2008 Chester Gap Merlot

We of course enjoyed some Virginia wine this weekend. We enjoyed the 2010 Galena Creek White from West Wind Farm as our sipper for the evening. You can see a video about the wine if you scroll down. For dinner Warren made roasted veal chops and wild rice. He also picked out three wines from which to pick our dinner wine. I opted for the 2008 Chester Gap Merlot. I know I’ve mentioned in the past but I’ll say it again. I’m really enjoying the 2008 reds. I wanted to find out if the 2008 Chester Gap Merlot would live up to what I’ve come to enjoy about the 2008 reds.

The wine paired beautifully with our roasted veal chops and wild rice. We noted a biig cherry nose with a hint of blackberry and lots of earthy elements…like a forest floor. We noticed similar fruit characteristics in the mouth with spicy nuances and a lingering dark fruit finish. As I suspected, this 2008 Merlot lived up to my expectations of a 2008 red. The longer it was opened and breathing, the better it got with each sip. If you haven’t tried the 2008 Merlot from Chester Gap, give it a try. And if you visit Chester Gap anytime soon, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Hurricane Wines

We survived hurricane Irene last night. We had lots of wind and rain but very little damage and the power never went out! While weathering the storm we decided to enjoy some Pollak Vineyards wines with our nibbles and dinner. We haven’t been to Pollak Vineyards in awhile so we need to see what new wines are on the tasting menu.

To begin our evening we started with the 2009 Durant White from Pollak Vineyards. We selected cheese and crackers to accompany this wine. We noted apple, pear, and citrus on both the nose and in the mouth. It paired well with our cheese and crackers. We wondered if the 2010 is as crisp as this one. This was my last bottle so we’ll have to get some more soon.

For dinner we made a chicken and pasta dish. Since we just had a white wine with our nibbles, we decided we needed something a little bigger but not too big. We selected the 2008 Merlot from Pollak Vineyards. This is a medium bodied wine with lots of fruit characteristics. Since I’m currently enjoying the 2008 reds, this one was just as I expected. We noted lots of dark fruit…plum, dark cherry, blackberry…with a really smooth finish. It was the finish that made it possible to continue to sip this one well after we finished our meal. Yet another reason to get to Pollak Vineyards soon and check out the latest vintages. If you visit Pollak Vineyards anytime soon, tell them VIrginia Wine Time sent you!

Hurricane Preparedness

We have been preparing for hurricane Irene. Warren bought caned foods, water, and batteries. He’s a veteran hurricane survivor and knows just what to do to prepare for such a storm. As part of our hurricane preparedness, we enjoyed some Virginia wines last night around dinner time.

Our hurricane preparedness sipper was the 2009 Hunt Country Chardonnay from Piedmont Vineyards. We enjoyed this wine with some swiss cheese and crackers while sitting on the balcony trying to enjoy the humid weather. We noticed a whiff of pineapple and pear on the nose and a touch of citrus and a crispness in the mouth. Of course it paired beautifully with our cheese and crackers. It also helped manage the humid temperatures on the balcony.

For dinner we opted to move indoors and enjoy the air conditioning. We were having steaks and roasted potatoes for dinner and we selected the 2007 Petit Verdot Cellar Selection from Breaux Vineyards. This was a perfect wine to prepare for the oncoming hurricane. We noticed characteristics of concentrated dark fruit, lots of dark plum, dark cherry, leather, tobacco, and carmel. Warren even noticed some pepper. We did pour it through the Soiree to help give it some air as we filled our glasses. When we poured the last drops into our glasses, we were wishing we had another bottle! The wine paired wonderfully with our dinner choices.

Are you prepared for the hurricane? Make enjoying some Virginia wine part of your preparing for the storm. If you happen to visit Piedmont Vineyards or Breaux Vineyards in the near future, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Dinner at The Inn at Meander Plantation

After the wine bloggers conference we decided to spend a few days at The Inn at Meander Plantation. You might remember we spent several days at the inn last year. The inn is not too far from Charlottesville, located in Madison County. This time we thought we’d relax after the conference and maybe go to a few local wineries during our stay. Owners Suzanne Thomas and Suzie Blanchard always remember us and make sure our stay is relaxing and enjoyable. It was great to see them and catch up with them. They invited us to join them for dinner on Monday evening.

