Happy Holidays to all our readers! We are taking a few weeks off to enjoy the holidays but will return in early 2013 with many new posts. Until then, enjoy the holidays!
Time for more holiday menus, and this time it’s Christmas parties and dinners. Of course, that means celebrating with the perfect Virginia wines. Our recent visit to Rappahannock Cellars presented a few options.
2011 Viogner from Ducard Vineyard: Newly released on the day of our visit to Rappahannock Cellars, this aromatic wine with its honeysuckle notes and soft peach flavors would be a natural pairing with roasted turkey.
2011 Noblesse Rouge: I really enjoyed this one. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, this accessible red wine with its raspberry and blackberry flavors should prove quite the partner with pork roast.
2010 Meritage: Bold!! Of course, this Bordeaux-style blend is from the very warm and dry 2010 vintage, and tasters may want to buy now but drink later. However, if you plan to serve up a rib roast for the holidays, consider this one; however, decant before pouring. Aromas and flavors include blackberry, dark cherry, and spice with a whiff of tobacco to boot.
2011 Rose: Ham is always a favorite this time of year, so consider the 2011 Rose. Paul liked this one a lot and he seemed to enjoy the fizzy mouth presence. It was a bit odd for me, though, since this is not a sparkling wine. However, I do think it would work well salty smoked ham that has been spiked with cloves and glazed with honey. Cranberry sauce on the side, of course!
Solera: Sugared pecans, dried fruit, and blue cheeses for dessert? Solera might be the dessert wine to offer guests. This sherry-like wine is made from Vidal Blanc grapes and presents aromas of honey, nuts, and orange peel.
We made certain to purchase our favorite wines for the holidays once our tasting concluded. Be sure to pay a visit to Rapahannock Cellars to find your own holiday favorites, and be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
We are so proud to be included in the Top 100 wine blogs! Yay for us!
We are slowly working our way through the boxes of cookies we received a while ago. Recently we decided to try the Ginger Molasses Cookies from Cookies and Corks. We decided to pair them with the 2011 Green from Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery. The Green is a blend of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Petit Manseng. The wine wheel/cookie combination suggested a chardonnay. Even though the Green isn’t all Chardonnay, we thought we’d try it anyway.
Warren is the tasting expert. He suggested getting our palates wet with the wine and then tasting the cookie. The ginger of the cookie was pretty strong but notes of pineapple, pear, and mango were evident. The tropical notes from the petit manning as well as the ripe pear elements from the chardonnay play well with the ginger spice of the cookies. I thought the ginger was a bit overwhelming but Warren thought the flavors played well together.
We have plenty of cookies yet to taste so stay tuned for future posts. And we’ve been told the 2012 Green has been released so we will need to try this new vintage. If you visit Cardinal Point anytime soon be sure to check out the 2012 Green and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
We always look forward to the holiday party at Gray Ghost Vineyards; in particular, we look forward to counting the corks on winemaker Al Kellert’s latest holiday creation. This year’s cork creation was candy canes, and the party attendee who correctly guessed the number of corks used to create the piece will win an assortment of Gray Ghost wines. I’ve been attending these for the last twelve years or so, and I’ve never won. However, I feel good about my chances this year after I simply copied Paul’s number and added a few more corks to the count. Paul had just won $14 in the lottery, so I felt confident Paul was on a winning streak that could only be broken by one person—me!
Anyway, a twist to this year’s holiday party at Gray Ghost was the pairing of Gray Ghost wines with locally produced cheeses and meats. In the past, co-winemaker Cheryl Kellert prepared hors d’oerves and sweet treats for the event; this year, though, the Kellerts opted to promote local food products as complements to their wines. The participating dairies included Culpeper Cheese, Everona Dairy, and Marshall Farms. Crofton Market provided the meats. Dessert items included brownies and mini-cheese cakes. Guests were able to enjoy the foods with the full menu of Gray Ghost wines including the newly released 2011 Reserve Chardonnay, and these were sampled in logo glasses with a holiday design created just for the holiday event. Listed below were the cheeses offered for tasting at the event:
Herbs de Provence
Cracked Peppercorn Cheddar
Amish Butter Cheese
Black peppercorn and red wine salami
So what were our favorite wine and cheese pairings? I found the cheeses to be amazing versatile with any of the Gray Ghost wines that were poured. I’m a big fan of the Reserve Chardonnay, and the 2011 vintage paired well with the harder Farmstead Cheddar from Marshall Farms. Paul preferred the 2011 Chardonnay with the Amish Butter Cheese from Culpeper Cheese. My favorite cheese was the cracked peppercorn cheddar from Marshall Farms, and this paired well with the slightly sweet Victorian White (or the sweeter Vidal Blanc) and the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. Paul’s favorite cheese was the Stoney Man, a manchego-style cheese, from Everona Dairy partnered with the 2010 Ranger Reserve. And what about wines and sweets? The brownies were delicious and played well with both the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Ranger Reserve; however, we did enjoy these with the rose-style Victorian Red. And the mini-cheese cakes? Of course, these can only be savored with the 2011 Adieu.
The Gray Ghost holiday party helped us to kick off the holiday season, and we left fully confident that a basket of Gray Ghost wines will be won by one of us. To be on the safe side, though, we left with bottles of our favorite Gray Ghost wines. We applaud Al and Cheryl Kellert’s efforts to promote the eat (and drink) local concept, too. Plan a visit to Gray Ghost Vineyards soon, and be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.