On September 14th and 15th the 38th Annual Virginia Wine Festival will be held at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia. Festival goers will be able taste wine from more than 50 Virginia wineries, hear music from some great bands, and attend seminars to increase your knowledge of wine. There are several different ticket levels and festival goers can even purchase a ticket to catch a van from the Vienna Metro to the event. Many more details about the festival can be found at the website.
We are planning to attend the event on Sunday. We’ll be posting about our experience. If you don’t have any plans this weekend, consider visiting the Virginia Wine Festival at Great Meadow. And if you see us there, say hello!
On a gorgeous Sunday morning we headed out to Delaplane Cellars to pick up Warren’s club wines. We decided to taste the current line up of wines on the tasting menu.
We tasted the 2012 Rose before but this time it seemed to have developed nicely since our last taste. It’s a blend of merlot, cab franc, and cab sauv. It was crisp and clean with strawberry notes throughout.
The 2011 Merlot seems to be coming around as well. In the past it has not been our favorite but this time we noted flavors we had not savored before. Black cherry notes seem to prevail with a hint of minerality. We’re glad to see it’s coming together as time goes on.
After picking up Warren’s wine club wines we each enjoyed a glass of wine with a baguette and some cheese. Being a club member and being on the “pick up” option insures we visit Delaplane once a quarter. It’s nice to keep up with how the wines are developing and get to taste the current line up. If you haven’t been to Delaplane Cellars lately, plan a trip and we you do, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you.
In the past we have visited Tarara to enjoy the concerts they have on Saturday evenings during the summer months. We decided to get back to the concert series on Saturday the 24th of August. That evening they had three bands playing music from the 1990s grunge era. Warren is a big fan of this type of music so he was looking forward to hearing the bands.
Before the concert though we decided to do a tasting in the tasting room. Our favorite tasting associate Keri was on board to conduct our tasting. Most of the wines on the list weren’t new to us so Keri was nice enough to share some of the 2012 Charval. It’s very crisp and clean. It’s Rkatsiteli based and it shows on the palate. We thought this one was the most improved wine from previous versions. We also enjoyed the 2011 Cabernet Franc. I enjoyed the fruity nature. We thought it would pair nicely with some turkey at Thanksgiving.
After our tasting we headed over to the concert venue. We enjoyed some BBQ from Mans BBQ. We selected the Boneyard Unrefined Red as our wine for the evening. At the concert they were only selling the Boneyard series of wines that were released that day. The Unrefined Red paired nicely with our BBQ. We met a bunch of women sitting at a table near us and they introduced us to the Bad To The Bone Bubbles, the first sparkling wine in Loudoun County. We enjoyed it so much we decided to get a bottle of our own. Once it was poured in a champagne flute, the bubbles went on and on. We noted some nice apple and pear and citrus zest. We also noticed some toasty notes. It was crisp and acidic. It’s a nice bubbly.
The evening continued with the grunge music of the 90s and the bubbles. The concert series in the summer is a great way to enjoy a warm evening. There are only a few concerts left this year. If you haven’t gotten to Tarara lately, plan a trip soon. Or plan to attend one of the upcoming concerts. When you do, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
Last week Lost Creek Vineyard and Winery released their 2012 Reserve Chardonnay. We thought this would be a good time to return to Lost Creek and taste the new release.
Lost Creek has become a popular place. As we entered the tasting room it was a buzz with tasters. We found a spot at the tasting bar and began a tasting. We had tasted all the wines when we visited in June but it was nice to see how the wines were developing in the bottle. The wines are developing nicely. The Genesis particularly has changed and we liked it even more this time than we did in June. It’s developing into a red that should be enjoyed with a thick juicy steak. During our tasting we had a chance to chat and catch up with owners Aimee and Todd Henkle. It was good to hear how things are progressing nicely at Lost Creek. Positive changes continue to happen at Lost Creek.
We returned to Lost Creek specifically to try the 2012 Reserve Chardonnay, and its Burgundian style reflects the expert craftsmanship of French winemaker Sébastien Marquet. After our wine tasting, we enjoyed a glass of this one with a nice brie and a fresh baguette.
Before leaving we were sure to secure a bottle of the Reserve Chardonnay for our wine rack. Check out the newest release at Lost Creek and when you do, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you.
Cana Vineyards is the 157th winery we have visited. Our friend Troy is a club member there and offered to meet us there for a tasting. We got there a few minutes early and walked around the property to enjoy the view.
