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2013 Governor’s Cup Winner

govcup2013
Photo provided by the Virginia Wine Marketing Office.

We thought we’d jump on the bandwagon and announce the 2013 Virginia Wineries Association’s Governor’s Cup was awarded to Barboursville Vineyards 2009 Octagon 12th Edition. It was selected from the 12 top scoring wines from the competition. The 2009 Octagon will be included in the Governor’s Cup Case. The others that will be included are:

Cooper Vineyards – 2010 Petit Verdot Reserve
King Family Vineyards – 2010 Meritage
Lovingston Winery – 2009 Josie’s Knoll Estate Reserve
Philip Carter Winery – 2010 Cleve
Pollak Vineyards – 2009 Cabernet Franc Reserve
Potomac Point Vineyard and Winery – 2010 Richland Reserve Heritage
Rappahannock Cellars – 2010 Meritage
RdV Vineyards – 2010 Rendevous
RdV Vineyards – 2010 Lost Mountain
Sunset Hills Vineyard – 2010 Mosaic
Trump Winery – 2008 Sparkling Rose

Congratulations to Luca Pachina, Barboursville, and all the other award winners!

Monticello Sweep Part 2

We began Virginia Wine Month with posts about the upcoming Bluegrass Festival at Chrysalis Vineyards and our decision to kick off the special month a day early by enjoying a picnic with the crisp 2011 Seyval Blanc from Gray Ghost Vineyards. However, before we go further into the month, I do want to conclude our recap of visits to wineries in the Monticello area. So pretend that it’s still Labor Day weekend and read on!

Barboursville Vineyards: I always look forward to a tasting here, and no, the assembly line tasting process does not bother me at all. The wines here are consistently well made, and we always leave with a bottle (or two or three) of something. Favorites here: of the white wines, Paul liked the stainless steel Chardonnay, and I preferred the oaked Chardonnay Reserve. No surprises here, right? We did, however, concur on the Rose 2011 with its refreshing crispness and strawberry flavors. We recently enjoyed this one at Open Kitchen, too. Red wine faves included the Sangiovese Reserve 2010 for Paul, but for me it was the Cabernet Fran Reserve 2010 with its big raspberry, plum and cedar elements. Of course, the Octagon is always in a special category, and the 2008 vintage is noteworthy for its complexity and aging potential. Sharing a space in the special category is the Malvaxia Reserve 2007 with its rich palate of pineapple, apricot and honey.



Keswick Vineyards: Stephen Benard is a master winemaker, and a tasting here is another always on the “must do” list when we visit the area. Paul was a fan of the dry 2011 Rose with its vibrant acidity and red berry flavors. I liked this one too, but I am always a sucker for Old World-style Chardonnays. The 2011 Chardonnay was my winner. Fermented in both stainless steel tanks and new French oak barrels, I noted flavors of pear, pineapple and butterscotch with a honeyed mouth feel. Of the red wines, we both agreed on the 2010 Merlot. Paul the Merlot fan gravitated toward the complexity of this one; oak notes complimented rather than dominated the nose and palate. Dark cherry and raspberry flavors melded with a chocolate kiss; tannins were still a bit gripping but not unpleasantly so. Buy now and either decant or age. We bought bottles of each favorite.


Kilaurwen Winery: A first visit for us. We were able to taste the fruity Fiesta White, a mix of Rkatsetelli (96%) and Viognier (4%). A fun summer wine, we noted flavors of peach and citrus. At 2 ½% residual sugar, it was bright a fruity. Paul enjoyed the 2010 Cabernet Franc with its elements of blackberry, dark cherry, black olive, and pepper. I was more intrigued with the 2010 Cabernet Franc Reserve that was aged in American oak barrels for 8 months. Earthier elements prevailed here with notes of anise and violet. Owner Bob Steeves conducted our tasting, and we found out that the name of the winery is actually a blend of his daughter’s names, Kimberlee, Laura and Wendy. Steeves has maintained the vineyard since he purchased it in 1994; his first vintage, though, was bottled in 2009. His flagship varietal, Riesling, was sold out and therefore not available for tasting; however, we did learn that his Cabernet Francs have earned numerous medals and even beat a California Cabernet Franc in a blind tasting!



