So we are back from our summer travels and now on the Virginia wine trails again. We decided to resume our quest for summer sippers with a visit to Gray Ghost Vineyards this past weekend.
Ten wines were offered for tasting with five of them from the 2011 vintage. My favorite of these was the crisp 2011 Seyval Blanc with its lemon notes and dry finish. Minimal aging in Hungarian oak provided a bit of roundness to boot. Perfect for summer menus that feature shellfish or any other pairing that might call for a Sauvignon Blanc! Paul favored the 2011 Vidal Blanc with its tropical fruit elements. Another great summer wine, this one should pair well with spicy foods; however, it’s also just fine on its own especially on a hot summer’s day.
It’s never too late to think about Thanksgiving dinner especially if you fear that your favorite Virginia wines might sell out before Mr. Turkey hits the dinner table. The 2011 Gewurztraminer with its tropical fruit flavors and spicy edge would do well with a summer salad topped with fresh ham or grilled shrimp; however, I’d consider this one with herbed turkey and stuffing. Likewise, the very berry 2011 Cabernet Franc with its spicy nuances could be served now with grilled fare but would be a classic pairing with any Thanksgiving meal.
Of course, Gray Ghost Vineyards is known for its dessert wine called Adieu that is made from late harvest Vidal Blanc grapes, and the 2011 vintage delivers rich peach flavors with a honeyed texture. The Adieu is always a crowd pleaser at dinner parties, and I’ve even served it with heavier cheeses.
We always look forward to chatting with Amy Payette, Gray Ghost’s marketing director and daughter of winemakers Al and Cheryl Kellert. Amy was very pleased to inform us that Gray Ghost wines took gold medals in the 2012 NextGen International Competition that was held in California. The wines in this competition were judged by millenials, the up and coming wine consumers who lately have been the focus of attention by the wine industry. Gold-medal winners include the 2010 Reserve Chardonnay and the 2011 Gewurztraminer (which also won best in class.) Amy also shared with us this year’s harvest appears to be on track to be earlier than usual with the Seyval Blanc potentially coming in within the next couple of weeks. This seems to coincide with other reports that we have heard from other winemakers in Virginia, so it may indeed shape up to be an early harvest season statewide.
With our tasting done, we shared a bottle of the 2011 Seyval Blanc with grilled chicken filets, a block of Swiss cheese and melon slices beneath an apple tree. As we sipped and nibbled we spotted gold finches, cardinals, and a quickly fluttering hummingbird. Butterflies of all colors were likewise on full display. We made certain to purchase some of our Gray Ghost favorites before we left (a case in fact). Be sure to pay a visit to Gray Ghost Vineyards to stock up on your own summer sippers, and be certain to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
A classic pairing for the summer. Tomato, basil, and mozzarella drizzled with a bit of olive oil paired with the 2011 Glen Manor Sauvignon Blanc.
Lately I’ve been enjoying reds on my wine rack. I’ve been looking for wines that are sippers and won’t really need food. I’m trying to take advantage of the idea that red wine has many health benefits by enjoying two glasses each evening. Reds that can be enjoyed without food help with this idea.
I found my last bottle of the 2008 Red from Annefield Vineyards and decided it would be my evening sipper. We have mentioned this wine before but usually with food items in mind. I remembered it’s smooth ending and decided it would be fine for an evening sipper. The 2008 Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. It presents dark berry notes with hints of tobacco with round tannins. It was a perfect sipper! Again it reminded me of why I love the 2008 reds from Virginia. It’s a perfect example of a typical growing season in Virginia. I need to get myself a few more bottles. Luckily Annefield reminded me on Twitter that you can get their wines on their website or from the Twisted Vine Bottleshop and Bistro in Arlington. I will need to plan a trip there soon to stock up on the 2008 Red before it’s gone! If you visit Annefield Vineyards, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
As I have mentioned before, I have lots of Virginia red wines on my wine rack. Lately I’ve been randomly selecting red wines to taste and enjoy. One evening last week I was finishing up some brownies that Warren made and thought a red wine would really compliment the brownies. I perused my wine rack and decided on the 2007 Lot 751 Virginia Red Table Wine from Breaux Vineyards Cellar Selection. This wine is only available to Cellar Club members.
Lot 751 is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, petit verdot, and cabernet franc grapes from the 2007 vintage. The dark color and dark cherry nose made me think that maybe this wine was meant for bigger foods. But once I swirled it in my glass and gave it a taste, I knew it would be perfect for the brownies. I noted cherry, extracted fruit, firm tannins, and a relatively smooth ending. With a bite of the brownie, the cherry notes really came through. Since this wine is from 2007 and has some firm tannins, it could benefit from more time on the rack. Or enjoy it now!
I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again. There are benefits to being a Cellar Club member at Breaux Vineyards. I enjoy having access to wines the general public won’t get to purchase. I need to get to Breaux soon to pick up my most recent Cellar Club Selections. And if you visit Breaux Vineyards anytime soon, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
I have over 100 bottles of wine on my wine racks. Probably 80% of it is red wine. And probably 98% of it is Virginia wine. There are always lots of choices when it comes to picking out a red dinner wine. Recently we decided to have sirloin steaks and wild rice for dinner. But what red wine would we select? We settled on the 2008 Lomax Reserve Red from Granite Heights Vineyard.
The 2008 Lomax Reserve Red is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc. It’s aged in American oak for eleven months. It’s named after a neighbor of Granite Heights Vineyard. Once we poured a glass and paired it with our meal, we realized it was the perfect selection. We noted the bright fruit, the smooth ending and that it was very approachable. It reminded me of the smooth 2008 reds that I have come to enjoy. I probably could have kept this on the rack a little longer but I do so enjoy my smooth 2008 reds that I couldn’t let this one sit any longer. If you haven’t made it out to Granite Heights yet, plan a trip soon. And tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!