We are taking this week off to recharge. We’ll be back next week with more posts about our recent winery visits. We’ve got several visits to report about so come back next week!
Happy Blog Anniversary to us! Today is the 8th anniversary of us starting Virginia Wine Time. 8 years ago today we started sharing our Virginia winery experiences with you. Over the years we’ve visited 163 Virginia wineries, posted 815 times, had roughly 130,000 visits and received 536 comments on our posts. We have no plans on stopping anytime soon! We hope all our readers have enjoyed the blog and will continue to check back to read each post. Thank you for being loyal blog readers! We appreciate you visiting our site!
For anyone looking for a unique food and wine experience, look no further than The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. We spent this past weekend participating in a cooking class hosed by executive chef Matthew Morrison, chatted about wine with heralded sommelier Vincent Feraud, and then had dinner paired with Virginia wines in the elegant yet unpretentious Entyse Wine Bar & Lounge. We felt very spoiled and pampered, and our only regret was that we could not stay longer.
Our day at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner began with a cooking class given by chef Matthew Morrison. The class was actually part of the Fall Epicurean Series, a weekly series of cooking demonstrations held at the hotel each week in October. The particular session was called Thanksgiving 101; Morrison and his talented culinary team guided participants through lessons on how to create a delicious Thanksgiving meal. The menu included brined turkey (including a unique tip on how to bake the bird in separate pieces), apple raisin stuffing with seasonal herbs, cranberry orange chutney (say good-bye to the gelled canned stuff), and a lush black pepper panna cotta for dessert. Mixologist Narath crafted signature cocktails to pair with each course. For starters, a crisp French 75 made with Champagne and a splash of gin and lemon made for a lemony aperitif. With the main meal, a French Martini was served and featured Chambord, pineapple juice, grand marnier, and vanilla vodka. Sommelier Vincent Feraud offered a wine alternative and poured a divine Stolpman Syrah 2009. Finally a decadent pumpkin spice martini made with pumpkin spice liquer and Godiva chocolate syrup was finished with a dollop of whipped cream, and this was served with the panna cotta. Rich textures, chocolate highlights, and fall spices played delightfully well with each other. The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner has many Fall/Winter events lined up. Check out the events calendar and find one that interests you.
We walked away from the cooking class with tips to make our Thanksgiving meal even more memorable. We were also quite satisfied from Chef Morrison’s sample servings from the demonstration. However, we knew that more culinary treats were on the way, and we decided to rest for a bit in The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner Club Room which offers guests a panoramic view of the Tysons area including the emerging fall colors from trees that are just now putting on quite a colorful show. Shima, the Club’s concierge, warmly greeted us and offered to pour for us a glass of wine, and offerings included the Barboursville Pinot Grigio. How could we resist? Lovely views of the Virginia landscape were appreciated from the Club Room while enjoying a glass of Virginia wine from Barboursville to continue our celebration of Virginia Wine Month.
We finished our evening at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner with dinner at Entyse Wine Bar & Lounge. Here we were greeted by sommelier Vincent Feraud who poured for us the Trump 2008 Blanc de Blanc. Vincent Feraud was the sommelier that helped to conduct the Judgment of Paris held in 2009; this contest featured a showdown between the best Virginia wines and wines from France, Chile and Austria. The outcome? Virginia wines either bested or equaled their foreign competitors. Vincent was more than willing to chat with us about Virginia wines, wines from around the world, and yes, custom motorcycles. If readers ever see us pull up at a winery on motorcycles, it was Vincent Feraud who influenced us! Anyway, we ordered dinner with a promise from Vincent that he would return with a Virginia wine to pair with our meal. Paul ordered roasted chicken with mashed potatoes; I could not resist the filet mignon with rosemary potatoes. And the wine? Vincent poured for us the 2009 Cabernet Merlot from Lovingston Vineyards. It was a “wow” experience. Our meal was perfectly prepared, and the Virginia wine selection proved to be the perfect match. I must add that our waiter, Simon, was very attentive and personable. After we finished our meal, we lingered for a while to finish our wine; as we did so, the Christopher Linman Jazz Ensemble entertained lounge guests with classics from such greats as Miles Davis and Duke Ellington.
Needless to say, our appetites were more than satisfied. We retired to our room where chocolate squares rested atop pulled down sheets. We had no trouble falling asleep! After a breakfast of French toast and fresh coffee, we took one final glance at the elegant lobby with its bouquet of fresh flowers and glittering chandeliers. We enjoyed our stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. Great food, wonderful wines, and superb amenities await guests who will be pampered by a dedicated team that offers excellent service. We plan to visit The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner again, and we recommend that readers do so too. Please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
(A very special thank you to Chef Matthew and his talented culinary team, and Narath, Vincent, Shima, and Simon for making our stay super fantastic!)
We were invited to participate in The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner: Stay, Play and Write Campaign. All opinions are our own.
Yes, we continue to visit new wineries and recently reached a milestone of #160. Here is a summary of the new wineries that we visited:
#158: Winding Road Cellars: When we went from Philip Carter to the Inn at Vineyard Crossing for the ribbon cutter ceremony, we saw a sign for a new winery called Winding Road Cellars. Once the ribbon cutting ceremony was over, we decided to stop in for a tasting. They are very new. The tasting room is wood paneled room with a big tasting bar in the middle. Owners Scott and Linda Culver have been working very hard to get things going at the winery. We tasted the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2007 Cabernet Franc, the 2008 Chambourcin, and the 2010 Chardonnay. Our winner was the 2010 Chardonnay. It was a classic chardonnay with apple and pear notes. We will have to return soon when more wines are on the menu and we have more time to take thorough notes.
#159: Greenhill Winery and Vineyards: This winery was formerly known as Swedenburg. Things have changed quite a bit since businessman David Greenhill bought the Middleburg winery. Sebastien Marquet, winemaker at Doukenie Vineyards, is the consulting winemaker. The Swedenburg tasting room has been completely renovated and is now much more customer friendly and very inviting. Tasting are held either at the bar or at tables located both indoors and outdoors. There is also a focus on quality winemaking especially with Marquet at the helm. The four wines that we tasted were well crafted and included a 2009 Blanc de Blanc, 2011 Vidal Blanc, 2012 Syrah, and the 2009 Philosophy, a Bordeaux-style blend. Our favorites were the dry 2011 Vidal Blanc with its citrus and tropical fruit notes and the 2009 Philosophy with its earthy elements and dark berry aromas.
#160: Leaves of Grass Vineyards: Owner Michael Mazo named this winery after the Walt Whitman piece, Leave of Grass. The open design of the tasting room offers an airy feel to visitors; in fact, Whitman probably would feel right at home here! Contemporary furnishing adds a touch of hipster elegance to the back-to-nature ambiance. Our tasting came with a platter of cheeses and meats to complement the wines which included a pinot gris, a chardonnay, a cabernet sauvignon and a cabernet franc. The bottles sported designs that seemed like word/icon clouds, and the words and symbols were meant to conjure associations with wine such as love, adventure, and magic. The labels were even featured at a business/marketing expo in Shanghai! Karem Baki serves as consulting winemaker. Grapes are currently outsourced from local vineyards. Our favorite here was the Cabernet Franc 2010 with its earthy elements and palate of blackberries, dark raspberries, and spice.
Will we make it to #200? New wineries are opening all of the time in Virginia, so we will take things one winery at a time. Until then, visit these newbies and tell them that Virginia Wine Time sent you.