On Good Friday I had the chance to visit the Walsh Family Wine in Loudoun County to tour the vineyards, taste some wines and hear what’s going on from Nate Walsh.
I met our wine friends Kurt and Carol from Wine About Virginia on a very windy hill at Walsh Family Vineyards. We made plans to meet up with our wine friend Susan McHenry. She was running late. We said our hellos and followed Nate Walsh out to the vineyards. The site we visited is known as Bethany Ridge. Nate told us there are 20 acres planted with Albarino, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Petit Manseng, (and a teeny bit of Gruner Veltliner), Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Tannat.
Nate told us of another vineyard not far away called Twin Notch Farm. This site has 8 acres planted with Sauvignon Blanc, Petit Manseng, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Nate talked about the recent deal with Northgate Vineyards. He will be making the wine there and keeping the winery running since Mark and Vicki Fedor have decided to move on to their next chapter. He plans to keep things the same and maybe eventually have Walsh Family Wines involved in some way.
After our vineyard tour and talk, we joined others at the picnic tables to taste some wines. We were able to taste the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 Rosé, the 2016 Viognier and finally a red blend created from tannat and cab sauvignon that was blended for the Tarara wine club. All of the wines were very good and I favored the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2017 Rosé.
After tasting the wines and chatting more with Nate, it was time to buy some wines and head home. We hope to see more of Nate soon at Northgate and we look forward to tasting the wines he creates. If you visit Walsh Family Wine or see Nate, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
Randy Thompson and Dave Collins have certainly created an amazing experience at Big Cork Vineyards. While they made almost two dozen different wines, the tasting menu is tastefully limited to six nice choices. We thoroughly enjoyed the wine tasting at the expansive tasting bar. We particularly enjoyed the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2015 Nebbiolo. We were very impressed with the wines crafted by Dave Collins. We were already familiar with his work because of our membership at Breaux Vineyards where Dave was the winemaker for 14 years. We wanted to try the 2016 Reserve Chardonnay but it was only available to club members. I was very curious about the 2016 Reserve Chardonnay that I decided to join the club so that we could enjoy the chardonnay with some lunch items.
After our tasting we crossed the tasting room to the market area. We selected some items for lunch and picked up the bottle of the 2016 Reserve Chardonnay. It was everything we had hoped it would be. And it paired well with our lunch items. In the market area there is a comfortable seating area. There is also a covered patio area for warmer times. The day we were there they had live music out on the patio. The patio has wonderful views of the vineyards.
Before leaving we picked up our club wines and purchased a few more. We do plan to return to Big Cork Vineyards but sooner than seven years. If you happen to visit Big Cork Vineyards in Maryland, please tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
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!
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!
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!