Aspen Dale

On Memorial Day weekend we attended the 250th Anniversary of Wine at Philip Carter Winery. After the festivities there, we stopped at Naked Mountain Winery and then our final stop was Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn. It had been almost a year since we last visited Aspen Dale. At this time of the year we are looking for wines to enjoy during the summer. We found some familiar wines that we’ll be enjoying this summer.

We decided to do a full tasting and were pleased to see they are still serving small food pairings with the wines you taste. They had some delicious cheeses! Of the white wines we thought the 2011 Sarah’s Chapeau would make a great summer sipper. We noted citrus grassy notes. Chill it nicely and enjoy on the deck. The Mary Madeline Rose would also make a nice summer sipper.

Of the reds we enjoyed the Rockawalkin’. We noted earthy, spicy, oaky notes and thought it would pair well with a nice steak. Most people aren’t thinking of reds for summer time but this one would go well with a nice steak on the grill.

After our tasting we had a chance to talk with Shay McNeal, owner and winemaker, about what she’s has going on in her barrel room. We were able to taste a few of her upcoming wines and had a special tasting of the 2009 Islington which is a barrel aged Seyval. We had a nice time catching up with Shay and enjoying the live music and lively atmosphere at the barn. If you haven’t been to Aspen Dale lately, plan a trip soon and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Fourth of July Wines

I know the 4th of July was a few days ago but I thought we’d share what we enjoyed on our nations’s birthday. The 4th of July this year (as in many years) was hot and humid. We were looking for a cool sipper to enjoy before dinner and a wine to go with our burgers for dinner.

We selected the 2010 Hildersham Sauvignon Blanc from Aspen Dale Winery for our pre-dinner sipper. It had a light straw color with a floral nose with citrus notes and a hint of grass. On the tongue we noted large citrus flavors, minerality, crisp acidity and some stone fruit. We paired this with manchego cheese, crackers, and strawberries. It accompanied our food selections nicely.

For dinner, we decided on the Red Table Wine from Blenheim Vineyards. This is a blend of 66% Merlot, 16% Malbec, 14% Syrah, 4% Cabernet Franc and aged in stainless steel. On the nose we noted berry fruit and hint of violets. In the mouth we picked up more berry fruit and very smooth tannins. This light bodied red sipper went perfectly with our burgers. We did not want a big heavy red with our burgers and this was the right choice. What did you enjoy on the fourth? If you visit Aspen Dale or Blenheim anytime soon, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Celebration Wines

Last night we had some friends over to help celebrate Warren’s birthday. I’m not a cook so Warren created a wonderful meal. Of course we had to serve Virginia wines with the meal.

We began the evening with white cheeses, baked shrimp wontons, and fruit. We paired these items with the 2008 Durant White from Pollak Vineyards. We enjoyed the crisp, fruity, mineral nature of this wine. It went perfectly with our food choices.

Warren then served a garden salad with a lemon vinaigrette. We paired the salad with the 2008 Sarah’s Chapeau from Aspen Dale Winery. This is a blend of vidal blanc and sauvignon blanc. The fruity, off-dry nature of this wine paired well with the salad.

For the main course Warren prepared a hearty beef stew with carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, and fresh thyme. We selected the 2008 Petit Verdot from Pollak Vineyards. We noted blackberry and plum notes and an earthiness. We poured the last two bottles I had on my rack. Unfortunately the Petit Verdot is sold out and I won’t be able to get any more. I’m looking forward to the next vintage!

We finished the evening with a very moist, chocolate birthday cake. I selected the 2009 Nebbiolo Ice Water Bent Barrels from the Cellar Selection from Breaux Vineyards. The delicious sweet strawberry notes complimented the chocolate cake. Everyone mentioned how much they enjoyed this one.

At the end of the evening we all decided that the 2008 Petit Verdot from Pollak Vineyards should get the gold star.

Warren and I continued his birthday celebration today by visiting Gray Ghost VIneyards, one of our favorite wineries. We are very familiar with their wines but always enjoy a tasting. We also enjoy chatting with Al, Cheryl and Amy about all things wine.

After our tasting we enjoyed some lunch nibbles with a bottle of the 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. What a wonderful bottle of wine. We noted dark fruit, tobacco, ash, and a lingering finish. We can always count on a great time at Gray Ghost.

If you visit any of these wineries anytime soon, please tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!