It’s snowing like crazy outside! But we’re warm and safe inside. Snowpocalypse 2010 is a great time to enjoy some wine and food. We were going to attend the Virginia Wine Showcase this weekend but fear the snow will keep us from attending.

To begin the snow event we started with the Barboursville Brut. We thought that would be a great beginning. We noted that it had long lasting bubbles. It had apple on the nose with a vibrant acidity. We thought it would be perfect for mimosas…which we’ll make in the morning.

For dinner we had some grilled chicken seasoned with lemon pepper and long grain and wild rice. Of course we were thinking of a white wine, and already chilled in the fridge was the 2008 Pollak Vineyards Viognier. It proved to be a perfect match. The viognier had a floral nose, and peach characteristics. It paired well with the seasoned grilled chicken. The Pollak Viognier is one of my favorites.

We expect we’ll be enjoying several Virginia wines during this snow event. We’ll keep you updated on the snow and the wines we enjoy.

Loudoun County Round Up

This post is devoted to the tastings we’ve done at other Loudoun County wineries in the past couple of weeks.  With the barrage of snow hitting the area, it’s been hard to get out on the wine trails; however, we do keep material in reserve for just such occasions. 

Fabbioli Cellars—Always a treat to taste the latest pours here and to chat with winemaker, Doug Fabbioli.  As usual, the lineup here is impressive, and tasters cannot go wrong with any of the selections on Doug’s tasting menu.  Winter sippers who are tired of heavy reds but not quite ready for white wines may want to try the 2008 Rosa Luna, a dry rose made from Sangiovese grapes.  Bright strawberry and melon flavors make for a fruity and versatile pour.  The 2008 Chambourcin is a raspberry delight in the glass; I’m picky about Chambourcin, but a bottle of this one ended coming home with me.  Doug is devoted to Cabernet Franc, and both the 2008 Cabernet Franc and the 2008 Cabernet Franc Reserve are gems.  The Reserve is aged longer in both French and American oak barrels, and the result is a bigger-bodied wine with extracted fruit characteristics and a lengthier finish.  Be sure to try the pear wine—we tasted this one out of the barrel last year and made a prediction that it was destined to be a crowd pleaser.  We were not disappointed.  Blended with a bit of brandy, the Aperitif Pear Wine needs only a cozy fireplace and a special someone.

Tarara Winery—We had not been to Tarara Winery in quite a while, and the current pours are the handiwork of winemaker Jordan Harris.  We decided to participate in the premium tasting; it was 20 bucks a piece but worth the experience.  This tasting is conducted in a private tasting room that provides a spectacular mountain view, and participating palate are seated around an ample yet elegant dining table.  We were served a plate of snacks that would complement the pours, and we concluded that the premium pours were all quite solid.  Of the whites, my own favorite was the 2008 Viognier with its peachy nose and floral aromas.  Aged in French oak, this Viognier is a fuller-bodied white wine that should be a hit with shellfish; I make an herb-crusted turkey breast that would partner quite well with this one.  Of the red wines, it was hard to beat the Long Bomb Edition 2.  Violets and tobacco on the nose noted here with dark fruit in the mouth and nice tanning make this a natural partner with anything that moos.  Serve now if you wish, but decant first.  The Long Bomb Edition 2 is enclosed with a screw cap, so it can age for a while; however,  drink within the next 10 years.  The value pour of the event had to be the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon.  At 20 bucks a pop, I thought it was worth every penny given its quality—plum and blackberry notes with spice and tobacco on the nose, here was yet another partner for a steak dinner beside a roaring fire.

Corcoran Vineyards—We always look forward to seeing Lori in the tasting room and to sampling her latest pours.  I’ve always been a fan of her Chardonnay, and I was not disappointed with the apple-inflected 2008 Chardonnay that was aged in both stainless steel tanks and oak barrels.  Paul preferred the more floral 2008 Viognier.  “Dry” and “tropical” were his descriptors, and he noted that fish fillets would be a nice pairing with this one. We moved on to the red wines, and we both enjoyed the rich 2008 Malbec. I suspect that this one may have a cult following since very few Virginia wineries produce Malbec as a single variety much less at this quality. The 2008 offering from Corcoran Vineyards is quite good and packed with dark cherry and plum flavors with some mocha at the end.  We noted a lengthier finish, too.  Since it’s wintertime (duh), serve now with roasted meats; however, save for later to pour with grilled steaks when the weather warms up. For a more complex and truly age-worthy wine, though, try the 2007 Meritage.


So when the snow lets up and you need to get out of the house, visit these outstanding Loudoun County wineries.  We promise to get back on the trail once Frosty the Snowman melts for good.  In the meantime, put these wineries on your “to visit” list; mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Return To Fox Meadows Vineyards

A couple of weekends ago, we decided to pay a visit to Fox Meadow Vineyards.  Our last visit there occurred quite a while ago.  Needless to say, we were looking forward to sampling the current releases at Fox Meadow Vineyards, and all of these were certainly new to our palates.

Of the white wines, our gold star favorite was the 2007 Le Renard Gris, a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Riesling.  We were impressed by its melon flavors and pleasant feel.  Serve as a sipper or partner to light picnic fare or salads—Le Renard Gris should be a crowd pleaser. 

We reached a split decision on the red wines.  Paul favored the 2007 Cabernet Franc, and he noted its dark garnet core with mixed berry and spice characteristics complemented by a woodsy finish.  My own fave was the 2007 Le Renard Rouge.  This one presented a longer finish but first presented a red berry nose with a splash of plum to boot; similar flavors were noted in the mouth.  The 2007 Le Renard Rouge should prove to be an age-worthy wine, so buy now to drink later.

