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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery released Un•ion on Saturday. Friday evening we had a chance to try it and tweet our impressions of the wine. Un•ion is a blend of 40% Petit Verdot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 30% Tannat. Cardinal Point made only 140 cases of this wine. It will retail for $25. Warren selected the food for this tasting and decided on grilled lamb chops, roasted mixed veggies, and potatoes.
We noted the color to be dense garnet with lengthy legs on the glass. The nose presented anise, violets, and blackberry. We opened the Un•ion an hour before tasting. This is a young wine and we noticed the nose was a little tight. In the mouth we picked up dark plum, blackberry, dark cherry, a little licorice, and some spice. It also has a lengthy finish. By the time we finished tasting the Un•ion an hour and a half later, it had really opened up and we were enjoying it by itself. It paired very well with our food selections. Warren noted the Un•ion could play well with gamey meats and cheeses. As noted, this wine is very young and could really benefit from time. We suggest getting two bottles…one for right now and one for a year from now. When you drink it now, open it a few hours ahead of time. It will pair beautifully with your meal. If you get to Cardinal Point anytime soon to pick up a few bottles of the Un•ion, tell them Virginia WIne Time sent you!
Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery will be releasing the 2009 Un•ion on Saturday. We were lucky enough to get a sneak peak back in March and take a bottle home. As part of the release this weekend, we’ll be opening and tasting our bottle tonight LIVE on Twitter around 7:00 pm. Un•ion is a blend of 40% Petit Verdot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 30% Tannat. There are only 140 cases and it will retail for $25. Be sure to follow our Twitter feed around 7:00 tonight to read our impressions of the wine. You can follow Cardinal Point on Twitter and on Facebook as well. Tune in this evening!
Our cider tasting event was a blast, but we were able to fit in a couple of wine tasting too. Along the way was Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery and we were fairly certain that our last visit was well over a year or so ago. We also gambled that Sarah Gorman, sister of winemaker Tim Gorman, would be in the tasting room, so decided to stop by for a tasting and visit.
And indeed Sarah was in the tasting room upon our arrival! Sarah conducted our tasting and filled us in the latest happenings at Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery. Five white wines were offered for tasting, and we both agreed that teh 2009 A6 was the gold-star winner. A blend of Viognier and Chardonnay, it presented pear and honey characteristics with a longer finish. I detected some cedar on the nose too. Nice for spring—I’d serve with shellfish now that crabcake season is around the corner. Sarah offered a comparison tasting between the 2008 Barrel Select Chardonnay and the 2009 Barrel Select Chardonnay, and I found the 2009 vintage to be more vibrant with apple, pear, and honey elements and a rich mouth feel. Paul became more nostalgic when he sipped the 2009 Quattro, a blend of Riesling, Gewuztraminer, Viognier, and Traminette.This is our traditional Christmas tree trimming wine that we serve with baked ham; in fact, Paul began to hum White Christmas as he brought his nose to the glass.
Of the red wines, an intriguing blend was the 2008 Cab F+Vio, and as the label implies it is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Viognier. Certainly a lighter bodied red wine, it offered bright red berry aromas and flavors with some spice notes too. A nice sipper especially for those who do not like red wines, this could also be served with herbed poutry or lamb chops. However, the ultimate favorite for both of us was the yet to be released 2009 Union, a blend similar to the impressive “3” blend. It’s a blend of three varietals from Cardinal Point. Tim Gorman, the winemaker created it on his own. Sarah gave us a top-secret sample of this one, so we’ll keep quiet on the details until the release date. Like suspense? For now, we can say that this is a blend of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Tannat. Otherwise, we’ll keep readers posted on this one as it develops!
As always, it was a pleasure to sip and chat with Sarah Gorman. Sarah confirmed what we’ve heard along the wine trail about 2010—lower yields but spectacular fruit quality. Expect good things from the vintage. With spring in the air, stop by Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery to enjoy a tasting of their current releases, and mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.