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!
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.
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.
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.
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
Here are a couple of shots from the event.
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.
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.
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!
We spent this past weekend with fellow blogger Frank Morgan of Drink What You Like. He turned 40! Frank and his lovely wife Acada celebrated the milestone in the Charlottesville area with wine, food and friends.
We helped Frank ring in another new decade with a cellar tasting at Veritas Vineyards. Elliot, assistant to winemaker Emily Pelton, conducted our tasting and answered all of our questions. Sneak previews of newly harvested 2013 grapes now resting in their tanks begged us to ponder the possibilities of the 2013 vintage.
After our tasting at Veritas, we headed to Afton Mountain Vineyards. Owner Tony Smith conducted our tasting. Lingering fall colors were appreciated through the windows that lined the tasting room. We later decided to share a bottle of the 2012 Cabernet Franc with cheeses and a baguette.
The grand event was a birthday dinner at Tastings of Charlottesville. Keswick winemaker Stephan Benard and his wife Kat met us as did Bob Garsson, and his wife, of Project Sunlight. A gourmet feast awaited us along with a menu of excellent wines. I did not copy the labels and vintages, but I can attest that all of the wines poured that evening were excellent. They included a Cruet, a Mersault (my personal favorite), a Chenin Blanc from South Africa (selected with the help of South African native Stephan Benard), and a knock out Bordeaux. The evening’s highlight, though, was the intricate cake shaped like a wine bottle cradled in a straw-line box. Perfect for the occasion and also for the birthday boy who is indeed passionate about wine.
We wish Frank Morgan all the best; however time does fly, and before we know it, he will turn 50! Yikes! By then, we will be hitting 30 (times 2). Anyway, plan your own special celebrations with a trip to Virginia wine country. Visit these wineries and a special dinner at Tasting of Charlottesville. Please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
Our final celebration for Virginia Wine Month was a Halloween Party for many of our friends. Warren cooked lots of different food items and I made cupcakes for dessert. Of course the wines for the evening were strictly Virginia wines. We selected several whites and several reds. The list of the wines that were included were:
2012 Delaplane Cellars Petit Manseng
2011 Gray Ghost Reserve Chardonnay
2012 Chrysalis Viognier
2012 Tarara Charval
2011 Linden Seyval
2012 Pollak Rose
2011 Lost Creek Cabernet Franc
2009 Granite Heights End of the Road
2009 Afton Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve
2008 Chester Gap Petit Verdot
2009 Delaplane Tannat
The wines were very well received. We judged how well they were liked by how empty the bottle was at the end of the evening. The 2011 Gray Ghost Reserve Chardonnay and the 2011 Linden Seyval were empty at the end of the night. Of the reds the Granite Heights End of the Road and the Delaplane Tannat were both empty as well. We can assume then they were the most enjoyed wines or they appealed to the palates of our guests more than the other wines. Either way, all the wines were enjoyed and everyone had a wonderful time. We are already looking forward to the party next year and showcasing more Virginia wine. If you visit any of these wineries be sure to tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!