On Saturday we attended the Merlot Vertical Tasting at Breaux Vineyards. We try to attend the verticals at Breaux as often as we can. We always have a great time and thoroughly enjoy the wines and the food pairings. This time, as usual, we weren’t disappointed. We were also so pleased to see so many of our wine friends attending as well. Frank Morgan from Drink What You Like, Erica and Kirsten from Cellar Blog, and our long time wine friend Susan were all in attendance.
The vertical began with an introduction by Jen Breaux. We then heard from winemaker David Pagan Castano about the wines we’d be tasting. The years of merlot we tasted were 2002, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, and a barrel sample from 2012. The wonderful food pairings were provided by Grandale Farm Restaurant. Throughout the tasting we could taste the wines as we wanted and try different vintages with the different courses.
The first course was local pulled pork and cremini mushrooms over a gruyere onion risotto cake with plum demi glaze. With this course we preferred the 2010 and the 2012 vintages.
The second course was caper and mustard braised chicken over tarragon faro with frisee and scallion oil. The wines we preferred for this course were the 2006 and the 2002.
The third course was beef and bacon stewed over angel hair pasta, Brussels sprouts, and basil in a red wine tomato sauce. This was my favorite course! Both Warren and I paired this course with the 2002, 2007, and 2010.
The final course was a Breaux Lineage 1st Edition infused truffle. It was served with the Lineage 1st Edition.
During the different courses we were able to ask David and Jen questions about the vintages and hear his take on the different conditions that helped produce each vintage. Jen Breaux treated everyone to a special treat in honor of Frank Morgan joining the vertical. We each had a glass of the 2002 Merlot Reserve. Everyone was impressed with what an amazing wine it is. I was pleased to taste it because I have one on my rack and was glad to see it can stay on the rack a bit longer.
David informally surveyed the crowd about our favorites. While there were lots of answers, it seemed the 2002, 2007, and 2010 were the favorites. They certainly were our favorites as well as the 2002 Reserve.
Before leaving we purchased our favorites and posed for pictures. It was great to see Jen, David, Bruce and Silvia. And of course it’s always great to see all our wine friends! If you haven’t been to Breaux lately, check out their events page. You might find one you’d like to attend. And when you do, mention Virginia Wine Time sent you!
On Sunday we braved the cold temperatures and threats of ice to get to a few wineries to pick up club wines. I had wines to pick up at Breaux and Doukenie and we thought our first winery trip in 2014 would be to pick up those wines.
After some icy travel, we made it to Breaux. We were so glad to see our wine friends Bruce and Silvia. Bruce conducted our tasting. We tasted the club wines and the regular tasting menu wines. We have tasted many of them before but were reminded how much we enjoy them. The 2012 Viognier stood out with the floral nose and honeysuckle notes. I also enjoyed the new version of Equation. It is a new blend of mostly 2011 reds. I decided to bring a bottle home for an evening when we are looking for a sipper to go with pizza or burgers. We had the chance to taste the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon to compare it to the 2006 vintage. I preferred the 2010. We noted sweet tobacco, raisiny fruit, jammy and cherry notes. It could use a little more time but I thought it was ready to enjoy now.
After our tasting we decided to enjoy a glass of wine with a baguette and cheese. Warren enjoyed the Cellar Selection 2012 Reflection and I enjoyed the 2012 Vidal Blanc. We are always looking for white wines to add to our racks so we brought home a bottle of each of these. We always enjoy our time at Breaux and we take advantage of the benefits of being club members.
We then headed to Doukenie to pick up my club wines there. The ice hadn’t let up a bit. We still made it there safely. As a club member we get a complimentary tasting when we pick up our wines. We decided to do just that.
If I remember correctly, we tasted the 2012 Pinot Gris, the 2010 Le Vin Rouge, the 2011 Merlot, the 2011 Cabernet Franc, and the 2011 Vintner’s Reserve. The Pinot Gris reminded me of warmer days. I kept thinking I would enjoy it more on a warm spring day while sitting on the balcony. Those days will return in a few months. The 2011 Cabernet Franc tickled my taste buds the most. I enjoyed the cherry notes, black fruit flavors and the smooth ending. We enjoyed it so much we enjoyed a glass of it before getting back on the road to brave the icy weather on the way home.
