Barboursville Barbera

Saturday night we decided to have the Barboursville Barbera. It’s a more full-bodied red; well rounded with intense berry flavors with some hints of vanilla. Very distintive licorice aroma. Nice finish, too! Italian dishes pair well with this.wine. We had this with Warren’s homemade lasagna; we finished the bottle with some chocolates and cherries, and that was quite a treat. Barboursville produces excellent wines, and this one is a winner!

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.

Hillsborough Garnet

Hillsborough Vineyards is one of our favorites. A relatively new winery on the Virginia wine scene. Their wines are well-crafted. Today we tasted all of their wines, and these include Opal (Chardonnay and Viognier blend), Garnet (Bourdeaux style Red), and Ruby(Tannat and Touriga blend). We had the 2004 Garnet for lunch, and it was a very good pour. Cabernet Sauvignon prevails here, and black cherry/oak/pepper flavors dominate; however, Merlot rounds out this wine. It can be sipped but should be enjoyed with food. I would have this with anything that “moos”. The Garnet will be best appreciated if laid down for a few months, but it’s yummy now, too!

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!!

2005 Antonin Rodet Chardonnay

Tonight for dinner we had “chicken ala Warren”. He created a chicken dish with chicken cutlets, almonds, lemon, parmasean cheese, and basil. Again this evening we decided to have a non-Virginia wine. Warren selected the 2005 Antonin Rodet Chardonnay. The color is clear and golden. It’s dry with hints of apple, melon, and almond. It’s got a honey texture with a full mouth feel. It lingers and has nice legs when swirled. This chardonnay complemented Warren’s chicken meal nicely.

Clos Pegase 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon

This evening we decided to stray from our usual Virginia wines and try a 2001 Clos Pegase Cabernet Sauvignon. Warren just returned from his holiday vacation and we decided to enjoy some chocolates with the wine. We selected some dark chololate truffles and some sharp cheddar cheese. The wine is 14.5% alcohol. It’s got a jammy taste with a heavy fruit forward; cherry, chocolate, tabacco and pepper/oak. It’s very full bodied. It’s an unfiltered blend and the petit verdot comes through. It’s a great wine but needs big foods to enjoy it completely. A nice big piece of meat would be nice with this wine. It’s a classic Napa Valley Cabernet. We thought it went well with the chocolates and sharp cheddar cheese.

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.

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.