The meals at Meander plantation are always elaborate and delicious. Even breakfast has three courses! The dinners are always special because each course is paired with a specific Virginia wine. Check out the menu for Monday night’s dinner:

Each course was a work of art. I took photos of each course. You can see what Warren selected for each course.

First Course

Second Course

Intermezzo-Blood Orange Sorbet (I ate it before taking a picture)



The dinner was delicious! Thank you Suzanne and Suzie! We always enjoy our time at The Inn at Meander Plantation. It’s a very quiet, relaxing place to stay. We are already thinking of booking a weekend in the fall to enjoy the fall colors. If you plan a trip to The Inn at Meander Plantation, be sure to tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Evening Sippers

The evening before we left for the Wine Bloggers Conference we took advantage of Wine Wednesday. Our sipper for the evening was the 2009 Pinot Grigio from Gadino Cellars and our dinner wine was the 2009 Rose from Linden Vineyards. They were both lovely and went with our nibbles and meal very well.

We had the 2009 Gadino Cellars Pinot Grigio with cheese and crackers. First off we noticed the light straw color and the aromatic nose of twists of lemon, subtle peach, and minerality. On the tongue we noticed the refreshing minerality and nice acidity. We noted lemon and the crisp feel and finish. It accompanied our cheese and crackers rather well on a very warm afternoon.

Our dinner wine was the 2009 Rose from Linden Vineyards. As we’ve noted before, you can’t go wrong with anything from Linden. This rose had a pale pink color and a strawberry, grapefruit, and melon nose. On the tongue we noted strawberry, melon, citrus zest, and refreshing acidity. We wanted a lighter wine for our chicken and pasta and this one filled the bill perfectly. Of course this means I have one less bottle of Linden Rose on my rack!

If you visit Gadino Cellars or Linden Vineyards anytime soon, mention you read about their wines on Virginia Wine Time!

2007 Cellar Selection Meritage

On a recent Saturday evening we found ourselves having one of our typical meals of filet and wild rice. What wine would select to pair with this meal was the question. Being a club member at Breaux Vineyards gives us access to some wines that we might not other wise get to experience. We perused the wine rack and decided on the 2007 Meritage from Breaux Vineyards. It’s one of the Cellar Selection wines. We thought it might be too soon to enjoy this one but no, it wasn’t.

Some 2007s are still a bit young. Just to be safe we poured this one through our Soiree to give it some air since we hadn’t opened it too much before dinner. Right away we noticed the dark, rich garnet color. That was a good sign. On the nose we picked up concentrated dark berries and anise. On the tongue we noted concentrated mix of dark cherry, blackberry, and raspberry. We also noted a hint of black pepper and firm tannins. While it’s true that this one probably could have benefitted from some more time on the rack, it was too good to let that happen. It paired beautifully with our filets and wild rice.

If you visit Breaux Vineyards anytime soon, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you and think about joining the wine club to have access to wines like this one.

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Dinner at Black Salt

Last week we went to Black Salt. Black Salt is a fish market and restaurant in NW DC. Michelle Obama and three friends dined at Black Salt back in April and enjoyed halibut, clams, and coconut cream pie. We decided to eat at Black Salt because they serve Virginia wines.

From the menu Warren selected seared scallops with mushrooms and gnocchi. Our wonderful waitress Beth helped me select pan seared fluke flounder with roasted potatoes. With our meal selections, we went with the 2008 Blenheim Farm Chardonnay from Blenheim Vineyards. We noted apple and pear on the nose and in the mouth we noted a creamy mouth feel. It was the perfect selection for our meal. We are looking forward to tasting Blenheim’s Viognier during Viognier Night: A Virtual Tasting of Virginia Viogniers on Thursday night.

Friday Evening Selections

We began the evening with the 2008 Chardonnay from Gray Ghost. We paired it with a creamy St. Andre’s cheese and baguette. On the nose we picked up pear and apple and subtle toasty notes. In the mouth we noted similar fruit characteristics. The six months in oak provides a nice round mouth feel. It certainly complimented our choice of nibbles.