We headed up with almost a half a case of wine! If you haven’t been to Breaux Vineyards or Doukenie Winery lately, plan a trip in the new year. And when you do visit, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
So we’re back on the wine trails and taking advantage of some crisp weather for this time of the year. Warm breezy days have replaced the usually hot muggy weather, and we’re not complaining! We still have summer activities planned, and we are still on the quest for summer wines. Here are a few recommendations from this weekend’s tastings:
8 Chains North: Our favorite summer white wine here was the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc made from estate grown grapes. It was half fermented and aged in neutral French oak barrels and half in stainless steel. We appreciated its aromas of lemon/lime and hay; we also detected a mineral note. Crisp and refreshing due to its nice acidity, this should be perfect on a hot day with shellfish or poultry. I also liked the dry 2012 Pink Lady, a rose wine with delightful strawberry aromas and flavors. Big juicy steaks on the grill? Try the 2010 Furnace Mountain Red, a blend of Malbec, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Elements of dark plum and blackberry and tobacco prevailed; I also detected some anise in the mouth. Full bodied and still young to boot, so open early or decant if you intend to enjoy this one now.
Breaux Vineyards: 2012 Reflection is a new release for Breaux Vineyards and called Reflection because it represents the best representation of Breaux’s terrior. A blend of Viognier, Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc, Vidal Blanc, and Chardonnay, Reflection was very aromatic with notes of orange blossom and honeysuckle; tropical fruit flavors pleased the palate. I labeled this one the ultimate summer white wine. I must admit that we tasted this one as part of the complimentary tasting for club members; as part of that tasting, we also sampled the 2012 Zydeco, a blend of Chambourcin (90%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%). Very fruity with tobacco notes, this softer and easy to drink red wine should be perfect for a summer barbeque or picnic.
Hillsborough Vineyards: The golden hued 2011 Carnelian earned my summer wine award here. The Carnelian is made from 100% Rousanne grapes. Floral aromas with notes of lime and fresh hay make for a wine that is perfect on a warm day and paired with fish, pork, or gamey cheeses. The Bloodstone 2010 made from Fer Servadou (94%) and Tannat (6%) should please red wine sippers who prefer a fruitier red wine to pair with grilled fare. A fruity nose and palate were complemented by whiffs of violet and dried herbs.
Be sure to visit these wineries to stock up on your own summer favorites. Be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
We attended a Cabernet Sauvignon vertical tasting at Breaux Vineyards this past weekend. The event was held in the newly opened Acadia room, the spacious events facility located on the Breaux property. We tasted Cabernets that dated back to the 2000 vintage with the 2010 vintage the latest one sampled. A three course lunch allowed tasters to enjoy the wines with appropriately paired foods.
Winemaker David Pagan Castano was on hand to present the wines and then to lead discussions on the wines, the particular characteristics of each vintage, and the weather that helped to produce them. I will present the courses and the wines that were paired with each course before presenting my favorite Cabernets from the session:
First Course: Italian sausage and local lamb brochette over arugula tossed in black cherry vinaigrette with Maytag bleu cheese – Paired with 2005 and 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon
(Half eaten in the picture.)
Second Course: chicken and cheese dumplings stewed with turnip, rutagbaga, and cheese dumplings – Paired with 2008 and 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
(Again, half eaten in the picture.)
Third Course: Sous-vide beef tenderloin sliced over a sweet potato pancake and kale with balsamic Cabernet semi-glace – Paired with 2006 and 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon barrel sample
My favorites throughout the afternoon tended to be the bolder-bodied Cabernets and hence the title of the post. I enjoyed the Cabs that grabbed my attention. The smoky 2000 Cabernet was rich with earthy aromatics that included tobacco and cedar. However, my favorite was the still-evolving 2007 Cabernet. Like its older sibling from the 2000 vintage, it presented tobacco notes and earthy nuances with dark plum flavors. Its finish was quite lengthy too. Readers may recall that the 2007 harvest was one of the best in recent years, and there was no doubting the age-worthiness of this one. Following the same path with a similar profile was the 2010 Cabernet barrel sample with its sweet tobacco and licorice notes.
