6 Tasters, 5 Cabernet Francs, 1 Winner

Paul and I hosted a blind tasting of five Cabernet Francs from Virginia (of course). Our amateur team was provided with a simple scoring sheet and after a brief discussion about the Cabernet Franc grape and its characteristics, the tasting began. The wines were wrapped in paper bags so that our tasters did not know which wines they were tasting, and these included the 2012 Barboursville Reserve, the 2013 Marquis de Lafayette by Breaux Vineyards, Gadino Cellars’ 2012 Cabernet Franc, a 2013 offering by King family, and 2013 Cabernet Franc by Zephaniah. Light fare was served as the tasting and scoring was conducted, and these allowed our team to see how the wines paired with cheeses, dried meats, and prosciutto-wrapped dates.

So which Cabernet Franc won the contest? Here is how they ranked:

Gadino Cellars 2012
Barboursville Vineyards 2012 Reserve
Breaux Vineyards 2013 Marquis de Lafayette
King Family Vineyards 2013
Zephaniah Vineyards 2013

Our team of sippers appreciated the brambleberry and tobacco notes of the Gadino Cabernet Franc; it also offered a generous length. I found it to be very lively with vibrant fruit elements. The Barboursville Reserve was a close second but was a bit tight at the beginning compared to the winner; lots of swirling coaxed out the cedar and pepper notes and eventually dark berry aromas and flavors.

Once the official tasting was done, we feasted on braised lamb shoulder chops flavored with fresh mint and green olives, couscous, and roasted green beans topped with roasted almond slivers. These paired quite well with the wines that were poured for the tasting.

It was fun to showcase one of Virginia’s premier grapes at this taste off. We did not take ourselves too seriously, and we enjoyed the conversation that the wines engendered.

Seek out these or other Cabernet Francs and hold your own wine tasting with family, friends, and food. Of course, always mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you! Watch the video of our tasting below and subscribe to our NEW YouTube Channel!

We’re Baaaack!

We resumed our treks on the wine trails in style with a weekend stay at The Inn at Meander Plantation. We always reserve the well-appointed Madison Cottage with its European-style shower, and I look forward to sporting the plush robes that await guests in the cottage’s closet. Owners Suzie Blanchard and Suzanne Thomas also have a commitment to serving only Virginia wines in their dining room, and we made certain to reserve a table for a night of elegant fare and excellent Virginia wines. The Inn also offers gorgeous views of mountains framed by glorious sunrises and vivid sunsets. Early morning fog called to mind a scene from a Gothic novel. Paul created a video that captures these experiences:

What were our menu selections for dinner?

Menu

What did we order? I enjoyed the salad of romaine lettuce; the shaved fennel and citrus vinaigrette was the perfect match for the vino verdhe-style Green 2013 from Cardinal Point Vineyards. I love summer squash so the zucchini with basil soup was a no-brainer for me; its creamy texture matched that of the Chardonnay Reserve 2013 from Barboursville. Paul delighted in the tempura fried shrimp and noted that the batter-coated crustaceans were quite marvelous with the same Chardonnay.

shrimp

We both ordered the same entree- – -the black angus filet mignon. The wine pairing was quite a mysterious yet wonderful surprise—-a Cabernet Sauvignon from Crow Mountain Vineyards. The vintage? 2011. I admit to not knowing anything about Crow Mountain Vineyards, but I do know quite a bit about the 2011 vintage. Hurricane Irene dumped tons of rain in the state that year, and red wine grapes took quite a hit throughout most Virginia vineyards. However, this 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon exhibited a depth in its color as well as its aroma and flavor profiles that we have not experienced from other 2011 red wines from Virginia. We would love to know more about this vineyard, so if any reader out there can enlighten us, we are eager to learn all about it! The dinner ended with the La Bete Noir, a flourless cake with fresh raspberry, and its pairing with the Gray Ghost Vineyards Adieu was classic.

We never look forward to ending our stay at the Inn at Meander Plantation; however, having to say good-bye always prompts us to look ahead to future visits. Looking for an elegant weekend in Virginia wine country? Plan to stay at The Inn at Meander Plantation; however, please mention to Suzie and Suzanne that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

The Ahhhhhh Experience

This is the only way to describe our Saturday afternoon at Glen Manor Vineyards. We both had a hectic week and looked forward to a relaxing getaway even if only for the afternoon. We decided to head out to Glen Manor Vineyards with a picnic in tow; we did not regret the decision.

glenmanor3

Our picnic required the perfect wine; of course, we had to taste them all to find out which one would partner with lunch. Our decision came down to two of them: the crisp 2013 Sauvignon Blanc and the dry 2013 Morales Rose. The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc continues the tradition of excellent results with the Sauvignon Blanc grape at Glen Manor Vineyards. It presented grassy notes with flavors of citrus and a crisp finish. Perfect for the afternoon that we had planned, and even better with shellfish. The 2013 Morales Rose is a blend of red grapes that include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. This rose is done in the Provence style—dry with lots of strawberry and melon flavors with a crisp finish. It screams summer yet is versatile enough to consider with a fall or holiday menu.

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So what was our decision? It was a close call, but we nabbed a bottle of the 2013 Morales Rose to enjoy with a variety of deli meats, cheeses, and crackers. We found a perfect shady spot beneath a canvass canopy, and the Adirondack chairs allowed us the comfort to sip and nibble as we enjoyed the gorgeous view that encompassed mountain slopes, vineyards, and grassy knolls from which birds and butterlies fluttered about. We decided to linger for as long as possible; if we had brought pillows and blankets, we might have taken naps! It was truly an Ahhhhh experience of excellent wine, delicious snacks, and relaxing landscapes.

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Consider your own Ahhhh moment at Glen Manor Vineyards. Remember to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.