Cookies and Wine

Back in October when we attended the Virginia wine tastings at Whole Foods, we ran into Leah Kuo and Laura Englander from Cookies and Corks. They make cookies that pair with wines. What a great idea! That night they were offering tastings of their cookies with non-Virginia wines. We tried a few of the cookies with the wines and really enjoyed them. The cookies brought out different elements in the wine. During our conversations and tastings with them, we thought we could pair their cookies with Virginia wines. They sent us three boxes of cookies that pair with red, white, and sparkling wines. We decided to give it a try and pair some Virginia wines with the different cookies.

One of the great things about their cookies is they provide a pairing wheel. You simply look up the kind of wine you are having and select the cookies that go with that wine. We decided to do just that. We began our evening with the 2011 Reserve Chardonnay from Jefferson Vineyards. The cookie we selected to pair with the wine (according to the wheel) was the Apricot Sage cookie from the box of cookies to be paired with white wines. We began by tasting the cookie to get a baseline for the flavors. Obviously the apricot and sage flavors were evident. Then we washed the wine over our palates and other flavors began to appear. We noted lots pear notes with a twist of citrus which played off the sage really well. The apricot flavor wasn’t as present as we thought it might be with the wine but the reserve nature of the wine may have minimized the apricot flavor. However, the presence of the sage and citrus notes were a pleasant surprise. We thought the cookies paired very well with Reserve Chardonnay from Jefferson Vineyards. Make note of this if you plan to check out the cookies and need a wine to pair with them.

After our dinner we decided to select another cookie to pair with our dinner wine, the 2009 Merlot from Pollak Vineyards. Referring to the wheel again, we selected the Expresso Chocolate Peanut Butter cookie. This time we went with the wine first to get the wine notes on our palates before introducing the cookie flavors. We noted the wine brought the nuttiness forward and then red berry notes came through. The peanut butter flavor soon disappeared and the tasting experience ended with the coffee and chocolate notes. The chocolaty berry flavors together made for a nice dessert type experience. Once again we decided this was a good pairing. Warren enjoyed the pairing so much he finished off the cookies as he finished off the wine!

Since we’ve only tried two of the many flavors of cookies to pair with wines, there will be posts in the future as we pair more Virginia wines with more of the cookies from the different boxes. If you are looking for a unique pairing of sweets and Virginia wines be sure to pick up a few boxes of these cookies and several bottles of Virginia wine. You can purchase them in many locations in Virginia or from their website. And when you do, tell them you read about them on Virginia Wine Time!

Fundraising with Virginia Wines

A few weeks ago we attend a fundraiser hosted by Kurt and Carol from Wine About Virginia. It was an event to raise money for their church’s FUUSE program. All of the wines at the event were Virginia wines donated by Kurt and Carol and several other members of the Virginia wine community.

It was a fun evening tasting Virginia wines, selecting our favorites and chatting with other guests at the event. The wines were presented in different categories from varietals to blends. Some of the “winners” (those receiving the most votes) included:

2010 Sauvignon Blanc from Veritas
2010 Chardonnay from Rappahannock
2010 Viognier from Keswick
Veritas White Star
2009 Reserve Cabernet Franc and the 2009 Glen Manor Cabernet Franc tied
Bluestone Crooked and Weedy and the 2010 Red from Desert Rose tied
2010 Durant Red from Pollak
2008 Petit Verdot from Linden
Freezeland Red from Fox Meadow

On Kurt’s blog he reported; “We raised more than our fundraising goal for the evening.”

Here are a few photos from the evening.

Thanksgiving Weekend and Virginia Wine

So the turkey has been eaten, and the pumpkin pie has been devoured. However, we know that leftovers are in the fridge. What to do with them? We like to make a picnic lunch with the turkey legs, cranberry sauce, and roasted veggies and head out to a local winery. We recommend Naked Mountain Winery and Vineyards and Philip Carter Winery as possible destinations.

Naked Mountain Winery and Vineyards: It’s hard to compete with the views here especially during the fall. Though the fall colors may be fading, enough of them remain to provide an artistic contrast to stark branches which herald the onset of winter. Such is the current scenery at Naked Mountain Winery and Vineyards. If leftover turkey and trimmings are in the picnic basket, consider the aromatic 2011 Viognier with its flavors of pineapple, peach and citrus. Our tasting associate, Kim, recommended the 2011 Make Me Blush, a rose-style wine with full fruit flavors of strawberry and cherry. At 2% residual sugar, it’s a bit sweet but should complement a slice of herbed-turkey that is coated with a dab of cranberry compote. Paul prefers a red wine with leftovers and scenic autumn landscapes, and he recommends the smoky 2008 Scarlet Oak Red with its tobacco notes and flavors of cranberry and cherry.

