afternoon. Be sure to consider Naked Mountain Winery when shopping for your own summer sippers, and please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.