Owner Dan Mortland invited us down to the barrel room for a sneak sample of the upcoming Syrah, and we anticipate a release that will be bolder than the lighter-bodied pour currently offered in the tasting room.

With our tasting concluded, we enjoyed a glass of the 2007 Cabernet Franc while taking in lovely mountain views from the tasting room. Though a post-blizzard thaw had long begun, enough snow remained to present a winter landscape that we appreciated as we swirled and sipped.

We plan to return to Fox meadow Vineyards soon to sample upcoming releases.  Be certain to visit, too, and be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Doukenie Winery With Friends

Last Sunday we met some friends at Doukenie Winery. We hadn’t been there in awhile so we wanted to try the new wines and see how things were going. Our friend, Jeff, is a club member at Doukenie, and he enjoys Doukenie wine all of the time! We met Jeff and his friend Stephen at Doukenie for a sampling of the current pours.

During our tasting we started with the whites and we tasted the 2008 Pinot Grigio, 2008 Chardonnay, 2008 Mandolin, and the 2007 Vin de Paille. Of these we gave our gold star to the 2008 Pinot Grigio. It was crisp and light with pear on the nose and tropical fruit on the tongue.

Of the reds we tasted the 2007 Vintner’s Reserve, the 2007 Petit Verdot, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and the Hope’s Legacy Raspberry wine. Our gold star went to the 2007 Vintner’s Reserve. We noted dark fruits on the nose and some spice on the tongue. Warren noted tobacco on the nose as well. A close second, though, was the fruit forward 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.

After out tasting we all enjoyed a bottle of the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon with a baguette and a sharp cheddar cheese. Before leaving we secured a few bottles for our wine racks. Plan a trip to Doukenie soon and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Breaux Vineyards’ Cabernet Vertical Tasting

This past Saturday, we attended a vertical tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon at Breaux Vineyards.  Samples from previous and current vintages were paired with appropriate food courses. On hand to present the wines and their profiles was winemaker David Collins.

For those who may not know, a vertical tasting is a tasting of wine of the same variety but from different years.  In this case, Breaux Vineyards presented a vertical tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon that included the 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2006 vintages with barrel samples from the 2007 and 2008 vintages.  However, the event started with guests receiving a sample pour of the 2006 Meritage as they made their way to the tables.  This younger, fruit-forward blend was the perfect way to begin as it prepared palates for the more full-bodied offerings to follow. 

The first wines offered for sample were the barrel samples, the 2008 and 2007.  Both were still very young with the 2008 very tight on the nose; of course, this is to be expected with such a young wine still in its developmental stages. The 2007 barrel sample has signs of potential greatness with its characteristics of dark fruit and cedar. A tannic presence still prevails, but this will smooth with time.  Both wines paired nicely with the braised beef rib served over polenta; this course included a sinful chocolate truffle that I thought took the tannic edge off of both barrel samples while bringing forward the fruit characters.

The second course featured my favorite dish of the evening—pork wellington served over wild rise and a pomegranate crème fraiche.  An interesting twist to the wellington was the inclusion of a layer of mushroom slices between the pork and pastry shell.  This added a layer of earthiness to the flavor profile which perhaps was why this course was partnered with the earthier 2006 and 2005 vintages.  Of these vintages, my preferred the 2006; however, both vintages offered aromas that I described as leather and tobacco with tannins still more pronounced in the mouth.

The third course featured my favorite wines of the evening—the 2002 and 2001 vintages.  In fact, my gold star of the evening was given to the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon.  Here now was the melding of fruit character and tannins to present a more complex wine with a nice, long finish.  I detected some smokiness on the nose with dark plum, black cherry, and mocha in the mouth.  Nice, silky tannins, too! “Excellent” sums it up!  Oh—the food pairing was just as excellent.  Grilled salmon over saffron rice served aside a chive rosewater-infused oil pecorino-romano.  The 2001 was a close second for me; the fruit profile here was more extracted than the 2002 which no doubt came with the extra year of aging. 
The evening ended with lagniappe, which in New Orleans means “bonus”.  Our bonus pour was the 2009 Cabernet Rose, a tank sample of an upcoming rose offering.  Another “still young” sample, this rose should settle down quite nicely in time for summer. 

So what was the final vote for the vertical tasting?  Did Paul award any gold stars?My final verdict was as follows: *2002, 2001, 2007, 2006, 2005.  Paul’s vote went like this: *2001, 2002, 2007, 2005, 2006.  Neither of us included the 2008 in the mix since it was still too young to judge; we wanted to be fair to the 2008 vintage!

These events are always fund and informative.  For winemakers, it’s an opportunity to showcase wines from several vintages with each vintage the result of varying circumstances not the least of which is the weather.  It was to surprise, for example, that the 2007 barrel sample presented quite nicely; that year was one of the best in Virginia with weather conditions resembling those of Napa in California. 

The evening flew by too quickly.  We caught up with Jennifer Breaux Blosser who heads the hospitality and events team at Breaux Vineyards and Sylvia Miller, one of our favorite tasting associates at Breaux Vineyards.  We also met SuzieLin (one of our Twitter buddies) and Joel Timmins for the Examiner. It was great meeting them and chatting about the vertical tasting.

Be sure to visit Breaux Vineyards, and do inquire about events such as this vertical tasting to learn more about Virginia wines through the years.  Please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.