On our recent trip to Charlottesville we stopped at another one of our favorite wineries, King Family Vineyards. We have been familiar with Matthieu Finot’s wines for a few years now and absolutely love them. Whenever we visit, we enjoy all the wines on the tasting menu.
We are not the only ones who enjoy Matthieu’s wines. When we entered the tasting room it was packed with tasters. Every spot at the multiple tasting bars was filled. We waited our turn and then found a spot at one of the tasting bars.
It was very difficult to find a favorite white wine. Warren enjoyed the 2012 Roseland with fuller feel, pear notes and partial malolactic fermentation. I enjoyed the 2011 Viognier. It was crisp and clean, with a wonderful floral nose and notes of melon and peach. We also both enjoyed the 2012 Crose which was full of strawberry, melon, and citrus notes. Of course we thought of concerts on the lawn at Wolf Trap while tasting this one.
Once again it was tough to pick a favorite red. We enjoyed both the 2011 Cabernet Franc and the 2011 Merlot. We were lucky enough to get a taste of the 2010 Petit Verdot. This one became our favorite. We really enjoyed the black cherry, plum, berry notes and picked up on some tobacco. This is a big red that could easily age on your wine rack.
After our tasting we enjoyed some cheese and baguette with a glass of the 2011 Viognier. We then purchased some of our favorites before leaving. If you haven’t been to King Family lately, it’s probably time to plan a trip. And when you do visit, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
On our recent three day weekend trip to Charlottesville we stopped at one of our favorites, Pollak Vineyards. We were there last September but always enjoy our time at Pollak so we stopped by again. Plus, it’s always good opportunity to pick up some much needed white wines. For some reason, my white wine rack always needs some restocking.
We always get a warm family feeling when we enter the tasting room and see so many familiar faces. Selecting our favorites from the tasting menu is always difficult because we enjoy all the Pollak wines. This time around though we were able to pick a few. Of the whites we really enjoyed the 2011 Viognier. Warren really enjoyed this one last time but I thought it had changed somewhat in the bottle and I really enjoyed it this time as well. We both noted the peach, apricot, and honeysuckle notes. Even though this was my favorite white of the day, I did end up leaving with a half case of the white wines. You can never have too many choices when looking for a white wine to serve.
Not surprisingly, some 2012 wines are beginning to appear and Pollak just recently released their 2012 Rose. While we aren’t necessarily looking for Rose at this time of the year, we certainly thought about summer concerts while sipping this Rose. We noted strawberry and spice with a smooth mouth feel. It was created with Cabernet Franc. Nice job, Benoit!
As you may be aware, Pollak won a gold medal in the Governor’s Cup for their 2009 Cabernet Franc Reserve. We were interested to taste the 2010 Cabernet Franc to see how it was developing. We really enjoyed this one back in September. The 2010 Cabernet Franc was again our favorite red. The blackberry, raspberry, and dark chocolate notes danced around on our palates with delight. This one may be our favorite for some time to come.
Even though the 2010 Petit Verdot isn’t normally on the tasting menu, they had a bottle open and offered us a taste. We thoroughly enjoyed it. We noted plum, blackberry, and dust. It’s a bit hot and a bit tannic right now but in time this is going to be a perfect wine. As we often do, we thought of food while tasting this one.
With our tasting complete, our conversations ended, we enjoyed a glass of the 2010 Cabernet Franc with a baguette while enjoying the fire in the tasting room. Before leaving we purchased more than half a case of wine to add to our wine racks. If you haven’t been to Pollak Vineyards recently, it’s time to plan a trip soon. And be sure to tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
Photo provided by the Virginia Wine Marketing Office.
We thought we’d jump on the bandwagon and announce the 2013 Virginia Wineries Association’s Governor’s Cup was awarded to Barboursville Vineyards 2009 Octagon 12th Edition. It was selected from the 12 top scoring wines from the competition. The 2009 Octagon will be included in the Governor’s Cup Case. The others that will be included are:
Cooper Vineyards – 2010 Petit Verdot Reserve
King Family Vineyards – 2010 Meritage
Lovingston Winery – 2009 Josie’s Knoll Estate Reserve
Philip Carter Winery – 2010 Cleve
Pollak Vineyards – 2009 Cabernet Franc Reserve
Potomac Point Vineyard and Winery – 2010 Richland Reserve Heritage
Rappahannock Cellars – 2010 Meritage
RdV Vineyards – 2010 Rendevous
RdV Vineyards – 2010 Lost Mountain
Sunset Hills Vineyard – 2010 Mosaic
Trump Winery – 2008 Sparkling Rose
Congratulations to Luca Pachina, Barboursville, and all the other award winners!
Our trek through the wine trails in the Charlottesville area brought us to First Colony Winery. A sign that declared, “new owners” intrigued us, and we knew that we had to get the scoop.
No sooner had we approached the tasting bar, new owners Heather and Bruce Spiess extended their greetings to us. They were also gracious enough to answer all of our questions, too. Heather and Bruce and Jeff Miller had just recently purchased the winery and vineyard; although they live in the Richmond area, they felt a need to rescue First Colony, a winery that had a special connection to them. Their son, Austin, works at First Colony as a vineyard manager, and according to Heather, his hands had “touched every vine on the property.” This personal connection inspired them to purchase the property and to create a new vision for future success.
The first phase of this new vision is to focus on the wines and to improve their quality. Jason Hayman will remain at the helm as winemaker but in a new production facility that will offer an improved environment for winemaking. A special thatched roof will cover the facility to create a unique element. New barrels are already on order, and the vineyards will include new plantings that take advantage of First Colony’s own micro-climate. Bruce even envisions an experimental lot that will allow the winemaker to consider Italian varietals.
The next phase will then be the construction of a new tasting room, and this will begin once the production facility is completed. Heather and Bruce foresee a tasting room that will be a bit more expansive yet welcoming to customers. Design features will allow tasters to take advantage of First Colony’s scenic view; in fact, Paul took a quick tour of the outdoor trail to snap picture of birds as they fluttered by his camera lens. Fans of the First Colony name, though may have to make an adjustment as a name change may also be in the future.
Owning and operating a winery is tough work, and Heather and Bruce, a physician, still maintain jobs in Richmond. However, we did not doubt their commitment to this new venture; their enthusiasm was almost contagious, and we felt excited for them. Indeed, they already have wines to help them move forward. Our own favorites were the upcoming 2011 Estate Reserve Chardonnay that was lighter on the oak and more generous with fruit notes such as coconut, citrus and melon. The 1670 Port made from the Touriga grape and fortified with brandy should prove to be an elegant way to end a dinner party, and maybe partner with a dense chocolate dessert.
We will keep abreast of developments at First Colony Winery; in the meantime, be certain to stop by and meet the new owners of First Colony Winery. Mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.