It’s been an interesting week in the Virginia wine world. Dave McIntyre has a very interesting post about a few things. One of the things he writes about is viognier becoming Virginia’s signature grape. Check out the article here.
On top of Dave McIntyre’s piece, Frank Morgan from Drink What You Like has written about this topic as well. There is a huge string of interesting comments with the post. Check out his post here.
The folks over at Virginia Wine In My Pocket are helping make today (Friday the 13th) a little less scary by offering their iPhone/iPad app for only 99¢. That’s a deal! If you don’t already have the app, you might want to get it today. It is only on sale today! You can learn about the app here.
And finally, you might be looking for something to do next weekend. The annual Wine Festival at the Plains is taking place next weekend. We usually attend this event but are unable to this year. Think about going and if you do, let us know how it was. You can check out the event here.
Recently Allan from CellarBlog suggested we follow up our top 20 Virginia wine list with another list. To help celebrate Virginia Wine Week it was suggested we post our favorite wineries for different categories. After several emails a bunch of the wine bloggers came up with the following 10 categories. We selected the wineries that we thought best fit each category. This one might be helpful for those looking for a specific kind of winery. Here are our selections. Would you agree? Have different ideas? Share them in the comments.
1. Most Dog Friendly: Barrel Oak Winery
2. Most Family Friendly: Bluemont Vineyard
3. Best Winery to Take a Date: Potomac Point Winery
4. Best Winery to Hear Music: Notaviva Vineyards
5. Best Winery to Bump into Owner/Winemaker: Fabbioli Cellars
6. Best Winery for Someone New to Virginia Wine: Chrysalis Vineyards
7. Best Views: Delaplane Cellars
8. Best Place to Visit With a Big Group: Breaux Vineyards
9. Best je ne sais quoi/indefinable quality that makes it special: Linden Vineyards
10. Best Winery to Laze Away the Afternoon: Gray Ghost Vineyards
Today is Warren’s birthday! Leave him a birthday wish in the comments!
Yes, the wine glasses are virtually invisible thanks to the latest in glassware technology from Ravenscroft. I sampled their invisible cab/Bordeaux glass this past weekend, and I can testify to the invisible-weight nature of this glass. The lead-free crystal glass allows the aficionado to appreciate the wine to the fullest extent possible without the extra weight of lead-burdened glass. Wine lovers who want to know more about this new development in glass technology should visit Ravenscroft.
We are in Charlottesville! Today we visited Barboursville, Horton, Keswick, Jefferson and Blenheim. Here’s a quick recap of the gold stars we handed out and a few notes we made during our visits.
At Barboursville I gave my gold star to the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc and Warren awarded his to the 2008 Viognier Reserve. For the reds I gave my gold star to the 2008 Sangiovese and Warren gave gave out two gold stars. One to the Octagon 2005 and one to the Cabernet Franc Reserve 2007. All the wines at Barboursville are strong. We enjoy them all. However, something must be done with the flow of the tasting room. Big crowds slow things down and hamper the tasting experience. It might be time to consider a different plan or layout for tasting. There’s got to be a better way to conduct their tastings. Just a thought.
It’s always an adventure at Horton Cellars. They have so many wines to choose from. We have to be selective or we’ll have to get a driver. We did try a few of the whites and a few of the reds. This time our gold stars went to the same wines. We awarded the 2008 Viognier a gold star and the 2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve a gold star. We purchased a few bottles before leaving.
Our next stop was Keswick Vineyards. We always enjoy our tastings there. They had six wines to taste this time and they were all new to use. I gave my gold star for the whites to the recently released 2009 Verdejo and my gold star for the reds went to the 2008 Cabernet Franc. Warren selected the 2008 Chardonnay Reserve and the 2008 Consensus for his gold star winners. After our tasting we enjoyed a bottle of the 2008 Cabernet Franc. Warren noted currents, plums, dried herbs on the nose and similar qualities on the palate. He said, “It tastes like it smells.” We enjoyed it with some delicious white cheddar cheese and crackers.
Our next stop was at Jefferson Vineyards. Jefferson was packed! It was a very popular place today. We found a spot at the tasting bar and began our tasting. We met some nice ladies from California next to us and enjoyed chatting about wine with them. Once again our choices for gold stars were split. It’s probably a good thing we like so many different Virginia wines. I gave my gold stars to the 2008 Pinot Gris and the 2007 Meritage while Warren gave his gold stars to the 2008 Viognier and the 2007 Merlot. Usually Warren likes the meritages and I like the merlots but we mixed it up this time. The weather was beautiful today so we shared a glass of the 2008 Viognier on their deck.
