Virginia Wine Time

We Enjoy Virginia Wine

Category: Food (page 2 of 10)

New Wines at North Gate

After the Cabernet Vertical we attended at Breaux Vineyards on Saturday we decided to go to North Gate Vineyards to see what was on the tasting menu. We hadn’t visited since May 2012 for the Taste Camp event and it was time to see what new wines were ready for tasting.
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(Photo from March 2011)

It’s always nice to walk into the tasting room and see familiar faces. Mark and Vicki Fedor noticed us right away and welcomed us to the tasting bar. After catching up a bit we began our tasting. I kept my tasting notes on my iPad so I will post them here as they were recorded on the iPad. Between each taste we chatted with Mark about each wine, how it was made, and the impressions we experienced.

2011 Viognier-Mineral, tropical fruit, melon, delicate wine with no residual sugar. Made from the French clone known as Aban. Aged in neutral french oak barrels. I really enjoy the lightness of this wine. This was my favorite white!

2010 Roussanne-We noted a pear nose and pear on the tongue with some almond notes. It had a nice hay color. Roussanne is different from your regular white wines. It has evolved since our last tasting in May. Warren enjoyed this one.

2012 Chardonnay-We didn’t get to taste this one but it should be released by early May. Stay tuned!

2011 Rose of Cabernet Franc-We noted watermelon, strawberry, and dried herbs. It has a very low .25% residual sugar and was finished in stainless steel.
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2010 Cabernet Franc-We noticed bright fruit with a light pepper finish, It was blended with 10% merlot to balance it out and smooth out that pepper finish. This one won gold at the 2012 San Diego Wine Competition and the Indy International. Congrats!

2011 Merlot-We got a sneak peak tasting as it’s not yet released to the public but will be soon. It has already won Bronze in San Francisco Wine Competition-This one has a beautiful color, a hint of petit verdot, all french oak, cherry, tight tannins, hint of spice, 5% cabernet sauvignon. We have a feeling this one will be very popular.

2010 Meritage-We noticed mineral upfront and then a fruity mid palate, and a slightly tannic ending. Cherry, plum, pepper, tobacco were the descriptors that were mentioned while tasting this complex wine with lots of layers. The tannins made me think of enjoying this one with some food.

2010 Petit Verdot-This has a beautiful rich, dark color. We noted sweet tobacco, dark fruit notes, and refined tannis. It’s blended with 10% cabernet sauvignon. We were able to try the exclusive dark chocolate mad with the North Gate Petit Verdot. This became my favorite red. It reminded me of their legendary 2008 Petit Verdot. This one also won a gold medal a the Atlantic Seaboard wine competition!

2011 Apple Wine-This award winning Apple wine is made from four kinds of apples. The apple flavors run from the front of your tongue all the way to the back. It’s filtered and fermented like a white wine. We thought a good food pairing would be soft cheeses. Warren even thought it would go with lamb or pork chops. Mark informed us others have used it in Sangria.

After our tasting we continued to chat with Mark and Vicki and discovered they are still selling their wines at the Falls Church Farmers Market. They began there and continue to go because the community knows them and would miss not seeing them. The community aspect keeps them going back. We also found out they have a chocolates and wine tasting option. You can select three chocolates to pair with three wines during a tasting. We were able to taste a few of the chocolates and they were delicious! The chocolates are made by The Perfect Truffle in Frederick Maryland. During our conversation we found out North Gate has an artist in residence program. The artist is able to display their work in the tasting room, conduct classes if they wish, promote their works and sell their pieces of artwork. It’s a great addition to the tasting experience and helps show the connection between local art and local wine. If I was a better photographer, I would think of becoming one of their artists in residence!
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We had a great time catching up with Mark and Vicki. It was nice to have some time to chat with them about all things North Gate. After our time at the tasting bar I enjoyed a glass of the 2011 Viognier and Warren enjoyed a glass of the 2010 Roussanne. We enjoyed our wine with the view from the patio while a warm fire burned in the outside fireplace. Before leaving we purchased a few of our favorites and said our Thank Yous and goodbyes. The next time you are in Loudoun County plan a trip to North Gate Vineyards and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Inauguration Toast

