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Celebration and Summer Favorites

In the next two posts, I will conclude a wrap up of wineries that we visited while celebrating our marriage which took place in February. Since we were in the Monticello area in June, our focus was find summer-appropriate wines; of course, we kept an eye out for wines that could be poured during cooler weather or those we thought were aging in the cellar.

Barboursville Vineyards: We always plan to stop here for a tasting; however, we always put a visit here at the top of our itinerary for the day to avoid the crowds in the tasting room. As a result, we always enjoy our tasting experience and get to ask the pesky questions that we always ask. Anyway, a mix of warm weather and light fare requires fruity, crisper wines and the Chardonnay 2014 that is cold fermented in stainless steel gets the nod here. However, I appreciated the more complex Vermentino Reserve 2013 with its notes of lemon/lime, mango, and hay as well as the Viognier Reserve 2013 with its floral aromas and tropical fruit palate. Both of these reserve wines should partner well with poultry, pork, or shellfish. I did purchase a bottle of the Nebbiolo Reserve to rest a bit on the wine rack. Lovely aromatics of violet, tobacco and plum were noted; it’s still young, so I’d advise aging for a bit or decanting to those who are more impatient!
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Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery: We were greeted by Sarah Gorman who invited to taste the latest releases in the tasting room. The 2014 Green seems destined to please in the midst of any heat wave; it is a mix of 50% Petit Manning and 50% Chardonnay. However, this is not a blend; rather, these are co-fermented. The result is a crisp wine that presents elements of lime, apple and pear. For those who enjoy vino verde wines, this one should be a pleaser. Spicy stir fry dishes or grilled poultry topped with a tangy sauce might pair better with the 2013 Quattro, a sweeter pour that is a blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, and Traminette. It boasts a residual sugar level of 2 % along with a lovely floral nose and a fruity palate. Burgers or barbecued ribs on the grill? The 2014 Rockfish Red with its ripe cherry flavors and subtle spicy note would be the perfect partner; it is made from Cabernet Franc grape—-enjoy now!
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Jefferson Vineyards: The Chardonnay 2014 was my pick for favorite summer sipper; fermented in stainless steel, it presented apple and soft peach notes as well as a refreshing acidity. Paul preferred the Rose 2014 and its palate of strawberry and melon; he envisioned a Wolftrap concert with this one, so a bottle of it made its way home. For fall or winter fare, we both thought that the Petit Verdot 2013 deserved a space on the wine rack. Its smoky nose and aromas of plum and leather gave way to flavors of plum and dark berries. I also caught a trace of mineral toward the end.
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And I’m not done yet—-more wines to recommend! In my final wrap up, I will include a visit to the new Gabriele Rausse tasting room, special barrel tastings from winemaker Stephen Barnard, and favorites from King Family. Stay tuned——in the meantime, visit the wineries reviewed in this post, and mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Tree Decorating and A6

A6One of our traditions at this time of the year is to spend a Friday evening decorating my Christmas tree. We plan to have ham, yams, and cranberry sauce. And the wine we try to have every year is the A6 from Cardinal Point Vineyard.

The A6 is a blend of viognier and chardonnay…two of our favorite grapes. The Viognier spends time in oak and the Chardonnay is stainless steel aged. This blend creates rich fruit at the beginning and a long, crisp finish. It paired well with our ham dinner. Unfortunately this was my last bottle. We’ll have to plan a trip to Cardinal Point to pick up a few more bottles. This isn’t a problem though. We always enjoy visiting Cardinal Point and getting to visit with Sarah Gorman.

Do you have a tradition of wine and tree decorating? What wine do you enjoy while decorating your tree? If you haven’t tried the A6 recently, we recommend you pick up a bottle or two and enjoy it at this time of the year. And if you visit Cardinal Point, be sure to tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Shorts, Coats, Snow Boots, and Sunscreen

Yes, the last weekend in March brought with it a variety of weather phenomena. We checked the forecast that predicted sun and warmth then cold and rain for the weekend in preparation for our trip to the Monticello area. We were indeed prepared for anything that Mother Nature could throw at us. At it turned out, it never really got that warm, the sun never came out, and the weekend ended with unexpected snow. Oh well—at least we got to sample some excellent wines while we were there. Here is a round up of three wineries that we visited:

Barboursville Vineyards: Despite the cold drizzle, we went to Barboursville with spring in mind. Perhaps that is why we both enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2013 with its notes of fresh boxwoods, lemon/lime, and shale. I also appreciated the Chardonnay Reserve 2012 that was barrel fermented and aged in oak for eight months. Pear and pineapple flavors were complimented by a fuller-mouth feel and lengthier finish. Rose lovers should checkout the dry Rose 2012 with its fruity palate and refreshing acidity. Regardless of the weather, the Cabernet Franc Reserve 2011 should be an option when considering a red wine for dinner. Classic berry elements merged with earthy nuances to present a well-balanced wine that should pair well with any grilled meats.
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Blenheim Vineyards: It’s always a treat to sample Kirtsy Harmon’s well-crafted wines. All five of the wines that we tasted were quite good, and it was tough to pick favorites. We did reach some split decisions, though. Of the white wines, Paul preferred the White Table wine, a blend of tank aged Chardonnay (53%) and Viognier (47%). Peach notes and tropical fruit flavors gave way to a fuller mouth feel than expected. Quite elegant, too—this one should prove to be versatile either as a sipper in its own right or on the dinner table. My favorite was the more complex Painted White 2012. This blend of Viognier (44%), Rousanne (30%), and Marsanne (26%) was aged for 10 months in French, American and Hungarian oak barrels. It presented a floral nose with a whiff of white pepper; a flush of tropical fruit flavors swept the palate at the end. I also enjoyed the fuller mouth feel. Elegant and complex yet unpretentious—the current label for the Painted White features something that resembles a mosh pit! The crisp, dry Rose 2012 featured strawberry and citrus characteristics; we love these kinds of Roses during the summer! Of the red wines, Paul preferred the Petit Verdot 2012 with its rich dark fruit and blueberry notes; I opted for the Painted Red 2012 (maybe I was taken back to a younger time when mosh pits were a regular part of my social life.) This blend features a twist of Mouvedre (3%); I noted scent of violets with a berry mix of blackberry and blackberry in the mouth. Other components of this complex blend are Cabernet Franc (29%), Merlot (29%), Petit Verdot (18%), and Cabernet Sauvignon (18%). We had the chance to chat with Kirsty about all things wine. She also let us sample the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. Melon and Kiwi were notes we jotted down. It’s always fun chatting with Kirsty! Paul even joined the wine club during this visit. We’ll have Blenheim wines all year round!
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Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery: A steady rain did not deter us from visiting Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery. The Green 2012 should prove to be a hit for the spring and summer. Petit Manseng (50%) and Chardonnay (50%) were co-fermented to achieve a crisp wine with grapefruit aromatics and flavors. Serve wellchilled and enjoy with shellfish. Paul is always a fan of the A6 , and this time was no exception. A blend of Viognier (59%) and Chardonnay (41%) makes for a richer wine with flavors of ripe pear and stone fruit; a hint of mineral on the finish was also detected. Grilled fair should pair well with the earthy 2012 Clay Hill Cabernet Franc with its cherry and raspberry flavors; expect a spicy finish, too. We both enjoyed the union 2012, a blend of Petit Verdot (72%), Cabernet Franc (17%), and Tannat (11%). Initial aromas of tobacco and coffee gave way to blackberry and plum notes with a tannic finish. Serve with a meaty steak and roasted mushrooms! Towards the end of our tasting Sarah Gorman arrived. We had the chance to sit and chat about what’s going on at Cardinal Point. We enjoyed the new deck at Cardinal Point. While it was raining that day, we could see how it would be a great place to enjoy spring and summer wines. Thanks for the chat Sarah!
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Check in for our next post to find out which other wineries we visited during the topsy-turvy weather weekend. In the meantime, plan to visit these wineries now that warmer weather and spring blossoms are in full swing. Mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Ginger Molasses Cookies

We are slowly working our way through the boxes of cookies we received a while ago. Recently we decided to try the Ginger Molasses Cookies from Cookies and Corks. We decided to pair them with the 2011 Green from Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery. The Green is a blend of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Petit Manseng. The wine wheel/cookie combination suggested a chardonnay. Even though the Green isn’t all Chardonnay, we thought we’d try it anyway.

Warren is the tasting expert. He suggested getting our palates wet with the wine and then tasting the cookie. The ginger of the cookie was pretty strong but notes of pineapple, pear, and mango were evident. The tropical notes from the petit manning as well as the ripe pear elements from the chardonnay play well with the ginger spice of the cookies. I thought the ginger was a bit overwhelming but Warren thought the flavors played well together.

We have plenty of cookies yet to taste so stay tuned for future posts. And we’ve been told the 2012 Green has been released so we will need to try this new vintage. If you visit Cardinal Point anytime soon be sure to check out the 2012 Green and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

One More

On our recent trip to Charlottesville we were able to visit one more winery. Our final stop was at Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery. We hadn’t visited them in quite awhile. We were looking for some favorites to add to our wine racks. We were so pleased to see Sarah Gorman when we entered the tasting room. It’s always fun to see familiar faces at our favorite tasting rooms. It’s like seeing an old friend we don’t get to see very often. There were nine wines on the tasting menu and we enjoyed them all but here are a few of our favorites.

From the list of white wines, Warren selected the 2011 Viognier. This is an all stainless steel viognier with no malolactic fermentation. Warren noted a floral nose with peach notes with stone fruit and a mineral finish on the palate. I selected the 2011 Green. This is a blend of 50% chardonnay and 50% petit manseng. I noted tropical fruit, pear, green apple and a tart finish. This wine was inspired by Vinho Verde, hence the name Green. I could see enjoying this one on the balcony with some nice cheeses.

From the red wine tastings both Warren and I selected the 2010 Union. We really enjoyed this wine when we first tasted the 2009 vintage. This one is a blend of 75% petit verdot, 13% cabernet sauvignon, and 12% cabernet franc. I’m a big fan of petit verdot so the strong presence in this blend was a plus for me. We noted blackberry, plum, licorice, and tobacco. We noticed the deep, rich color and think this wine would pair perfectly with a nice thick filet mignon.

Before leaving we had a great time catching up with Sarah. We enjoyed a glass of the viognier while Warren warmed up to one of the winery dogs. We then purchased a few of our favorites and said our goodbyes. We always enjoy our visits to Cardinal Point. If you get a chance to visit them anytime soon, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

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