For dinner we had sirloin steaks, veggies, and wild rice. We selected the 2008 Cinq from Delaplane Cellars. Upon opening this one I wondered if it would live up to the fruit of the 2008 reds that I’d been noticing lately. On the nose we noted raspberry, cherry, anise, carmel toffee, and crushed herbs. On the tongue we noticed raspberry, cherry, and I noticed an oak presence at the end that manifested itself as tasted carmel. I also noticed the color had a purple edge even though it only had 1% petit verdot. I think this one did live up to the fruit of the 2008 reds that I’ve been enjoying lately. The Cinq is a very nice red wine that paired well with our meal.

Enjoy these wines and more from Gray Ghost Vineyards and Delaplane Cellars. And if you visit them anytime soon, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Barrel Oak Surprise

In certain circles Barrel Oak is known as the place to go for the experience. And that’s true. You can have a great time there with all the music, the dog policy, and the people. But what may not be known is that they also make some great wines. I think most people know that we prefer to concentrate on the wines and not necessarily the experience. Well, we actually had a nice experience with Barrel Oak wines last night.

For our sipping wine we selected the 2009 Viognier Reserve from Barrel Oak. We enjoyed it with a creamy cheese and crackers while watching the sunset on the balcony. Right away we noticed honeysuckle on the nose. In the mouth we noted tropical fruit, a subtle minerality on the finish; it suggests a full mouth feel. It paired very well with our creamy cheese.

The big surprise for me came with our dinner selection. We selected the 2008 Petit Verdot from Barrel Oak. We’ve tasted their reds many times before and while they are very solid, we don’t always opt for them with a meal. However, this time the selection was correct. I have been enjoying petit verdots lately (notice Friday evenings selection) and have really been enjoying petit verdots from 2008. I mentioned this before but 2008 reds appeal to me for the fruit notes and smoother tannins. I wondered if this petit verdot would live up to what I had in mind for a 2008 petit verdot. We paired it with pasta and red sauce with meat. As I expected this one had a nice fruity nose like many 2008s. We noticed the beautiful amethyst color. On the nose we also picked up violet notes. On the tongue we noted similar full fruit notes, dark cherry, plum, and cocoa, with a spicy edge. It paired well with our pasta dish. I was surprised and pleased to find the 2008 Petit Verdot fulfilled my expectations. Barrel Oak does indeed make some nice wines!

Even though Barrel Oak has the “experience” reputation, they also make some nice wines. Brain Roeder tells me the 2009 Petit Verdot is even better. I’ll definitely be checking it out at some point. If you are one who has fallen for the “Barrel Oak is known for the experience and not the wines” line then its time to do another tasting. You might be as surprised as I was. We plan to return to Barrel Oak soon for both the experience AND the wines. Plan to visit Barrel Oak soon and be in for a surprise and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Friday Sips

Our Friday sips begin with the 2009 Chardonnay from Pollak Vineyards. We noted pear and apple on the nose. In the mouth we got similar fruit with a oak presence with a hint of vanilla. We had this with a creamy St. Andres cheese and baguette.

For dinner we had the 2008 Petit Verdot from Doukenie Winery. We had this with thick steaks, roasted potatoes, and roasted squash. On the nose we picked up violets and dark fruit. On the tongue we noted plum, cherry, violet, and herbs. After some initial green pepper upon the first pour, it gave way to some beautiful fruit that I am enjoying from the 2008 Virginia reds. We do think this one benefits from some air before serving.

I have been enjoying petit verdots lately and I was a bit surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. At first I didn’t think this one would stand up to a big steak but it held up quite well. However, this brings up a question for me. Am I enjoying petit verdots or am I enjoying 2008 reds. I find the reds from 2008 to be more accessible with nice fruit and less tannins and oak. However, the 2007 reds seem to be much bigger and in need of more time on the rack. Most of the petit verdots I’ve tried and liked of late are from 2008. Clearly I’m in need of more research.