Wine and Chocolates

Gray Ghost Vineyards was planning their big yearly Irresistible Chocolates and Cabernet event for Valentine’s weekend but a big snow storm was threatening to cancel it. They decided to move it to the next weekend. However, the snow didn’t last as long as expected so they had a special chocolates weekend on Valentine’s weekend instead. We decided we’d go to enjoy the chocolates and get this year’s Valentine glass. After a tasting of the current lineup of wines we each decided to enjoy a glass of the Ranger Reserve with our plate of chocolates.
grayghostchocolates4
grayghostchocolates2
grayghostchocolates1
grayghostchocolates3
After our delicious adventure at Gray Ghost, we decided to stop at Unicorn Winery on the way home and check out the latest releases. We were so lucky to have owner Sandy Lepage conduct our tasting! We haven’t seen her in a long time. It was good to catch up and taste the new wines.
unicorn1
Our favorite white was the Vicenza Gold. It’s a blend of chardonel and seyval. We noted pear and citrus and crisp edge. It made us think of the spring weather! Our favorite red was the 2010 Meritage. It’s a blend of 20% Cabernet Franc, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 40% Merlot. We noted ripe berry fruit and smooth tannins.
unicorn2
If you haven’t been to Gray Ghost Vineyards or Unicorn Winery recently, plan a trip soon. And when you visit, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Notaviva to Launch Cruise on the Danube

A fun yet elegant cruise down the Danube River which runs through historic cities like Vienna, Austria—what more could your ask for? A pairing with Virginia wines, of course. Notaviva Vineyards is planning just such a trip for November 2015. We stopped by Notaviva Vineyards to get the details from owners Stephen and Shannon Mackey; of course, we also wanted to sample the current releases.

The pairing of Virginia wine with historic sites and sounds has been dubbed “Melodies of the Danube”, and AmaWaterways will host the event. Stephen Mackey will host a number of wine and music pairings that will feature Notaviva wines. Also, Mackey will attempt to host a wine tasting from the cruise ship that can also be experienced in the Notaviva tasting room at the same time. The goal is to promote wine drinking as a multi-sensory experience while elevating the awareness of Virginia wines. Stephen Mackey’s passion for wine and music are well known, so this should be quite an event for participants. Notaviva wines that will be featured on the trip will be named after the famed German trio Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. Imagine hearing strains of Beethoven on the Danube while sipping a wine named after the famed composer!
notaviva4
Sounds like fun? There will be a number of teaser events between now and then to entice wine sippers/music lovers/history buffs to sign up for the cruise. Check out the website for information on these upcoming events, but we can report that the first mixer to promote the cruise will be held on February 9. There is plenty of time for interested travelers to plan for the trip; at least 64 cabins will be available.
notaviva3
And what about the wines? Our favorite white wine was the yet-to-be released 2012 Sabado made with 100% Sauvignon Blanc. A classic Sauvignon Blanc, it exhibited notes of citrus and grass along with a refreshing acidity. With spring around the corner, the floral 2011 Verano which is a blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Traminette should be a pleaser. Pineapple and white pepper elements were noted along with a fuller mouth feel. Of the red wines, I was most pleased with the 2012 Vierzig Blaufrankisch. This is a blend of the German grape, Blaufrankisch, and Cabernet Franc (15%). I noted rich cherry and raspberry flavors along with a note of sweet tobacco. It was accessible and easy to sip; no coincidence that it was made to be listened to with the Mozart symphony by the same name, Vierzig.
notaviva2
Notaviva will maintain its focus on wine, music and fun. In the coming months, guitarist Paul Rogers from the band Bad Company will be at the winery to host food, wine and music classes. Before then, Valentine’s Day will feature comedy and wine.

Readers who are intrigued by this opportunity should either visit the Notaviva website for more information or stop by the winery for updates and a wine tasting. Be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Birthday Wines

Warren turned 50 on Sunday! Happy birthday, Warren! On Saturday evening we had some friends meet us at Al Dente restaurant for dinner to celebrate. One reason we enjoy Al Dente is because they have a pretty good Virginia wine list. For dinner we selected a bottle of the Petit Verdot NV from Jefferson Vineyards and a bottle of the 2007 Nebbiolo from Breaux Vineyards. Everyone enjoyed the wines and thought they paired well with their meals. After an informal survey of the wines, the 2007 Nebbiolo from Breaux Vineyards was the favorite wine.
BirthdayWine1
BirthdayWine2
After our delicious dinner we went back to Warren’s house for some cake and ice cream. We toasted the birthday boy with the Brut from Thibaut-Janisson. It seemed like the bubbles never quit! We love the Brut! Warren enjoyed his birthday very much as well as all the wines we celebrated with! Of course we’ll do this again in a few months when I turn 50!
BirthdayWine5
BirthdayWine4

Gray Ghost Events

We attend many of the Gray Ghost Vineyards events all throughout the year. In the last month or so we’ve attend three of those events. Here is a short recap of those events.

On November 3rd we attended the Wine Library Tasting. The Wine Library Tasting is a chance to taste past vintages of some of their best wines. Since we have many of these on our wine racks, it’s a good chance to see how they are developing in the bottle. This time we had a chance to taste the:

1999 Cabernet Sauvignon
2002 Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Cabernet Franc
2008 Merlot

Here are a couple of shots from the event.
GrayGhost01
GrayGhost02

On November 16th we attended the Gala Release Party for the 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a fun evening of great food, great friends and of course a great wine. Here are a few shots from the event.
GrayGhost03
GrayGhost06
GrayGhost04
GrayGhost07
GrayGhost05
GrayGhost08

On December 1st we attended the Wine Library Tasting with Warren’s parents. They were in town for Thanksgiving and were able to join us in tasting the:

1993 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Gray Ghost’s Inaugural Release)
1999 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
2002 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Here are a few shots from the event.
GrayGhost09
GrayGhost10
GrayGhost11

We always have a great time at the Gray Ghost events. If you haven’t attended one, think about it joining in the fun. And when you do, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!