We rarely attend wine festivals, but the Virginia Wine Festival at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia is one that we do try to visit. Gorgeous weather and numerous wine, food and art vendors made this year’s festival especially appealing.
Wine festivals in Virginia have a reputation for attracting party crowds who prefer to get a buzz rather than appreciate wine. However, the Virginia Wine Festival seems to generate a different vibe. A number of seminars held at various times of the weekend that include food and wine pairing sessions, wine tasting 101, and a wine judging crash course. One session delved into wine glasses and the differences between the various types of glasses—perfect for wine geeks!
Of course, wine tasting is the ultimate reason to attend the Virginia Wine Festival. Over 40 Virginia wineries, cideries, and meaderies poured their wares at the festival. We did not get to sample all of the wines; after all, we did have to drive home. However, we did try to focus on wineries that we tend not to visit due to distance in addition to some well known favorites. Anyway, some standouts from our tastings included:
Barboursville Vermentino Reserve, Nebbiolo Reserve 2010, and the Octagon 2009
Ingleside 2009 Petit Verdot
Potomac Point Chardonnay 2012, Abbinato 2011 and Norton 2011
Rosemont Pinot Grigio and 2010 Merlot
Trump Sparkling Blanc de Blanc 2008
Food vendors offered a variety of offerings including barbeque, Thai, crab cakes, and Mediterranean. I never turn away from a crab cake, so I enjoyed a crab cake from Sherri and enjoyed it with a glass of the crisp Pinot Grigio from Rosemont Vineyards. Paul sunk his teeth into a burger with another sample of the 2009 Petit Verdot from Ingleside.
Live music filled the air, but we did keep track of the bands that performed during the course of our time at the festival. However, Paul did snap some photos of the live action, and I saw him snap his fingers to the beat of some cool jazz tunes.
We enjoyed our time at the Virginia Wine Festival and intend to visit next year; I did not get attend the session on wine glasses, but will do so in 2014! Make your plans to visit the 39th Annual Virginia Wine Festival in 2014; in the meantime, try to visit some of the wineries that we featured in this post. Mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
On Saturday we went to Gray Ghost to help harvest the chardonnay. As in past years, we do this every year and always have a great time. Here are some photos from our time harvesting.
We gathered early Saturday morning to harvest the chardonnay.
Al used his “Powerpoint” presentation to demonstrate how to harvest.
Amy put on a show to display this years harvest T-shirt.
Before heading to the vineyard Warren got a chance to talk with Al about the harvest.
We then headed to the vineyard and got a closer lesson on harvesting.
Here’s Warren harvesting some grapes.
After all the lugs were full, Al Jr and helpers collected all the lugs and brought them to the crush pad.
Here are some of the grapes we were harvesting.
After all the grapes were brought in, we toasted to this year’s harvest.
The Inn at Vineyard Crossing, a bed and breakfast co-owned by Philip Carter Strother and Stephen Mills made its formal debut in Fauquier County with a ribbon cutting ceremony this past Saturday. Although Fauquier County boasts over 20 wineries, accommodations in the area were lacking; the Inn now fills that void.
Attendees gathered first at Philip Carter Winery and were shuttled over to the Inn for a tour. Of course, Philip Carter house wines were poured for guests who were allowed to freely walk about the Inn. The Inn itself is a renovated historic home that was built in 1787, and it includes five suites the largest of which is the Commonwealth suite. Luxurious best describes this suite; however, all of the suites were well appointed. For Virginia wine lover, the Virginia Viognier suite included a comfy king sized bed and as many pillows as one could ever need to take a snooze. All of the rooms include a private bath.
The kitchen caught my attention. It was roomy with all of the amenities needed for a truly gourmet experience. A chef-grade stove implied that delicious meals await Inn guests. These meals would be enjoyed in the elegant dining room with its master dining table; a contemporary yet style-appropriate chandelier lights the way for diners to enjoy a meal that we are certain will be paired with Philip Carter wines. We did not investigate the English garden and pool, but these were located directly behind the Inn.
After tours and wine, Philip Carter Strother gathered the guests to begin the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Inn’s entrance. On hand was Virginia delegate Webert who has made a commitment to promoting Fauquier County businesses including wineries and inns. The ribbon cutting signified a new dimension to Philip Carter Strothers’ devotion to the Virginia wine industry and what it can offer to customers who are now more likely to frequent local wine destinations especially if deluxe accommodations can be part of the plan.
So did we do a tasting at Philip Carter Winery? Of course we did. Favorites included the well-balanced 2012 Chardonnay that was not yet released; however, Dan Metzger, the operations manager, gave us a sneak preview. Its pear and apple characteristics gave way to a hint of toast and a lengthier finish. We also enjoyed the floral 2012 Sabine Hall Viognier with its peach notes and nice mouth feel. Fall is around the corner and time to consider bolder reds to pair with heartier fare. Consider the 2011 Corotoman, a Bordeaux-style blend. I first observed leather and tobacco notes and then plum and cherry elements; oak nuances were also noted.
If a trip to Fauquier County wineries is on your itinerary, consider a stay at The Inn at Vineyard Crossing. Needless to say, a tasting at Philip Carter Winery should be on the agenda. Be certain to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
The Virginia Wine Festival returns to Great Meadow Event Center in The Plains Virginia this coming weekend!
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!
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!
Since July of this year, Gray Ghost Vineyards has hosted library tastings of red wines that they have literally kept in a wine library, and the oldest vintage dates back to 1993, the year that the winery opened. These events are held on the first Sunday of each month and will continue until December. This weekend, September 1st, they will be opening 3 vintages of Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: 1998, 2005 and 2008! $25 includes tasting of all current releases as well. You need to call to make reservations: 540-937-4869
We attended the August library tasting, and the featured wines included the 2002 Cabernet Franc, 2008 Cabernet Franc, 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s generally agreed that Cabernet Sauvignon ages well; however, we were impressed with the staying power of the Cabernet Francs. An additional incentive to attend the library tasting is the ability to also purchase favorite features from the library. Paul opted to grace his own wine library with a bottle of the 2002 Cabernet Franc, and I gave a bottle of the 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon a new home. It was fun to chat with other wine lovers who appreciated these wonderful wines, and the wine library provides an elegant setting in which to enjoy them.
We recommend going to the library—the wine library at Gray Ghost that is. No library card needed. Please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
Virginia Wine Time is going on vacation! We will be traveling outside of Virginia for the next few weeks so there won’t be any updates to the website. Check back in late July for our latest winery visits. Until then, have a great few weeks!
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!