In honor of the second inauguration of Barack Obama we are having the Thibaut-Janisson Winery Brut with cookies from Cookies & Corks. We are having the Zesty Lemon and the Peanut Butter Chocolate. We both agree the Zesty Lemon pairs very well with the Brut. The lemony flavors come out with each nibble and sip.
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Ginger Molasses Cookies

We are slowly working our way through the boxes of cookies we received a while ago. Recently we decided to try the Ginger Molasses Cookies from Cookies and Corks. We decided to pair them with the 2011 Green from Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery. The Green is a blend of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Petit Manseng. The wine wheel/cookie combination suggested a chardonnay. Even though the Green isn’t all Chardonnay, we thought we’d try it anyway.

Warren is the tasting expert. He suggested getting our palates wet with the wine and then tasting the cookie. The ginger of the cookie was pretty strong but notes of pineapple, pear, and mango were evident. The tropical notes from the petit manning as well as the ripe pear elements from the chardonnay play well with the ginger spice of the cookies. I thought the ginger was a bit overwhelming but Warren thought the flavors played well together.

We have plenty of cookies yet to taste so stay tuned for future posts. And we’ve been told the 2012 Green has been released so we will need to try this new vintage. If you visit Cardinal Point anytime soon be sure to check out the 2012 Green and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Cookies and Wine

Back in October when we attended the Virginia wine tastings at Whole Foods, we ran into Leah Kuo and Laura Englander from Cookies and Corks. They make cookies that pair with wines. What a great idea! That night they were offering tastings of their cookies with non-Virginia wines. We tried a few of the cookies with the wines and really enjoyed them. The cookies brought out different elements in the wine. During our conversations and tastings with them, we thought we could pair their cookies with Virginia wines. They sent us three boxes of cookies that pair with red, white, and sparkling wines. We decided to give it a try and pair some Virginia wines with the different cookies.

One of the great things about their cookies is they provide a pairing wheel. You simply look up the kind of wine you are having and select the cookies that go with that wine. We decided to do just that. We began our evening with the 2011 Reserve Chardonnay from Jefferson Vineyards. The cookie we selected to pair with the wine (according to the wheel) was the Apricot Sage cookie from the box of cookies to be paired with white wines. We began by tasting the cookie to get a baseline for the flavors. Obviously the apricot and sage flavors were evident. Then we washed the wine over our palates and other flavors began to appear. We noted lots pear notes with a twist of citrus which played off the sage really well. The apricot flavor wasn’t as present as we thought it might be with the wine but the reserve nature of the wine may have minimized the apricot flavor. However, the presence of the sage and citrus notes were a pleasant surprise. We thought the cookies paired very well with Reserve Chardonnay from Jefferson Vineyards. Make note of this if you plan to check out the cookies and need a wine to pair with them.

After our dinner we decided to select another cookie to pair with our dinner wine, the 2009 Merlot from Pollak Vineyards. Referring to the wheel again, we selected the Expresso Chocolate Peanut Butter cookie. This time we went with the wine first to get the wine notes on our palates before introducing the cookie flavors. We noted the wine brought the nuttiness forward and then red berry notes came through. The peanut butter flavor soon disappeared and the tasting experience ended with the coffee and chocolate notes. The chocolaty berry flavors together made for a nice dessert type experience. Once again we decided this was a good pairing. Warren enjoyed the pairing so much he finished off the cookies as he finished off the wine!

Since we’ve only tried two of the many flavors of cookies to pair with wines, there will be posts in the future as we pair more Virginia wines with more of the cookies from the different boxes. If you are looking for a unique pairing of sweets and Virginia wines be sure to pick up a few boxes of these cookies and several bottles of Virginia wine. You can purchase them in many locations in Virginia or from their website. And when you do, tell them you read about them on Virginia Wine Time!

