During a recent trip to California’s wine country, Wendy Rieger checked out a few vineyards to find out how they’re going green. If you missed her story on News4 at 5 yesterday, catch it anytime on NBCWashington.com.
Please read wine critic Dave McIntyre’s article in yesterday’s Washington Post. His article, “In Grape Shape”, features Loudon County wineries and includes his reviews of several wineries. Joining him in the experience is Todd Thrasher, sommelier and general manager of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria. Their conclusions? We’ll let you read all about it! (Hint: Virginia wine lovers will not be disappointed!)
October is a great time to visit Virginia wineries. The leaves are changing colors, the wineries are harvesting grapes, there are many festivals and activities happening in Virginia the whole month of October.
Check out Virginia.org for more information on the special happenings going on in Virginia during the whole month of October!
2009 VINTAGE OF NORTH END WINE CLUB TO BE “UNCORKED” AT SURF CLUB OCEAN GRILLE WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
Sample and Enjoy 20 different Wines for Only $10 Per Person
The North End Wine Club at the Surf Club Ocean Grille is resuming. Twenty wines– reds and whites – will be available for sample from Surf Club’s exquisite collection. (Customers have the opportunity to
purchase bottles of wine — with special pricing — to take home for later enjoyment.)
Wednesday, September 23, 2009, begins: 7 PM
$10 per person (plus tax & gratuity)
Open to the Public ~ NEWC membership not required
Surf Club Ocean Grille
Adjacent to the Wyndham Virginia Beach Oceanfront
5700 Atlantic Avenue
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Please call 757-425-5699 to R.S.V.P. or for more details.
*The North End Wine Club is limited to 100 people so call today to reserve your spot.
The Plains, VA Bring out the big hats and sundresses ….The Wine Festival at The Plains and the 24th annual Commonwealth Cup of Polo happens September 12 and 13 at everyone’s favorite location – Great Meadow Equestrian Center just west of the Washington DC metropolitan area in The Plains.
What a difference an exit makes – just one exit past the sprawling city at exit 31 off of I-66, is where Virginia becomes gorgeous rolling farmland. This year, the Great Meadow Equestrian Center, located here, will be the site of two favorite events combined on one ticket.
The Wine Festival at The Plains and The 24th annual Commonwealth Cup of Polo come together at Great Meadow for a weekend of great wine, great food, great art and great international polo – USA versus Great Britain.
The Wine Festival at The Plains brings Virginia’s Tasting Rooms together in one location for a grand celebration of the vintage harvest. Guests of this event will discover a selection of locally-grown artisan wines being produced in the boutique wineries of Virginia, including many that are rarely brought out of the tasting room.
The Commonwealth Cup is the oldest and one of the most highly attended polo matches of its kind in the country. In this rousing and spirited annual challenge, the best players in the US square off against an elite team of Brits from the British Forces Foundation for a key benefit match.
The combined event features gourmet cuisine prepared by the region’s best chefs, a select group of fine art and fancy food vendors, and polo’s traditional half time divot stomp with a Virginia Wine twist. Sunday will also include a bagpipe concert and horse-drawn carriage parade. A Viking Appliance culinary stage will feature wine pairing and tasting demonstrations, including wine tasting 101 classes, the author of the popular book, Gourmet Getaways, the Executive Chef of the famed Boars Head Inn in Charlottesville, and winemaker pairings throughout the weekend.
This delightful Autumn afternoon of good fun support a very good cause. The event is a fund raiser for the Wounded Warrior Project, a 501c3 organization that implements initiatives that honor and empower our national heroes.
The Commonwealth Polo & Wine Event at The Plains is sponsored by Farm Wineries Council, Inc., Great Meadow Polo Club, The Washington Post, Moore Cadillac and Viking Appliance.
For information about the event and to purchase discount tickets online, please visit the event website at www.winefestivalattheplains.com.
Thanks to Donna and Carl from the Farm Wineries Council for all the information in this post.
Dave McIntyre presents the results of a blind tasting that featured pours from France, California, Virginia, and Maryland. The outcome even surprised the critics! Read the article to find out the results.
Gray Ghost’s Adieu won gold at the 16th Annual Amenti del Vino International Wine Competition held in Cromwell, Connecticut the end of May! Gray Ghost’s Adieu was the only Virginia wine awarded Gold!
Gray Ghost’s 2006 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon won gold at the Virginia State Fair Wine Competition held Monday, June 8 in Richmond! Produced from 100% Estate Grown grapes and aged three in years in French oak, Gray Ghost only produces a Reserve Cabernet in exceptional years. This is only the ninth Reserve Cabernet to be produced in fifteen vintage years.
