Virginia Wine Time

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Tag: Corcoran Brewery

The Inexhaustible Lori Corcoran

Lori Corcoran and her husband Jim seem to have an endless supply of energy, and they are always embarking on some new adventure or innovation in the beverage industry. In addition to their winery, the Corcorans also operate a brewery and now plan to open a tavern, the Leesburg Brewing Company! Lori is the winemaker; however, she can usually be found at the tasting bar serving customers and sometimes at the taproom. She also assists other vineyard managers and wine makers in Loudoun County and is now a hands-on planner in refurbishing the tavern that will open soon in Leesburg.
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Our primary objective in meeting Lori on a windy Sunday afternoon was to sample her latest wine releases since we had done a tasting at the winery in over a year. Of course, Lori was already behind the tasting bar when we arrived, and she bid us a very warm welcome. We were treated to a full complement of wines on the menu with at least six of them from the 2011 vintage. I became a fast fan of the 2011 Apple wine; in fact, I find myself liking these more and more each time I taste them. I think that I tend to forget that Virginia does apples as well as it does grapes! Anyway, this one was made from100% Virginia and was very crisp with a nice acidity. Versatile too—pour with Virginia ham, a summer picnic, or on its own on a it day. I also enjoyed the light-bodied 2011 Cabernet Franc with its bright strawberry notes and classic pepper nuances. Several of the 2011 Francs in Virginia do seem to be of this style due to the wetter-than-normal season, but they should not be dismissed. Compare them to a Cabernet Franc from the Chinon region of France, and you might be surprised. These lighter, brighter style Cabernet Francs are very fruity and accessible making them quite versatile with food pairings. However, Paul and I both concurred that the 2010 Petit Verdot was the winner on the menu. Plummy aromas and flavors merged with spicy notes to reveal a fuller-bodied wine. Its tannic presence suggested a need for food, and I’d suggest a leg of lamb.
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Lori also treated us to a sampling of her dessert wines. Paul tends to shy away from these wines, but he did linger quite a while on the 2008 Cello with its lemony nose and herbal notes. It is made from 100% Petit Manseng that perhaps accounts for its fuller feel in the mouth. Flavor is not lacking with this one. My own favorite was the 2011 USB, a port style wine made from Chambourcin grapes. When seated beside a fireplace with a chocolate dessert (or a cigar), the USB should a perfect partner.

As we sipped and savored, Lori clued us in on future releases and plans for the Corcoran operation. Readers who were fans of Lori’s excellent Chardonnays will be glad to know that Chardonnay will return to Corcoran Vineyards! Look for Pinot Noir, too! These grapes were grown on the Swedenburg estate, and the Lori promises that this will be an excellent Pinot. We also learned that Lori plans to open a tavern in Loudoun County; in fact, the facility already exists and will be refurbished (and renamed) to comply with the new ownership. Of course, Corcoran wines and other Loudoun County wines will be poured there as well as beers brewed at Corcoran brewery.
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We also went over to the winery to get a special taste of Lori’s white port from “the barrel.”

And from there, we went to the brewery! The brewery was already crowded with tasters, and several beers from light-bodied to dark ales were on tap for sampling. We did sample a couple of brews, and one was a light-bodied holiday wine; the other, a darker brew flavored with vanilla. We’re not beer experts, and I tend to enjoy beer with summer fare like burgers or with Mexican fare. With that in mind, I did trend toward the lighter-style beer. We do intend to return for a more complete tasting (and maybe with a beer drinker in tow.)

In addition to various ventures in the food and beverage industry, Lori is also a full-time Mom, and I have to admire her unlimited supply of energy and enthusiasm. She is not afraid of innovation and seems to have a knack for understanding what works. We wish her luck in her new endeavor.

We know that we will return to sample the latest pours (and brews) at Corcoran Vineyards and Brewery. I, for one, am excited about a return of the Chardonnay and will be anxious to taste the upcoming release. In the meantime, readers should plan a visit to both the winery and brewery. Please mention to Lori that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

New Wines at Corcoran Vineyards

A few Sundays ago we headed to Corcoran Vineyards to get a taste of the recently released wines they have on their tasting menu. Lori and Jim Corcoran have been working hard on some new wines. It’s always great to see Lori and Jim. We enjoy chatting with them about the Virginia wine industry. When we got there the tasting room was full of tasters and the lawn outside the tasting room was full of people enjoying a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Lori was conducting the tastings that day and walked us through the new wines. Of course we began with the whites. First up was the 2009 Benevino Riesling (named for the vineyard where it is grown). This one is dry with hints of lemon-lime with some nice acidity. The next white was the 2010 Apple wine. It has 1% residual sugar and tastes like you just bit into a juicy apple. The 2009 Traminette was next. This wine had some mandarin orange zest added and it really comes through on the nose and on the tongue. I also noted a hint of spice as well. We finished the white wines with the 2008 Cello. This one is Corcoran’s version of an Italian Cello. It’s made from Petit Manseng with lemon-zest. It’s very lemony. It will be featured at Landsdowne as an aperitif. We could see having this one with some goat cheese on a slice of baguette. All of these whites made me think of warm summer days on the deck, patio, or balcony. I could see enjoying a glass of any of them on my balcony. All of the fruit wines are produced in limited quantities so make sure you get yours soon!

We then moved on to the reds. We began with the 2009 Hunters Run Rose. You know we enjoy this one since we’ve written about it before. You can’t go wrong with this Rose. You’ll enjoy it. Next up was the 2009 Chambourcin. We have enjoyed Lori’s Chambourcin in the past and this one didn’t disappoint. I’m not a huge Chambourcin fan in general but enjoyed this one. We noted cherry, cranberry, nice acidity and a smooth finish. Lori informed us that the 2010 Chambourcin has been bottled but will not be released for some time. The 2009 is ready to enjoy now and we agree. Next up was the 2009 Cabernet Franc. This is a classic cab franc. We noted dark cherry, raspberry, with some hints of spice and pepper. Yum! Next up was the 2010 RAZ. This is a blend of merlot and raspberry. When you bring this one to your nose you get the raspberry right away. It follows through on the tongue as well. This one should be served cold and maybe with some dark chocolates. The final red was the 2010 USB. This is Corcoran’s port-style wine created from 100% Chambourcin and aged in Whiskey barrels. I was expecting high alcohol on this one but it’s only 13%. Of course you get the hint of whiskey but mostly I noted bramble berries. The name is interesting as well. Jim Corcoran said USB doesn’t stand for Universal System Bus but that it means Universal Sweet Beverage. I got quite a chuckle from this because I know what a USB port is…from the computer world. Love it!

After our tasting we were able to chat more with Lori and Jim and (as noted before) we met and chatted with Tom Johnson from Nova Ridge Vineyards. Lori was telling us about how her new labels. They are greener because they only appear on the front of the bottle. I think you’ll enjoy the new look. We left with several bottles of wine with promises to let Lori and Jim know when we enjoy them. If you haven’t been to Corcoran lately, this is the time to plan a trip. With such a diverse tasting menu, there’s something for everyone. And by the way, did you know Corcoran also has a brewery? We’ll plan to visit the brewery soon. When you visit Corcoran Vineyards be sure to tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

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