Sideways Party

Saturday evening we had some friends over to enjoy some Virginia Merlots and to watch the movie Sideways. If you are familiar with the movie, you know there is a famous line about having Merlot. That’s the reason we decided to serve Merlot. We picked out 4 Virginia Merlots to enjoy while watching the movie. The Merlots were:

2004 Oakencroft Monticello Merlot
2003 Barboursville Merlot
2003 Lake Anna Merlot
2002 Old House Merlot

For dessert we served the Windham Hope’s Raspberry Merlot. It was chilled and served with brownies and dark chocolates. At the end of the evening most agreed the stand out Merlot was the 2004 Oakencroft Monticello Merlot. All of the Merlots were delicious and had their individual characteristics. It was enlightening to compare and contrast the different years and different wineries. Don’t let the line in the movie keep you from discovering Virginia Merlots.

Piedmont Vineyards

Last weekend we went to Piedmont Vineyards. It was the coldest day of February and we were hoping they would have indoor space to enjoy some wine and some nibbles. They have a very nice tasting room with a gas fireplace that was lit. We were pleased to see that considering how cold it was outside.

We did a tasting and were pleasantly pleased with their offerings. We then decided to get a bottle of their 2001 Reserve Chardonnay to enjoy with lunch. We chose a table near the fireplace and settled in to enjoy the wine and the nibbles we brought. The Chardonnay had a beautiful golden yellow color and had a nutty, toasty nose. You could easily taste pear and apple flavors and the time spent in the French oak barrel was evident. This Chardonnay paired well with our apples, almonds, white cheeses and crackers.

To extend our time at Piedmont we decided to have a glass of their 2004 Merlot with the chocolates we brought. The Merlot had a garnet color, was medium bodied, and presented berry and pepper flavors. The longer it sat on our table, the better it got. The dark chocolates we enjoyed really brought out the berry flavors. The 2004 Merlot is well worth a taste.

This is a photo of the tasting room at Piedmont Vineyards.

Here is a picture of the tasting room.

Oakencroft 2002 Petit Verdot

Last Friday evening we had a small dinner party and decided to serve the Oakencroft 2002 Petit Verdot with a roasted leg of lamb. It was a cold winter evening and the conversation was flowing. As we poured the last drop, we were wishing we had had another bottle to open.

The 2002 Petit Verdot is a full bodied wine with aromas of raspberries, coffee and tobacco. Lots of berry flavors especially raspberry and cherry; some mocha too. Nice, smooth finish; this one complemented roasted leg of lamb and roasted winter vegetables. It was a crowd pleaser and fitting for a cold winter night’s meal.

Oakencroft Winery

On Saturday we were in Charlottesville visiting wineries and one on our list was Oakencroft Winery. We visited Oakencroft in August 2005 and really enjoyed our visit. We decided on this trip to Charlottesville we must stop at Oakencroft to see what new wines have been released.

Oakencroft produces wonderful wines. We did a tasting and chatted with our tastress about the current offerings and those to come in the future. After our tasting, we decided to enjoy a bottle of their 2003 Merlot. Even though 2003 wasn’t the best year for grapes, their 2003 Merlot was quite good. Unfortunately the 2003 is no longer available. While we were there they sold their last bottle. They are now offering the 2004 Merlot. We sat out on their patio and enjoyed the Merlot with some sandwiches and chocolate. Before leaving, we purchased the 2004 Merlot as well as the 2002 Merlot Reserve. Thanks to Lorraine, the manager of the tasting room, and our tastress for providing a superb experience.

Horton Vineyards Mardi Gras

On Saturday we took a trip to Charlottesville to attend the Mardi Gras event at Horton Vineyards. It was a rainy day but that didn’t dampen our spirits. With your admission you got a logo glass, Mardi Gras beads, seafood gumbo, chili, and traditional Mardi Gras cake. We enjoyed all of these while tasting many of their wines.

After our tasting, we joined a tour of their tank and barrel room. We were able to taste several of their wines right out of the barrel and a few out of the tanks. It was interesting to taste what the wines are like right out of the barrel. You can taste where the wines will be in the future. Here’s a picture from Horton’s cellar.

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.

Piedmont Hunt Country Chardonnay 2002

Piedmont boasts that it is the oldest producer of Charonnay in Virginia. This Chardonnay is quite nice. It’s done in a classic Chardonnay style—not too oaky, but buttery feel in the mouth with nice tropical fruit on the palate. The color is crisp and golden. Warren personally doesn’t mind oak in the Chardonnays especially if he is having it with certain seafood dishes. I am more particular and doesn’t care for oaky chardonnays. This one would really shine with corn chowder! We had this with some nibbles: cheeses, herbed brie, almonds, pears, and apples.