Return To The Club

I was a member of the Casanel Vineyards and Winery wine club for a year and then a few more months went by and I was out. You need to buy a case within the year to be in the club. Well I had forgotten. So we went back to Casanel to get back in the club.

We began at the tasting bar. Our very knowledgable tasting associate Erik, guided us through our tasting. Between the two Pinot Gris’ they have, we both preferred the Ellianna. We noted a full palate with notes of pear, apricot and some lime zest. It was lean and ended with some mineral notes. It’s perfect for a late spring day or summer time. But we’ll enjoy it year round.

We really enjoyed the 2016 Chardonnay. It’s a blend of stainless and oak aging. We noted pineapple, pear and lemon with a lingering finish and a kiss of oak at the end. As I tasted this one, I knew I’d be adding several bottles to my case.

Onto the reds. We tasted the 2015 K2 Red Blend, the 2013 Bergerac Red, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2015 Petit Verdot. While all the reds were wonderful, my favorite was the 2015 Petit Verdot. I noted plum, blackberry, cedar and a whiff of violet. I could see this one as both a sipper and pairing well with beef. We were also treated to a taste of the 2014 Carménère. Warren wrote down fleshy red fruit, plum, black pepper and thought it would pair well with a flank steak.

After our tasting we shared a bottle of the 2016 Chardonnay with cheese and a baguette. While enjoying out wine and snacks, Nelson joined us and told us his life story and shared his words of wisdom. It was great talking with him and hearing his stories.

Before leaving we made our decisions for the case. We liked the wines so much we’ll probably be back sooner than later to get another case! I’m back in the club now! Be sure to visit Casanel soon and when you do, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Breaux Vineyards

On Sunday we went to pick up club wines and do a tasting at Breaux Vineyards. We went straight to the club room and Bruce was there just waiting to conduct out tasting. It’s always nice to see a familiar face at Breaux.

We started with the club wines. We tasted 2016 Vidal Barrique, the 2015 Cellar Club Chardonnay, the 2016 Six Degrees and a new, sweeter white called 2016 Orleans. Of these I really enjoyed the 2015 Cellar Club Chardonnay. We noted apple and pear on the nose and on the palate. We also enjoyed the 2016 Six Degrees. Here is another one that tastes like it smells. We noted strawberry and cherry on the nose and on the palate.

After our tasting with Bruce we moved back upstairs for a regular tasting. And who was at the bar? Bruce’s wife, Sylvia! We always enjoy talking wine with Sylvia. We tasted through the wines on the regular tasting menu. From the whites on the list I really enjoyed the 2016 Madeleine’s Chardonnay and Warren enjoyed the 2016 Viognier. I noted tropical fruit and some citrus notes on the Chardonnay. Warren noted melon, floral notes and a full mouth feel.

We then moved onto the reds. Sylvia was able to do a mini-vertical tasting of two vintages of the Meritage. We tasted the 2013 and the 2014. I preferred the 2013 and Warren put a star next to the 2014. I underlined black cherry, plum, and candied fruit on the 2013. Warren jotted down raspberry, blackberry and pepper on the tasting sheet for the 2014. Both can be enjoyed for years to come.

After our tasting with Sylvia we grabbed some bread and cheese and sat out on the patio while enjoying a glass of the 2016 Madeleine’s Chardonnay and the 2016 Viognier. It was a great way to enjoy our Sunday afternoon.

Before leaving we purchased a half a case and said our goodbyes. We always enjoy our time at Breaux Vineyards! A big Thank You to Jen Breaux for letting us purchase two bottles of the 2015 Jennifer’s Jambalaya! If you haven’t been to Breaux Vineyards lately, stop by and check out the latest releases and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Dinner Party Wines

Saturday evening we had some friends over for dinner. Because October is Virginia Wine Month we decided to serve Virginia wines. Warren, of course, was the chef and also selected the wines for the meal.

