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.

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.