King Cab Served at Breaux Vineyards

Breaux Vineyards fans may already know that each year, the winery offers a series of vertical tastings that may include a vertical flight of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, nebbiolo, meritage blends, etc. This past weekend, we attended a vertical tasting that featured the king of Bordeaux grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon, and vintages since 2005 were served. These included barrel samples from the 2009 and 2010 vintages. A three-course menu was served with the flight of wines.

Tasters were greeted to the event with a tank sample of the 2011 Cabernet Rose, a very dry rose that already presented a nose of fresh strawberries. This Old World rose was an instant hit for me; it also called to attention the winemaking style of new winemaker David Castano. I expect that Castano’s wines will be more European with a focus on full fruit expression and nuanced earthy elements that make for elegant and food-friendly wines. Keep in mind that the difficult 2011 vintage will be Castano’s first as winemaker at Breaux, so this rose provided early signs of success.

So on to the Cabernets now and food course #1: jumbo prawn over thyme and Parmesan grits topped with wilted frisse and tomato oil. These were paired with the 2005 and 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. Of the two, I preferred the muscular, earthy 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon with its dark fruit characteristics and tobacco nuances. (However, I must admit that I enjoyed the prawn even more with the rose.) The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon was lighter bodied compared to its younger sibling; Paul seemed to appreciate this one more than the 2006 and observed violet notes with cherry flavors and a smooth finish.

Course #2: grilled free-range chicken over cappellini spun with truffle cream and crimin mushrooms tossed with goddess coulis. My favorite dish of the evening! And it was paired with my favorite wine of the evening—the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. It was presented next to the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, and the contrasts were obvious. The 2007 growing season was stellar in Virginia thus producing outstanding red wines. The Breaux Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon lived up to the lofty expectations. Complex yet elegant, it delivered aromas and flavors of dark cherry, plum, cassis, and black pepper. I caught a whiff of pencil shavings; Paul described it as cedar. On the other hand, the 2008 presented a fruitier, riper profile with oaky elements that suggested it needed a bit more time to integrate more fully. The finish on this one seemed a bit shorter than the 2007. The 2008 growing season was a more classic one for Virginia that included a visit from hurricanes hence more rainfall.

And now course #3: grassfed beef braised with mushrooms over garlic croustade and wilted watercress. Barrel samples of the 2009 and 2010 vintages were partnered with this dish. Again, the contrasts were notable. The 2009 sample finished last on my list of wine preferences for the evening. “Green” was the word that I jotted down as I observed more vegetal aromas. Still young to be sure, I will be interested to taste this one down the road. The 2010, however, had potential written all over it. I would consider this one to be on par with the 2007 vintage. Though extremely young, dark fruit components were on full display as was a noted vanilla finish to suggest oak aging. This youthful kid was more than a match for the slow-cooked beef, earthy mushrooms, and stick-to-your ribs sauce.

As a New Orleans native, I appreciate lagniappe (or “something extra”), and the 2006 Late Harvest Breaux Soleil was our bonus pour of the evening. This blend of late harvest Vidal, Viognier, Semillion and Sauvignon Blanc exhibited a heady floral nose along with aromas of apricots, citrus and honey. It was certainly a lovely bonus and a nice way to finish the evening.

As we sipped and dined, winemaker David Castano introduced himself and explained that he hails from a family of winemakers in Spain. He expertly presented the wines and entertained questions from the crowd of tasters. In the process, we learned that all Cabernets at Breaux are blends from both American and French oak barrels, and Castano intends to continue this practice so as to maximize the benefits to the aging process offered by both types of barrels. As a side note, we also learned that Breaux neighbors, Grandale Farms Restaurant, will begin their own vineyard to be called Silhouette Vineyards. Details about this development were indeed scarce; needless to say, check in with Virginia Wine Time to keep abreast of the developing story.

We always enjoy wine and chatter with our fellow bloggers, and joining us for the evening were Allan Liska and Erika Johannsen from Cellarblog. I think that we all concurred on a decision that the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon was the evening’s winner. The next vertical tasting will take place in March and feature Merlot, and we will certainly check our calendars for that event. In the meantime, plan a visit to Breaux Vineyards or perhaps even reserve a seat at the next vertical tasting in March. Please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Verticals at Breaux Vineyards

This past weekend we headed to Breaux Vineyards to pick up my latest Cellar Club selections. While there we decided to do a tasting to see what had been added to the tasting menu. We were treated to a few vertical tastings of new wines and some classics. While we enjoyed all of the Breaux wines, I’ll only inform you of the wines that were included in our vertical tastings.