We started with a salad course. It was a tossed green salad with a Dijon vinaigrette dressing. Warren selected the 2016 Rose from 50 West Vineyards as the wine to pair with the salad. Everyone thought it was the perfect pairing for the salad. The rose was was made with Sangiovese. It was crisp and refreshing.

The main course consisted of a healthy portion of filet mignon, parmesan oven roasted potatoes, and grilled squash. Warren selected the 2010 Meritage from Pollak Vineyards. Warren decided it needed to be decanted. 2010 was a big year for reds and while it’s been many years since it’s release, the Meritage was still pretty big and needed some air. We decanted it for more than an hour before serving. It ended up being a perfect pairing. It’s a blend of 41% Cabernet Franc, 41% Merlot, 18% Petit Verdot. This estate grown Bordeaux blend won the 2013 Monticello Cup. Warren noted concentrated fruit aromas with hints of anise and tobacco that led to flavors of black cherry, blackberry, and spice. Nice tannins too. He noted a subtle vanilla note at the end to boot. It was delicious!

So what have you been enjoying for Virginia Wine Month? Let us know! If you happen to visit either 50 West Vineyards or Pollak Vineyards please tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Harvesting At Gray Ghost

Today we went to Gray Ghost Vineyards to help harvest the chardonnay grapes. We do this every year and have been for the last 12 years. They had a bumper crop this year. Al Kellert reported bringing in almost 50% more than they did last year. We had a great time as usual! Here’s what the grapes looked like this morning.

Private Tasting at Delaplane Cellars

Yesterday we went to Delaplane Cellars to pick up club wines and taste the lasted wines on the tasting menu. Our tasting associate was new and told us she came from Notaviva (which closed recently). She did a great job conducting our tasting. Our favorite white was the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc. We noted floral aromas, lemon and lime, and herb. It’s perfect for one of these final warm days of summer.

Our favorite red was the 2014 Williams Gap. A Bordeaux blend of cabernet franc,, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot. We noted cherry, plum, coffee, and a long finish. This would be perfect with a nice filet mignon or even by itself!

After our tasting we ran into Jim Dolphin, owner and winemaker. He invited us to join him for a private tasting of several wines. We tasted the 2016 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, The 2016 Sauvignon Blanc from the vineyards at Notaviva, a dry 2016 Petit Manseng, an off dry 2016 Petit Manseng, the 2014 Springlot and the 2014 Left Bank. All of these were very well made wines and we enjoyed tasting them and chatting about them with Jim. My favorite here was the 2014 Springlot with it’s lighter tannins, smooth long finish and notes of coffee and a bright fruity beginning. We both really enjoyed the 2016 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay. We noted pear and hints of apple with hints of toasty oak and butter.

We always enjoy our time at Delaplane. And getting to have a private tasting with Jim was a treat! Thank you, Jim! We’ll return soon to pick up more club wines and enjoy the wines on the current tasting menu. We suggest you visit Delaplane Cellars soon as well! And when you do, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Early Mountain Vineyards

On our way home from Charlottesville over the Memorial Day weekend we decided to stop at Early Mountain Vineyards. We hadn’t been there in awhile so we wanted to see what was new.

Our tasting associate Julie, guided us through a tasting of all the Early Mountain wines. Of the whites we really enjoyed the 2016 Pinot Gris. We noted peach, wet stone, and mineral. Warren described it as clean and delicate. I agreed!

We were split on the reds. I really enjoyed the 2015 Foothills. I noted smoke, cherry, blackberry, and pepper. It made me think of beef! Warren favored the 2014 Novum. He noted seed berries, a hint of leather and smooth finish. I enjoyed it as well but preferred the Foothills. Our tasting associate Julie said of the Novum, “Wine is my favorite color.”

Julie was such a good tasting associate that I decided to join the wine club! We each enjoyed a flight of wines and some nibbles before making our purchases. We left with a case of wine but not before saying our goodbyes and recommending she check out our blog.


If you haven’t been to Early Mountain Vineyards lately, it’s time to return. If Julie is your tasting associate, tell her we said hello! And tell her that Virginia Wine Time sent you!