Stinson Vineyards: This was our third visit to Stinson Vineyards, and we both enjoyed the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc. Fermented in a concrete egg (that looks like an atomic bomb), it presented aromas of grapefruit and cut grass. Our red wine faves included the complex 2010 Meritage with its smoky nose and aromas o blackberry and raspberry; dark fruit flavors gave way to a peppery finish. If cheesecake is on the dessert menu, try pairing it with the 2010 Petit Manseng. Petit Manseng seems to have a characteristic unctuous mouth feel, so at 9% residual sugar this offers a fuller mouth feel in spades. Notes of orange peel and sesame makes added to the profile, and this dessert wine presents a nice way to end a dinner party.


We always enjoy a trip to wineries in the Monticello area. Visit these wineries during Virginia Wine Month to select your own favorites. Please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Dinner Wine

On Fridays we usually have steak but this past Friday Warren decided to have fish. We had fluke flounder that was lightly breaded and pan fried with olive oil and butter. It was topped with capers and a butter sauce. We had it with bow tie pasta with parmesan cheese.

Warren selected the 2009 Viognier Reserve from Barboursville Vineyards. It was a perfect pairing. We noted ripe pear and lichen nut on the nose. It had a full mouth feel with similar flavors and a bit of spice in the mouth. It complimented the butter sauce very well. We have always enjoyed Barboursville wines. It seems like you can’t go wrong with a Barboursville wine.

Virginia Wine Month Celebration

Last night we attended a reception to celebrate Virginia Wine Month and Virginia Wine Tourism. There were many winery dignitaries in attendance as well as lots of media folks. The guest of honor was Governor Bob McDonnell. After introductions and fanfare, the governor spoke. He spoke about the wine industry in Virginia and how successful it’s been in the last few years. He noted that the industry will have great growth in the future especially with Donald Trump getting into the game. Of course the focus of the evening was wine and we got the chance to taste some of the best Virginia wine.

Breaux Vineyards poured the 2010 Viognier, 2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve, and the 2005 Nebbiolo. We agreed the winner here was the 2005 Nebbiolo. We noted cherry and raspberry with hints of licorice and tobacco. I really noticed the smooth finish. What a nice wine!

Barboursville Vineyards poured the Viognier Reserve 2010, the Octagon 2007 and the Malvaxia Reserve 2006. Here we really enjoyed the Octagon 2007. Great color, intense tannins, and berry flavors stood out here. We thought of food with this one.

Boxwood Winery poured the Topiary Rose Blend 2010, the Topiary Blend 2009, and the Boxwood Blend 2009. I think the Boxwood Blend 2009 really stood out here. It has a deep, dark color with hints of blackberry, violet, and anise. The tannins would accompany a thick steak really well.

Chatham Vineyards poured the Church Creek Vintner’s Blend (non vintage 2009 and 2010), the Church Creek Cabernet Franc (non vintage 2009 and 2010), and the 2010 Steel Church Creek Chardonnay. I really preferred the 2010 Steel Church Creek Chardonnay. I noted the pear and apple flavors on the nose as well as in the mouth. It had a nice mouth feel even though it spent no time in oak.

The Virginia Wine Board and the Virginia Tourism Corporation put on a wonderful event. We enjoyed the conversation, the wines, and the promotion of Virginia wine. We met some great people that we hadn’t met before. We even got to meet the governor! It was a great way to celebrate Virginia Wine Month. If you haven’t visited any of the wineries that poured at the event, you need to plan a trip to visit them soon. And tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!


Some of the Virginia Wine Mafia was in attendance!

Hendrix and Virginia Wine

One of our goals for Virginia Wine Month is to visit local restaurants and establishments that sell and serve Virginia wines. While perusing the shops and restaurants in the Glover Park area of Washington DC, we happened upon Bourbon, a small bar/restaurant on Wisconsin Ave. Looking at the wine list scrawled on a chalkboard on the wall we noticed they serve the Barboursville Chardonnay. We decided we’d stay for lunch.