Pour Virginia Wines for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving season is upon us, and there is no greater need for versatile wines than Thanksgiving dinner. Deciding what to pour can be as challenging as deciding what to serve especially if dinner guests have different food and wine palates. Turkey seems to be the meat of choice, but it’s the sides that vary and hence the wine offerings. Some like mashed potatoes but others prefer oyster dressing; some like sweeter white wines while others crave a red wine with the meal. We can’t help you cook dinner, but we can make a couple of suggestions for wine pairings that might make these weighty decisions seem a little lighter!

We were out in wine country in northern Virginia this past weekend, and we sampled some wines that should provide readers with some choices for the upcoming holiday.

Chester Gap Cellars: Winemaker Bernd Jung has to be one of the few (if not only) Virginia winemakers to grow the Roussanne grape, a white varietal grown in Rhone region of France. The 2010 Roussanne might be an option if the meal will begin with either seafood bisque or feature a creamy sauce with the main meal. Aged for fifteen months in French oak barrels, the 2010 Roussanne exhibits tropical fruit characteristics. It is a bit higher in alcohol, so pair with something that can stand up to it. My own preference is the earthy 2009 Petit Verdot aged for two years in French oak barrels. Aromas of ripe dark plums and flavors of dark fruit and berries should complement dishes that are heavy on herbs and spices; non-traditionalists who opt to serve duck or game meats instead of turkey should consider this one.



Glen Manor Vineyards: Governor’s Cup winner Jeff White is now featuring 2011 wines on his tasting room menu. The four wines that we sampled would all have a place on the Thanksgiving Day table; of course, all of the wines were well-crafted. Serving shellfish before the main course? Can’t go wrong with the classic 2011 Sauvignon Blanc with its elements of grass, citrus and mineral that are characteristic of the varietal. White wine lovers who don’t drink reds? Red wine lovers who don’t drink whites? Offer the 2011 Rose with its aromas of red berries and fresh mint. This one can be served with just about anything on the menu. A nice acidity makes this rose refreshing (and it’s not sweet!) The 2011 harvest was considered quite challenging, but Jeff White has managed to produce excellent red wines from this tricky vintage. There was nothing wimpy about the weighty 2011 Cabernet Franc and its notes of dark cherry, cranberry and menthol. This would be my go-to wine for the main meal on Turkey Day especially if sides included cornbread dressing and fresh cranberry sauce. Going for beef stew instead of poultry? Try the 2011 Vin Rouge, a blend that is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon (50%) and complemented by Petit Verdot (36%), and Merlot (14%). Smoky notes give way to aromas of plum, licorice and spice.



Still confused as to which wines to pour? I always recommend opening more than one bottle of wine for Thanksgiving dinner and then let guests decide which glass to sip with the meal. This option encourages guests to sample a few wines instead of only one. Who knows what will happen—that white wine lover may fall in love with a Virginia red wine!

We will post one more article about wine Thanksgiving wine options featuring two more Virginia wineries. Check in later for that one! In the meantime, be sure to try these wines at Chester Gap Cellars and Glen Manor Vineyards, and mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Blue Mountain Mist

On Sunday we were invited to join our friend Duwayne enjoy a bottle of the recently released 2011 Blue Mountain Mist from Fox Meadow Winery. Duwayne is an amateur Virginia wine collector. When he finds something new, he likes to enjoy it with others. We haven’t had the Blue Mountain Mist so we were interested in finding out more about it. Duwayne set out lots of cheeses, crackers, and finger sandwiches to enjoy with the wine. Thank you for inviting us, Duwayne!

After tasting the wine we shared our notes. We found pear and melon notes on the nose. The bottle doesn’t list what grapes are used but we think it might be a blend of chardonnay and vidal. In the mouth we noted pear, melon, and crisp apple on the end. It’s slightly sweet and would be perfect for a warm summer day. The wine paired very well with goat cheese stuffed peppers. We also think it would pair nicely with any spicy food.

Yet another summer sipper to enjoy! If you visit Fox Meadow Winery soon to pick up some Blue Mountain Mist, be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you!

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