First Colony Merlot

This evening we enjoyed the 2002 First Colony Merlot. We visited First Colony in September 2005 and saved this wine for a special evening. We had this merlot with some chocolates and nibbles appropriate for merlot.

Strong cherry aromas greet the nose; big cherry flavors fill the mouth with hints of chocolate and vanilla at the end. This merlot craves chocolates! It lingers in the mouth to provide a longer finish. Some tobacco/leather appears at the end. The tannis are fairly soft and accessible to the mouth; this merlot would be fine with food such as steak yet elegant and easy enough to sip on its own.

This weekend we are headed off to Charlottesville to attend the Mardi Gras event at Horton Cellars Winery. We will also visit Oakencroft Winery and Vinyard and Barboursville Vineyard. We will provide tasting notes on our upcoming wine experiences at Horton, Oakencroft, and Barboursville.

Linden Vineyards

Today we went to Linden Vineyards to enjoy their cellar tasting. During the special cellar tasting you get to compare wines from different vintages. We began with the 1999 Hardscrabble Chardonnay (one of our favorites) and got to compare it with the 2001 Hardscrabble Chardonnay. We then moved on to the 2000 Glen Manor Red and were able to compare to the 2001 Glen Manor Red. And finally we tasted the 2003 Late Harvest and compared it with the 2000 Late Harvest. All the wines were exceptional and Margaret, our tasting specialist, was very knowledgable. We then enjoyed a bottle of their Claret with sausage and cheese on their enclosed deck. The scenery at Linden is breathtaking and shouldn’t be missed. If you have considered a visit to Linden, we highly suggest you plan that trip.

Gray Ghost Vineyards

Today we went to Gray Ghost Vineyards in Amissville Virginia. Gray Ghost is one of our favorite wineries. We went to celebrate Warren’s birthday. We enjoyed a bottle of their 2002 Reserve Cabernet. It was a perfect compliment to our steak, cheeses and crackers, portebele mushrooms, and chocolates. In the photo you see Warren enjoying the wine and food while taking notes about the wine.

We also added another sticker to our 2006 Passport to Virginia Wineries. There are 101 wineries listed in this year’s passport. We are hoping to get to most of them and report on wonderful Virginia wines and wineries.

Linden Hardscrabble Chardonnay

This is just one of Linden’s excellent wines. This Chardonnay is very crisp with lots of apple aromas. Flavors are more citrusy with a long finish. This would pair nicely with seafood, but we had it with chicken and rice flavored with pine nuts. We tasted this one at Linden’s cellar tasting and had to buy it. Now we have to go back to Linden to buy another bottle!

We last visited Linden in November 2005. We enjoyed their Claret with some summer sausage, pepper cheese, and homemade bread. We really enjoyed participating in their cellar tasting at the time. Their grounds are beautiful. Here’s a photo of Lava enjoying the Claret.

Horton Sparkling Viognier

To ring in the new year we had a couple of friends over and decided to open the Horton Sparkling Viognier. We visited Horton Vineyards in the summer and enjoyed a good handful of their wines but were very pleased with the Sparkling Viognier. We got a bottle and saved it for the new year. It was bottled in 2004. Very dry champagne-style sparkling wine with tropical flavors; quite bubbly and was very satisfying at midnight on New Years’ Eve. We used the remainder to make mimosas for breakfast. Yummy bubbly!!

Windham Winery

Today we went to Windham Winery for lunch. We hadn’t visited Windham since last summer and wanted to see if they had released any of their reds. We did a tasting and enjoyed all of their selections. The 2004 Merlot won’t be released officially until March 2006 but the woman working the tasting bar offered us a taste. I thoroughly enjoyed it but it was obvious it needs to lay down for a few more months. We went ahead and bought a bottle and will enjoy it next spring.

We took some leftovers from Friday’s holiday dinner party and selected Windham’s 2003 Cabernet Franc to enjoy with our meal. We were pleasantly surprised at how well it went with our meal. We sat out on their deck, which the had enclosed for the winter months, and enjoyed our meal and the wine.

After our lunch and purchases, we walked around the property and took photos of the landscape. Below you can see Warren resting on a picnic table bench.

After our visit to Windham Winery we decided to stop by Village Winery. This is a very new winery. They have only been open a few months. We visited them on their opening weekend and things were really rough. This visit things were a bit more polished. Luckily we ended up being the only people visiting the winery. This made it possible for us to have a special private barrel tasting with the owner/winemaker. He was very nice and let us go on and on about wines and winemaking. We were able to taste a 3 month old cabernet franc. It smelled awful and the taste was just as bad. But you could tell that in about a year this will be a very nice wine. We really enjoyed our visit and felt lucky to be able to taste the cabernet franc so soon in the barrel.

Gadino Cellars

Yesterday Warren and I went to Gadino Cellars with our friend David. The wines were actually well crafted; this is a first-year winery in Rappahanock County, and they’ve created some very good wines. The whites were particularly good. The Chardonnay was done in a California style, but less oaky and certainly very crisp. The Viognier was a surprise—less oaked with more prominent fruit flavors. Warren bought a bottle of this one, and Viognier is not usually his “glass of wine”. Gadino only had two reds to taste. The first was a Merlot, and it was quite good though perhaps a bit young. Red currants and cherries came to mind with a nice finish; Paul, Warren and their friend David, all enjoyed this one and bought a glass to sip on the deck. The Cabernet Franc was the weakest of the offerings; it was not a bad wine, but nothing seemed to be outstanding about it. Cab Franc is one of Virginia’s strongest wines, and Warren expects that Gadino will be producing very good Cab Francs in the future. All in all, this is a very good winery, and we will be back to Gaudino with a nice picnic lunch!