Once our friend arrived we entered the large building to begin our tasting. A familiar face greeted us. Don, the tasting room manager, used to work at Chrysalis across the street. His daughter conducted our tasting on the patio. The patio provides a gorgeous view and there was a nice breeze cooler us on a warm day. During our tasting we found out Cana is a family owned winery with 43 acres of property with 5 acres under vine. They currently have viognier, cabernet franc, petit manseng, petit verdot, and merlot planted. Since their vines are so new, they have been purchasing grapes from different Virginia vineyards for their wines. They are hoping to have their own estate wines from the 2014 harvest.
After our tasting we took a tour of the facility. Cana hopes to be a popular wedding venue and has the private spaces and views to attract many couples. There are several different areas in the building and around the property to have different groups enjoy the wines and the views.
With our tour over we decided to enjoy a bottle of our favorite wine with some bread and cheese. Our favorite wine during the tasting was the 2012 Rkatsiteli. It’s a crisp white wine with citrus, peach, and stone notes. It was a perfect wine to enjoy on a warm afternoon. It paired nicely with our goat cheese and baguette.
Cana Vineyards has barely been open a year now and seem to be doing well as a wine destination. We enjoyed our time at Cana with our friends. If you haven’t checked out Cana Vineyards yet, give them a try. And when you do, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
We’re back! After a few weeks of vacation we have returned to the wine trail. On Saturday we decided to introduce some friends to a few wineries in Loudoun County. We selected Hunters Run Wine Barn and Doukenie Winery as our first two stops back on the trail. Our friends Troy and Craig came along.
Hunters Run Wine Barn-Owner Geri Nolan conducted our tasting. It was nice to see her again and catch up on what has been happening at Hunters Run since our last visit. During our tasting we learned that all the wines are now being created at Cave Ridge Vineyard in the Shenandoah Valley and Randy Phillips is the winemaker. Since our last visit to Hunters Run, the tasting menu has expanded to include a full line up of wines. One of our favorites was the 2010 Barrel Aged Viognier. It’s a nice rounded wine with tropical notes. We decided to enjoy a bottle of this with our friends with warm bread and cheese. It’s a nice wine for a warm summer afternoon. Another of our favorites is the port style wine called Todds. It’s named after Geri’s father. It is chambourcin based and fermented in bourbon barrels. The alcohol level is 17.5% and the residual sugar is 7%. We noted bright fruit and a smooth finish. Warren enjoyed it so much he decided to get a bottle to bring home. Our friends enjoyed the tasting and experiencing the fun at Hunters Run. They plan to visit again soon.
Doukenie Winery-Our final stop of the day was Doukenie Winery. It had been awhile since we visited and it was time to see what was new on the tasting menu. Our friends had never visit Doukenie so they were interested in tasting all the wines. There were definitely new wines on the menu that we had not tasted before. The stand out white was the 2011 Chardonnay. We noted pear, butter, honey, a nice acidity and a nutty-honey finish. We decided to enjoy a bottle with more bread and cheese. Two of the reds stood out to us. The 2010 Vintner’s Reserve is a Bordeaux style blend that presents a jammy nose with notes of dried fruit, tobacco, and anise with a lengthy smooth finish. The 2010 Petit Verdot has been a favorite of mine for a while now. It has a rich, dense, inky color with notes of dried fried, a whiff of violet, tobacco, and a stiff tannins in the end. Tasting this one once again convinced me I should join the wine club. So I took the plunge and joined the club. Having joined the club, we were able to take advantage of the club members room to enjoy our wine and nibbles with our friends. It was a nice visit to Doukenie and now that I’m a club member, I’m sure we’ll be returning more often.
Plan a trip to Loudoun County soon and be sure to include Hunters Run and Doukenie on your list of wineries to visit. And when you do, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
Our second stop on Wine Tourism Day was Chrysalis Vineyards. Warren’s parents hadn’t been there yet and it was close to Boxwood so we decided to take them there. Tastings at Chrysalis are so popular that they now have timed tastings. Upon entering the tasting room we signed up for the 1:30 tasting. We had a few minutes to kill so we walked around and showed Warren’s parents the grounds.
As usual, our tasting started with the white wines. The three of were split on our favorite white. I preferred the 2011 Chardonnay. I enjoyed the stainless steel crisp edge with notes of green apple, minerality. Warren favored the 2011 Albarino with it’s notes of apricot, peach, and tartness. Warren’s father enjoyed the 2011 Viognier with its floral notes, creamy mouth feel, and toasted nut finish. While we had our favorite whites, these would all make wonderful summer sippers.