When our waitress arrived we proudly ordered two glasses of the Barboursville Chardonnay. While waiting for the wine we made our lunch decisions. I opted for the Mac and Cheese while Warren got a sandwich (I can’t remember exactly what kind). Our wine arrived and we began enjoying it while we waited for our lunch. Once our lunch came we enjoyed the wine even more. It complimented our choices perfectly. With lunch finished we continued to enjoy the wine while we enjoyed the views out the window on Wisconsin Ave. Warren was really enjoying the Jimmy Hendrix playing the sound system. I would have selected some smooth jazz instead. Either way, we had a good time and enjoyed the wine. We were also pleased we were continuing to support the Virginia wine industry.

We’re not sure where our celebration will take us next but be sure we’ll be enjoying Virginia Wine Month. What are you doing for Virginia Wine Month?

Heat Wave!

No, not the Motown hit by the Vandellas—the 100 degree weather that has us all wilting. These hot and humid days require wines that cool and refresh, and we found some wines at Barboursville that may just accomplish the task.

Warren’s summer picks:
Sauvignon Blanc 2010: crisp and citrusy with grassy notes
Viognier Reserve 2009: elegant with floral notes and fuller mouth feel
Phileo: Moscato and Gewürztraminer blend that should pair well with peach cobbler

Paul’s summer picks:
Chardonnay 2010: for stainless steel lovers like myself. Crisp and clean; serve well chilled.
Rose 2009: Strawberry Hills forever! Versatile for this time of year.

Be on the lookout for future releases of Petit Verdot and Vermentino. Bill, our tasting associate told us that Luca created a 2008 Petit Verdot that will probably only be seen at the restaurant, Palladio. Luca also made a 2009 Petit Verdot that should be released later this year. In the meantime, visit Virginia wineries to find your own summer favorites. Be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

The First Lady Of Virginia’s FLITE Winery Tour

Today we were privileged to join Virginia’s First Lady Maureen McDonnell on a tour and tasting of wines on the Monticello Trail. We were joined by forty other participants involved in promoting the Virginia wine industry, and these included familiar faces such as Frank Morgan of Drink What You Like and Patrick Evans Hylton editor of Virginia Wine Lover magazine. This memorable day began with a continental breakfast at the historic Old City Hall, and we then boarded a luxury bus destined for three Monticello wineries: Pollak Vineyards, Barboursville Vineyards, and Keswick Vineyards.

We arrived at Pollak Vineyards amidst a flurry of media attention. Paul assumed that the television cameras were there to await his final word on Virginia wines; alas, they were there to greet First Lady Maureen McDonnell who has been a tireless and enthusiastic supporter of the Virginia wine industry. Winemaker Jake Busching was also on hand to greet us all, and we made our way to the tasting room. We were first treated to a tour of the barrel room complete with barrel samples of the stellar 2009 Cabernet Franc Reserve and the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. The juicy Cabernet Franc has already won gold in a California competition, and we await its release.

We were then guided through a tasting in the main tasting room with the First Lady herself helping with the process. We are big fans of Pollak’s wines, so picking our favorites proved to be a tough task; however, we did favor the intense 2010 Viognier. The 2010 white vintages are already creating a buzz in the tasting rooms, and this Viognier present a reason why this is the case. Vibrant apricot and peach characteristics prevailed and it presented a full mouth feel no doubt aided by spending some time in neutral French oak barrels. Of the red wines, we enjoyed the smoky 2008 Merlot with its bold cherry flavors. However it is no longer for sale. Summer sippers will also enjoy the crisp 2010 Pinot Gris.

From Pollak Vineyards the entourage continued on to Barboursville Vineyards for lunch and wine at the heralded Palladio restaurant. Winemaker Luka Paschina guided us through the food and wine pairings, and what an exquisite experience! The salad course featured fresh greens tossed with morels and served atop asparagus spears; a sprinkle of grated pecorino completed the dish. Paired with this was the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc with it’s characteristic citrus, hay and mineral elements. The main dish was a lovely sweet pea risotto topped with seared rock fish, and this was partnered with the lush 2010 Viognier Reserve. Rich aromatics, exotic tropical fruit characters,and a creamy mouth feel best describe this perfect compliment to the equally rich risotto. A cheese course paired the decorated 2006 Octagon, the winery’s flagship Bordeaux-style blend, finished the menu.

