Holiday Dinner Party

Earlier this evening we had a holiday dinner party with a few friends. Warren created a wonderful dinner and selected some delicious wines with each course.

With appetizers: Gray Ghost Chardonnay—very lightly oaked with lots of apple and pear flavors. Very good sipper that complements light cheeses and fruit.

1st course: Corn Chowder with goat cheese toast paired with the Gray Ghost Reserve Chardonnay. Creamy texture with this Chardonnay; more oak with buttery taste. Lots of fruit despite the heavier oak; longer finish than the first Chardonnay.

2nd course: Wilted Red Cabbage with Shrimp and Spicy Tangerine Dressing paired with Rene Mure Gerwurztraminer (2003). Off Dry wine with tropical fruit characteristics—ginger, pineapple, and spices. Very aromatic wine that hints at sweetness but actually rather dry finish.

Main course: Pork Roulade; Green beans topped with carmelized onions and prunes; Mashed sweet potatoes paired with the Barboursville Reserve Cabernet Franc (2002)—lots of raspberries and plums with hints of pepper and vanilla. Pepper/oak aromas as well. Well rounded wine with a longer finish.

Dessert: Pecan Pie with vanilla ice cream paired with Gray Ghost Adieu (2004)—proclaimed best wine east of California. Smooth dessert wine with apricot and peach flavors. Honey-like texture; always a crowd pleaser and a nice way to end a meal with friends.

New Zealand Surprise

On Saturday evening, Warren and I went to Cafe Deluxe in N.W. Washington, DC for dinner. I had a herb(ed) roasted chicken and mashed potatoes, and Warren had crab cakes. Warren selected a bottle of Allan Scott 2004 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. We were both a little surprised when the waiter brought the bottle and it was a twist off top. We know that many Wineries in New Zealand and Australia are using twist off tops but our experience with twist off tops on wines in America hasn’t been very good. We were both pleasantly surprised to find that this wine was very good and paired well with our dinner choices. The wine has strong lemon notes and Warren noted grass as well. I did not notice grass hints myself. The winery describes this wine as follows:

A very full bodied wine that contains an abundance of fruit flavours and a spanking acidity. Pineapple, passionfruit and melon like flavours are all present, in addition to a hint of Marlborough herbaceousness. A very lively and approachable wine.

I would say that Warren and I would agree with this description. Try it. You may enjoy it as much as we did.

Dinner Pours

This evening for dinner Paul made pasta with alfredo sauce with diced chicken. For the wine, Warren picked out a 2001 Piedmont Vineyards chardonnay. It’s fermented in stainless steel tanks so it does not have the oaky character of many chardonnays. This one was more fruity. It had a nice color and went well with the meal.

Before dinner we had were decorating the Christmas tree and having some simple nibbles. With the nibbles we selected the Chesapeake Wine Company Blue Crab Blanc. It went well with cheeses, smoked ham, crackers, and almonds.

Nice choice of wines for this evening’s events.

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!

Thanksgiving Pours

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. There was plenty of food and delicious wines with each course. Here are the wines we had with dinner and what we paired them with:

Windham Fume Blanc: with appetizers: very crisp wine with nice tropical fruit characters; nice sipper or could pair with a seafood dish.

Butternut Squash soup with Willowcroft Traminette: dry white wine with spicy aroma; dried apricot and pineapple flavors. I would think that this would also pair with glazed ham.

Harvest Salad with Tarara Pinto Gris: very crisp and clean white wine; stainless steel fermented; citrus aroma and taste.

Turkey and dressing with cranberry relish; green beans with carmelized onions; mashed sweet potatoes paired with Gray Ghost Cabernet Franc: Dry, peppery red aged in French oak. Lots of raspberries. This one has been written up in the Washingtonian as a holiday favorite.

Oasis Winery

Here’s a photo of us at Oasis Winery in July 2005. We enjoyed the scenery and the merlot while sitting out on their deck. We always find something to enjoy no matter what winery we visit and Oasis always has something to enjoy. Future posts will include more detail about the wines we enjoy as well as the atmosphere of the facility at the winery.