We moved on to the reds and again we were split but this time Warren and I selected the same favorite red. We both enjoyed the 2009 Petit Verdot. We noted blackberry, cherry, firm acids, and solid tannic finish. Warren’s father enjoyed the 2011 Barrel Select Norton. He enjoyed the jammy flavors of cherry, blueberry and blackberry. He was thinking of food items to pair with this wine.
With our tasting complete and our favorites recorded, we selected a bottle of the 2011 Albarino to enjoy with lunch items while enjoying the view of the vineyards. After lunch we purchased a few of our favorites and said our goodbyes. We will return to Chrysalis soon and encourage you to do the same. And when you do, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
Saturday, May 11th was Wine Tourism Day across the country. Of course we had to be part of this day. Luckily Warren’s parents were in town as well. We decided to take them to a few wineries they hadn’t been to before. The first winery we took them to was Boxwood Estate Winery.
Warren’s parents were impressed with the beautifully designed tasting room and winery building. We’ve always thought it was one of the best we’ve seen. We conducted our tasting at the circular tasting bar right inside the building. Warren’s father joined Warren and I during the tasting. All three of us really enjoyed the 2012 Rose with it’s crisp edge, strawberry and white peach flavors, and the long finish.
The reds were a different story. Warren’s father found a favorite different from ours. Warren’s father favored the 2009 Topiary. He enjoyed the pepper and tobacco notes. Warren and I favored the 2010 Boxwood. We noted dried herb, tobacco, and mineral notes. We thought it was a bit young still and enjoyed it now but think it will be even better in a year or so.
After our tasting Warren’s father and I shared a half bottle of the 2010 Boxwood and Warren enjoyed a glass of the 2012 Rose. Even though there was a light sprinkle in the air, we did enjoy our wine at the picnic tables with a nice view of the vineyards. Before leaving we purchased some of our favorite wines. Our first stop on Wine Tourism Day was a success. When you next visit Boxwood, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
On May 4th we attended the third annual Blending Class at Gray Ghost Vineyards. The outcome of the class was to create a Meritage or Bordeaux style blend using at least three of the five Bordeaux grapes. To be considered a Meritage (or Bordeaux blend), a wine must consist of a combination of any or all of these varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. No single varietal can make up more than 50% of the blend. We were trying to create a blend that was similar to the award winning Ranger Reserve. Our class began with winemaker Al Kellert teaching us about the different Bordeaux grapes. We learned about the flavor profiles for each grape and some history before getting started.
After our lesson on the individual grapes, we got to work on our blends. We began by tasting each of the five grapes separately. All the wines were from the 2011 vintage. As we tasted each of the grapes we kept notes about each one. We wrote down what we thought was prominent in each wine. We thought about things like the nose, the color, the flavors we were getting, the ending, and the tannins. After taking our notes and thinking about the individual wines, we then began the process of putting certain percentages together to create our blends. Since Al had not told us what the blend percentages were for the 2011 Ranger Reserve, we had no idea how much to include from each wine. It was up to our palates to decide what percentages of the wines we liked best. We used our pipettes to put different percentages in our beaker to create the final blend. We were able to blend two different times to get to the one we liked best. After testing and tasting a few times I came up with my final blend. My final blend was actually VERY close to the final blend of the 2011 Ranger Reserve.
My blend consisted of 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 15% Malbec, and 15% Petit Verdot. The 2011 Ranger Reserve blend is 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 16% Malbec, and 16% Petit Verdot. Al was pretty impressed how close I got to the 2011 blend. I was pleased with the outcome.
My favorite individual varietal was the 2011 Malbec. I think most participants enjoyed the malbec as well. The only problem with using malbec as the main ingredient is that Al doesn’t produce enough to create a malbec dominated blend. He informed us that if we used a high percentage of malbec, he’d only have one barrel of the blend to sell. Knowing this, many of the participants changed their blend in the second round to reflect this. I preferred my first blend as my finest. Warren joined me for the class but his allergies were keeping him from truly enjoying the nose and flavor profiles of each wine. He still came up with a pretty decent blend.
After our class we enjoyed a box lunch and a glass of wine on the patio. Al and Cheryl joined us during lunch. It was fun chatting about the class and about Virginia wine. We always have a great time at Gray Ghost. If you haven’t been to Gray Ghost lately, plan a trip soon. And tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
Wine tasting is an activity to be enjoyed by adults. We neither support nor condone the consumption of alcohol by minors.
Virginia Wine Time is a wine blog written by two wine enthusiasts who enjoy Virginia wine. Warren is the writer and Paul is the photographer and webmaster. All content and photographs are property of Virginia Wine Time and may not be used without prior permission.