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!
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.
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!
As I have mentioned before, I have lots of Virginia red wines on my wine rack. Lately I’ve been randomly selecting red wines to taste and enjoy. One evening last week I was finishing up some brownies that Warren made and thought a red wine would really compliment the brownies. I perused my wine rack and decided on the 2007 Lot 751 Virginia Red Table Wine from Breaux Vineyards Cellar Selection. This wine is only available to Cellar Club members.
Lot 751 is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, petit verdot, and cabernet franc grapes from the 2007 vintage. The dark color and dark cherry nose made me think that maybe this wine was meant for bigger foods. But once I swirled it in my glass and gave it a taste, I knew it would be perfect for the brownies. I noted cherry, extracted fruit, firm tannins, and a relatively smooth ending. With a bite of the brownie, the cherry notes really came through. Since this wine is from 2007 and has some firm tannins, it could benefit from more time on the rack. Or enjoy it now!
I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again. There are benefits to being a Cellar Club member at Breaux Vineyards. I enjoy having access to wines the general public won’t get to purchase. I need to get to Breaux soon to pick up my most recent Cellar Club Selections. And if you visit Breaux Vineyards anytime soon, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!