Trying to make the most of the beautiful weather and squeeze in as many wineries as we can on this trip, we finished the day at Blenheim. Kirsty Harmon is doing some wonderful things at Blenheim. It’s another winery that has become very popular. Our tasting associate, Pete, guided us through the current offerings at Blenheim. There were two new wines on the list: White Table Wine and Painted Red 2008. The Painted Red 2008 intrigued us with his big fruity nose and flavors. We described it as beaujolais style. Warren and I both gave our gold stars to the 2008 Viognier but for the reds we were split again. I gave mine to the Blenheim Farm Petit Verdot 2008 and Warren gave his to Painted Red 2008. After our tasting we enjoyed a glass of the Painted Red 2008 on the deck. Kirsty came out and joined us and we chatted about wine of course. We always have a great time at Blenheim.
That was our first day in Charlottesville. A lot of wineries, I know but we have to make the best use of our time. Tomorrow we are headed to three more wineries. I’ll update you then with our findings. If you find yourself at any of these wonderful wineries, please tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
There’s a new website specifically for Fauguier County wineries. When you visit you can find out all about the wineries in Fauquier County. They are divided by exits on route 66. You can also find out about the upcoming events at each winery. In addition to that information, you can also print out tasting sheets for each winery you plan to visit, and map out a trip to several wineries using tour tool. And on top of all that, you can join and be able to input your comments about each wine you tasted at each winery. You really need to check it out.
Gerhard von Fincke has this to say about the creation of this site:
“This site is an attempt to increase awareness and show visitors, mainly from the DC area east of Fauquier, how easy it is to reach “Virginia’s Wine Country” in Fauquier County in less than one hour by using I66 and their respective exits. The site is a combined effort by all wineries to show their locations and upcoming events with a user friendly format, so that visitors can plan winery tours through one single web site without going to each individual winery site to plan their route.”
If you are looking for information about Fauquier County wineries, check out the new website and sign up to save your comments!
In this edition of the Extra Pour you’ll find out what happens in the vineyard during the winter. Click on the image to download the latest Extra Pour!
Yet another evening snowed in in DC. We decided to enjoy a white wine from Chrysalis Vineyards. It was the 2007 Private Reserve White, which is only available to VIP Club members.
It’s a fuller bodied, blended wine from (we’re guessing) petit manseng and chardonnay. We noted some pear and subtle almond on the nose with a honey texture on the palate followed by a long finish.
Chrysalis describes the private reserves:
Each vintage Chrysalis Vineyards produces two unique wines – a white, and red, exclusively for the enjoyment of our VIP Club members. We use this opportunity to indulge in creative winemaking unfettered by normal production restrictions. We are free to use any wines from that vintage, vinified however the fruit may inspire us, blended as we wish, to create something of unusual quality, interest, and rarity. We do this to thank our Club members with a wine that no one else can obtain, at any price.
After we enjoyed holiday nibbles and wines at Gray Ghost Vineyards, we decided to pay a visit to Gadino Cellars for a tasting. It had been quite a while since our last tasting there, and we were eager to see if any new offerings were now available on the tasting menu.
So on a very cold afternoon, we were warmly greeted by Stephanie, assistant wine maker and daughter of owners Bill and Aleta Gadino. As always, we started with the white wines. Our favorite? The 2007 Viognier with its floral nose and peach flavors. Treatment in Hungarian oak provides a softer oak finish. Paul was disappointed to learn that his favorite, the Pinot Grigio was sold out. This was one of our summer favorites, and we await its return next year!
The red wines were then offered for tasting, and we both agreed that the 2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve was the gold star winner. In the mouth, mixed berry flavors ended with vanilla on the finish. Cabernet Franc is known for its spicy characteristic, and this vintage is no exception. Already a gold medal winner, this Cabernet Franc should be quite popular with holiday fare especially if roasted meats are on the menu. Paul was quite pleased that Merlot was back on the menu, and we were able to sample the 2005 Merlot Reserve. What a treat! All we needed was a cigar. Nice blackberry and dark cherry aromas with some tobacco to boot! Of course, Paul had already opened his 2005 Merlot Reserve a long time ago, but he was tempted to purchase another bottle.
With our tasting done, I decided to treat Paul to a glass of the 2005 Merlot Reserve; of course, he had to share! As we sipped and watched the sunlight begin to fade into a lovely glow, Stephanie’s husband Derek stopped by for a brief chat. We learned that the 2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve is offered on restaurant menus including the acclaimed Restaurant Eve in Alexandria. (Note to Virginia wine lovers—if Virginia wines are offered on the wine list, please order a glass or bottle!)
Before we left Gadino Cellars, we made sure to give new homes to a couple of Gadino Cellars’ wines. We also extended our best holiday wishes to Stephanie with promises to return in the New Year. Looking for wines for the holidays? Be sure to visit Gadino Cellars and be certain to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
And to our readers—HAPPY HOLIDAYS!