The afternoon’s event ended at Keswick Vineyards, and winemaker Stephen Bernard presented his platinum and gold medal winning wines beneath an outdoor canopy that allowed tasters to enjoy a glorious spring afternoon. Stephen is one of our favorite winemakers, and selecting a favorite was a tough decision. The 2010 Verdejo was crisp and clean and should prove popular during the upcoming summer months. I enjoyed the fuller-bodied 2009 Viognier Reserve done in the Condrieu style, and Stephen confirmed that this one will only taste better with time. The complex 2007 Heritage earned my star of approval for the red wines. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the elements of dark fruit, tobacco and cedar begged for a heavy beef dish.

As we sipped and savored through the afternoon, we learned that First Lady Maureen McDonnell has planted her own small vineyard at the Governor’s Mansion. Mrs. McDonnell opted to plant 15 second year vines in the Mansion’s garden. Why second year vines? The First Lady wishes to produce a wine to commemorate the Governor’s Mansion’s 200th anniversary; therefore, vines in their third year of growth would be necessary. Viticultural expert Lucie Morton provided input into the decision, so look forward to wines produced from the Governor’s garden!

The day ended too soon, and we thanked Annette Boyd, director of the Virginia wine board, for organizing the event and then inviting us to attend. Plan your own visit to these excellent wineries, and be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Winter Fare and Virginia Wines

This past weekend was probably the coldest days we’ve experienced in a winter that has been extremely cold. No wonder we sought out food and wines that kept us warm!

On Friday night, we dined on braised veal shanks (known as osso bucco) paired with the 2003 Nebbiolo Reserve from Barboursville Vineyards. Displaying the trademark brickish hue in the glass, this Nebbiolo revealed cherry, violet and tobacco aromas with lingering fruit on the finish.

Sunday was the day for Chrysalis‘ VIP members to attend a food and wine party hosted at the winery. Chef Hump Astorga had prepared a kale and Portuguese sausage soup to partner with the 2006 Rubiana and a barrel sample of the 2010 Barrel Select Norton. While we both appreciated the fruity, drink now Rubiana, it was the 2010 Barrel Select Norton that won our stars of approval. This one was a dead ringer for a lush, fruity Beaujolais made from the gamay grape. It’s sure to be a crowd favorite once it is bottled and released.

Plan your winter menus around favorite Virginia wines some of which may already be on your wine racks. If you need to stock up, visit Barboursville Vineyards and Chrysalis Vineyards; however, please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Barboursville Sauvignon Blanc

From time to time we pack up a lunch and head to the Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral. Today was one of those times. We packed sliced ham and sliced turkey to have with a baguette and goat cheese. We also packed a bottle of the 2009 Barboursville Sauvignon Blanc. We were hoping to see some fall color while enjoying our lunch and wine. Unfortunately we had to enjoy the food and wine without the fall color. It might be too soon but we mostly saw green and a bit of yellow in the trees.

We seem to enjoy every Barboursville wine we open. We enjoyed the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc as well. On the nose we noted citrus, grass, and grapefruit. In the mouth we noted citrus, a hint of minerality, and lemon zest. We noticed some very small bubbles in our glasses. We wonder if this one was topped off with some C02. The Sauvignon Blanc paired well with the sliced meats and baguette.

We are able to get to Barboursville a few times a year and always plan to taste while we’re there. If you bring your glass back, the tasting is free! We always leave with several bottles. If you visit Barboursville, pick a bottle of the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Consistency

Today we started a trip to Virginia wine country. We are concentrating on the Monticello AVA. One of our first stops was Barboursville Winery. Well crafted wines provide a consistent hallmark at Barboursville.

All of the wines are very strong at Barboursville. We were able to taste several new wines…many were 2009s. Warren and I both selected the 2009 Pinot Grigio for a gold star for the whites. On a rare occurrence, we both selected the 2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve for a gold star for the reds.

After our tasting we selected the 2009 Pinot Grigio for a closer look. On the nose we noted pineapple and pear. In the mouth we detected a stone fruit, melon, and pear. It was crisp and perfect for a warm afternoon.

If you visit Barboursville please tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you. We will continue to post from the Monticello AVA for the next few days.

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