15th Anniversary Celebration at Gray Ghost Vineyards
Saturday & Sunday, July 11 & 12, 2009
11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Enjoy wine tastings, winery tours, vineyard tours and live music by the Seth Kibel Jazz Trio! Experience a Civil War campsite and the firing of an operational Civil War cannon! 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. $10 per person includes tasting, Gray Ghost logo glass and all festivities. Barbecue lunch is $10 with 100% of lunch money benefiting the Culpeper Food Closet. Please call for lunch reservations or bring a picnic. Gray Ghost is located at 14706 Lee Highway in Amissville and can be contacted at 540-937-4869.
Information from Amy Payette, Director of Marketing at Gray Ghost and photos courtesy of T. J. Cabrera.
So after our tasting and lunch at Corcoran Vineyards, we headed off to nearby Village Winery. We’ve been following the progress of Village Winery and its winemaker, Kent Marrs since the winery opened. Kent is always a gracious host and spent lots of time educating us about elderberry products that now include an elderberry wine, syrup, and sparkling beverage. (You can read all about it in our article which was published last fall in Edible Chesapeake.) On this day, we were interested in latest releases; of course, Kent was more than happy to oblige us!
With summer now upon us, Kent has released his Viognier. We actually had a sneak sample of this one out of the barrel last summer, and we noted its potential then. This is a barrel-fermented Viognier that exhibits stone fruit qualities with a floral aroma. I found it nice to quaff on its own but can be enjoyed with a poultry or shellfish dish. Paul likes crispy-fried tilapia, and I think this one might be a nice partner with such a dish. Another summer favorite will be the current Cabernet Franc Rose with its bright berry aromas and flavors; I noted a spicy edge to this one, too. Another nice sipper yet can be served with spicy barbeque dishes.
Of the reds, Paul and I had split decisions. Paul favored the Merlot (of course) with its rich dark cherry and blackberry aromas and flavors; however, I preferred the raspberry-inflected Cabernet Franc that ended with a peppery flourish. I found this one to be a bit heavier than the Merlot and can be enjoyed now or later—might be a keeper for a heavier meat dish most likely to be served in the fall. We finished with a sampling of elderberry wine, syrups (to include an elderberry syrup with chocolate) and sparkling beverage. The elderberry-chocolate blend will be available in the near future, and the sparkling elderberry was already sold out; however, we were able to purchase the beverage mix to create our own sparkling beverage to enjoy on a hot afternoon!
So we shared a glass of the Viognier in Kent’s rustic tasting room and determined to purchase a bottle of the Cabernet Franc Rose and Cabernet Franc for storage on our wine racks. (The Rose should not get too comfy, though!) We said our good-bye to Kent and promised to return soon; however, readers may want to visit even sooner. Just mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
Up next? Our first visit to Casanel Vineyards. Between posting, though, be sure to check out this past Wednesday’s wine column in the Washington Post. Wine critic Dave McIntyre reports on the success of Virginia wines at a London Expo!
The Food section of Wednesday’s edition of the Washington Post featured an article by expert Dave McIntyre entitled, “Local Vintners Are Trying to Grow Respect”. I’ll just briefly summarize here—according to McIntyre, local winemakers are making high-quality wines that can now compete with the likes of Napa. The downside? According to McIntyre, it’s availability. He does mention price but notes that even there, quality Virginia wines are priced on par with counterparts produced from California. His suggestion? Ask for locally produced wines at restaurants and wine shops. Perfect advise to follow during October which is Virginia Wine Month.
I should also mention that Dave McIntyre reviewed three Virginia wines, all of which earned a rating of “excellent”. These include the Linden Vineyards Hardscrabble Chardonnay 2005, the Michael Shaps Petit Verdot 2005, and the Kluge Estate SP Rose 2004.
So how have you celebrated Virginia Wine Month? I dined at a local restaurant, Chef Geoff’s, and ordered a glass of Barboursville’s Rosado, a nice rose that paired nicely with a salad. Chef Geoff’s also offers Barboursville’s heralded Viognier; though not sold by the glass, a bottle of this one could be shared with friends over crab cakes. Of course, wine bars are the craze now, and a newer one, Enology, on Wisconsin Avenue offers a menu dedicated to domestic wines including Virginia wines. I recently sipped on a glass of White Hall’s Petit Manseng while there with friends.
So celebrate Virginia Wine Month! (This is Virginia Wine Time, and we approve of this message!)