Philip Carter Winery: A glass of history is always poured at Philip Carter Winery, and it’s even better paired with turkey leftovers and a favorite wine. I’m always a fan of the Chardonnays at Philip Carter Winery, and the 2011 vintage is quite good. This one is a blend of oak barrels and stainless steel to present notes of ripe pear with a twist of citrus. A nice acidity should help to cut through a creamy sauce that might be served with the turkey. Cranberry chutney in the picnic basket? Consider the 2011 Danielle’s Rose made from Tinta Cao. This rose is dry with elements of strawberry and fresh mint; it’s vibrant acidity makes for a refreshing wine to boot. Bring along a hunk of blue cheese and roasted nuts to pair with the 2010 1762, a port-style wine made from the Chambourcin grape. It is aged in bourbon whiskey barrels and presents characteristic elements of raisin-like fruits with a toasted edge.

Savor that Thanksgiving feast for one more day and plan a visit to a favorite Virginia winery to enhance the experience. Consider a visit to either Naked Mountain Winery and Vineyards or Philip Carter Winery. Please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Pour Virginia Wines for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving season is upon us, and there is no greater need for versatile wines than Thanksgiving dinner. Deciding what to pour can be as challenging as deciding what to serve especially if dinner guests have different food and wine palates. Turkey seems to be the meat of choice, but it’s the sides that vary and hence the wine offerings. Some like mashed potatoes but others prefer oyster dressing; some like sweeter white wines while others crave a red wine with the meal. We can’t help you cook dinner, but we can make a couple of suggestions for wine pairings that might make these weighty decisions seem a little lighter!

We were out in wine country in northern Virginia this past weekend, and we sampled some wines that should provide readers with some choices for the upcoming holiday.

Chester Gap Cellars: Winemaker Bernd Jung has to be one of the few (if not only) Virginia winemakers to grow the Roussanne grape, a white varietal grown in Rhone region of France. The 2010 Roussanne might be an option if the meal will begin with either seafood bisque or feature a creamy sauce with the main meal. Aged for fifteen months in French oak barrels, the 2010 Roussanne exhibits tropical fruit characteristics. It is a bit higher in alcohol, so pair with something that can stand up to it. My own preference is the earthy 2009 Petit Verdot aged for two years in French oak barrels. Aromas of ripe dark plums and flavors of dark fruit and berries should complement dishes that are heavy on herbs and spices; non-traditionalists who opt to serve duck or game meats instead of turkey should consider this one.

Glen Manor Vineyards: Governor’s Cup winner Jeff White is now featuring 2011 wines on his tasting room menu. The four wines that we sampled would all have a place on the Thanksgiving Day table; of course, all of the wines were well-crafted. Serving shellfish before the main course? Can’t go wrong with the classic 2011 Sauvignon Blanc with its elements of grass, citrus and mineral that are characteristic of the varietal. White wine lovers who don’t drink reds? Red wine lovers who don’t drink whites? Offer the 2011 Rose with its aromas of red berries and fresh mint. This one can be served with just about anything on the menu. A nice acidity makes this rose refreshing (and it’s not sweet!) The 2011 harvest was considered quite challenging, but Jeff White has managed to produce excellent red wines from this tricky vintage. There was nothing wimpy about the weighty 2011 Cabernet Franc and its notes of dark cherry, cranberry and menthol. This would be my go-to wine for the main meal on Turkey Day especially if sides included cornbread dressing and fresh cranberry sauce. Going for beef stew instead of poultry? Try the 2011 Vin Rouge, a blend that is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon (50%) and complemented by Petit Verdot (36%), and Merlot (14%). Smoky notes give way to aromas of plum, licorice and spice.

Still confused as to which wines to pour? I always recommend opening more than one bottle of wine for Thanksgiving dinner and then let guests decide which glass to sip with the meal. This option encourages guests to sample a few wines instead of only one. Who knows what will happen—that white wine lover may fall in love with a Virginia red wine!

We will post one more article about wine Thanksgiving wine options featuring two more Virginia wineries. Check in later for that one! In the meantime, be sure to try these wines at Chester Gap Cellars and Glen Manor Vineyards, and mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Cabernet Release Party

On Saturday evening we attended the 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon release party at Gray Ghost Vineyards. This is always an elegant night filled with music, food, and wine. Gray Ghost Vineyards only produces a reserve Cabernet in exceptional years, and the result is always an exceptional wine. The 2009 did not disappoint. It delighted our palate with notes of blackberry, cherry, and dark chocolate. It paired beautifully with our prime rib dinner. The food was delicious, the wine was wonderful, and company was enjoyable. We had a wonderful evening. Here are some pictures from the evening.

Blog Anniversary

Besides today being Veterans Day, it is also the anniversary of our blog. Seven years ago today we started Virginia Wine Time. We have been to 152 Virginia wineries over the years. We have tasted and enjoyed hundreds of different Virginia wines. Even though posting has been sparse lately, we do plan to continue sharing our experiences enjoying Virginia wines. We have 724 posts on the blog and no plans on stopping anytime soon!