We began with merlots. Breaux is now tasting the 2005 and the 2006 at the tasting bar. Our favorite tasting associate Silvia, walked us through our tastings. The 2005 Merlot is a wonderful wine. We noted cherry, chocolate, dark fruit, and finish that was smooth. We thought this one could be enjoyed on its own or with food. The 2006 Merlot presented early, herby characteristics with acidic notes. We noted spice, plum, and cherry. We think this one needs another year or two to be a superb wine. We suggest you purchase it now and let it sit on your rack to enjoy in the years to come.

Our second vertical consisted of the cab sauvs from 2005, 2006, and 2008. Warren and I were split on our gold stars for the cab sauvs. I preferred the 2008 with its fresh, fruity, sweet nose with bright berries and light tannins on the tongue. The 2008 was a perfect example of the fruity characteristics I expect from a 2008 red. Warren selected the 2005 for his gold star. He described it as a classic cab sauv. He noted dark cherry, pepper, coffee and chocolate and noted the subtle oak would accompany food rather well. We both thought the 2006 presented a green characteristic (not green pepper though) with wet wood notes. We both think this one will get better with time.

Our final vertical included the 2006 Nebbiolo and the 2008 Barrel Select Nebbiolo. Our gold star went to the 2008 Barrel Select Nebbiolo. We noted a fruity nose with blackberry and dark currants in the mouth. We noted the chewy quality of this wine. The 2006 Nebbiolo presented herb, spice, tobacco, tar, and coffee. This one also had a chewy quality to it.

We really enjoyed our chance to taste so many vintages. We were excited about the Cabernet Sauvignons. So much so we are planning to attend the Cabernet Sauvignon Vertical tasting on January 14th. If you are planning to attend the event, let us know so we can all sit together. And if you visit Breaux Vineyards anytime soon, be sure to tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Snow and Wine at Breaux

Last Sunday Warren and I headed to Loudoun County for a day of horseback riding and wine tasting. We began the day at Providence Farm for a trail ride. There was still snow on the ground and fall colors in the trees. Besides the beautiful views, we saw deer, all kinds of birds, and other wild life. After our memorable trail ride, we headed to Breaux Vineyards for some wine tasting. We were also there to pick up my latest Cellar Club selections.

The snow on the ground with the fall colors on the trees made for some beautiful pictures at Breaux!

One of our favorite tasting associates Silvia conducted our tasting. We always enjoy chatting about wine with Silvia when we visit Breaux Vineyards. We’ve tasted all the wines on the regular tasting menu several times but enjoy seeing how they are evolving in the bottle. The 2010 Viognier is really evolving. We tasted it for the first time at the Wine Bloggers Conference back in July. We then tasted it again in September. This time we noticed honeysuckle really standing out. It’s a complex wine that will continue to delight our palates. The non-vintage Equation is also evolving nicely in the bottle. Each time we taste it something different arrives on our tongues. This time the plum and berry flavors really stood out. This one is a great sipper and would go well with pizza or burgers.

During our tasting we were able to chat with Jen Breaux and taste some of the Cellar Club selections. We were able to taste the 2010 Lot 10-08. This is a blend of Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc. Its light and crisp and presents citrus and stone fruit notes. It had a tart finish with a hint of merinality. I decided this one would make a great sipper for the beginning of a dinner party. I brought home two bottles for that exact reason. The 2008 Six Degrees is a blend of Nebbiolo and Barbera. Warren noted violet, plum, blackberry, dried fruit, and tobacco. He thinks it would pair well with prime rib. Yum!

After our tasting we enjoyed some of the 2010 Lot 10-08 with cheese and baguette slices. Jen treated us to a glass of the 2001 Nebbiolo! Thanks Jen! The 2001 Nebbiolo is a stand out wine. It is developing beautifully in the bottle. Its light and smooth and is effortless to enjoy. If you ever get the chance to try this one, you simply must. We had a great afternoon at Breaux enjoying the wines and running into our friends Jeff and Stacey! If you visit Breaux Vineyards anytime soon, meet some friends, enjoy the wine, join the club, and be sure to tell them Virginia WIne Time sent you!

Friday Wines

Our sipper for the evening was the 2008 Viognier from Corcoran Vineyards. We had it with a soft creamy cheese and baguette. We noted a floral nose with lime and ripe pear in the mouth. It was refreshing on the cool fall evening. It paired well with our Friday evening nibbles. We don’t think Corcoran is making a viognier anymore and it’s just sad because this one is so nice.

For dinner we had turkey cutlets and angel hair pasta. Warren selected the 2009 Breaux Vineyards Viognier. We have loved the Breaux Viogniers in the past and just knew this one would go well with our meal. On the nose we noted honeysuckle and mango. In the mouth we picked up honeysuckle and mango, tropical fruit notes. It had a full mouth feel and a lengthy finish. And yes, it went well with our meal.