Of course, the food enhanced the tasting experiences, and I gravitated toward the savory components of each dish as much as I did toward the bolder wines. A forkful of lamb and blue cheese dipped in the vinaigrette paired better with the 2000 Cabernet. A slice of the herbed cheese dumpling eaten with a piece of the stewed chicken opened up the fruit flavors of the 2007 Cabernet while smoothing its tannic presence. The beef and kale provided both flavors and texture to enhance the spiciness of the 2010 Cabernet barrel sample and tamed its still youthful tannins.
Paul’s preferences were completely different than mine. He trended toward the fruitier Cabernets and preferred the 2005 Cabernet with the spicy Italian sausage. His favorite Cabernet, though, was the 2008 vintage. He enjoyed the ripe plum flavors and vibrant acidity of this one, and found it more enjoyable with a piece of the stewed chicken. In Paul’s view, the 2006 Cabernet with its more herbal components matched well with the sweet potato pancake.
At the end of our tasting session, David conducted a poll for favorites amongst the crowd, and it seemed as though the 2007 was the winner with the 2000 a close second. In the end, the Cabs that grabbed were the most popular! Fellow wine enthusiast and friend Susan McHenry was also seated at our table, and we all had a wonderful time comparing tasting notes. I must also note that the Acadia room added a dash of elegance and charm to the event. Glittering crystals that dangled from chandeliers provided a Southern element to the facility while elaborate crown molding and walls painted soft yellow added cozy, antebellum appeal. A New Orleans boy myself, I felt at home in the Acadia room.
The vertical tasting ended with Lagniappe, a New Orleans term that roughly means “something extra” or a “bonus”. For tasters, a sample of the port-style Lineage was that something extra that was enjoyed in the barrel room with a slice of brie cheese.
Breaux Vineyards will host a vertical tasting of Merlot and Nebbiolo in the coming months, to be sure to stay posted for those events. Of course, always plan a visit to Breaux Vineyards if a trip to Loudoun County wineries is on the weekend agenda; please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
A few weeks ago we attended the Cellar Club pick up party at Breaux Vineyards. I was behind picking up my shipments so it was time to collect my bottles of club wines. Warren’s parents were in town so we brought them with us to taste the wines and see the new events space that was previewed that weekend. Our wine friend Susan McHenry was there as well! It’s always fun to enjoy wine events with friends and family.
At the pick up party we were able to taste the 2009 Barrel Select Nebbiolo. We noted violets, tobacco, and a spicy ending. We also tasted the Lineage Version 1. This is Breaux’s first port style wine. I am not a big fan of ports but Warren tasted it and thinks it will be a excellent dessert wine for a future dinner party. During the pick up party we were also able to taste the 2011 Rose, the 2009 Meritage D-Block East, and the 2009 Merlot. I am a big fan of the 2009 Merlot and it was tasting even better this time. It has benefitted from time in the bottle. I’m sure it will only get better with time.
After our pick up party tasting, we were able to take a tour of the new events space. Besides a new production space, the building includes a private tasting cellar that is an English Pub-style area. This area will eventually be used to club events and private tastings. The flagship space is The Acadia. It’s a huge room with a large fireplace, crystal chandeliers, and large windows with views of the vineyards. Everyone will be happy to hear there are PLENTY of new bathrooms! We are hoping to attend the first event in the new space in January, the Cabernet Vertical. Breaux is expanding and the expansion is beautiful. Here are some pictures from our tour.
After our tour we did a regular tasting. We tasted several of the new 2011s. After our tasting we enjoyed the gumbo weekend with bowls of gumbo, cheese and a nice warm baguette. We had a wonderful day at Breaux tasting wines, seeing the new building, and spending time with friends and family. If you haven’t been to Breaux lately, you need to plan a trip to taste all the new wines and see the new building. You will be impressed! And tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!