Wine Pick Up at Deplane Cellars

After our lasagna lunch at Naked Mountain we decided to stop at Depaplane Cellars to pick up our club wines and enjoy a tasting with our friends Jill and Michael.

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Our favorites from the tasting were the 2013 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay and the 2012 Williams Gap. The 2013 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay presented apple and pear notes and a lightly creamy ending. The 2012 Williams Gap is a Bordeaux style blend of 4 of the 5 Bordeaux grapes. The only one missing is Malbec. We noted tobacco, earthy notes with blackberry and raspberry. It had a toasty oak finish with pepper hints.

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After our tasting we decided to enjoy the 2013 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay and the 2013 Melange Rouge with some nibbles. Before leaving we picked up our wine club wines and a few other bottles. We always enjoy our time at Delaplane Cellars. If you haven’t been lately, plan a trip soon. And tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

A Melange of Sensory Experiences

What a lovely Sunday we all just enjoyed! Paul and I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and packed a light picnic lunch to enjoy in the Bishop’s Garden adjacent to the National Cathedral. Once there, we secured a private bench located just above the rose garden; a heavenly blue sky was speckled with fluffy white clouds and young green leaves swayed to the gentle flow of a refreshing breeze. The scent of blossoms fragranced the air as cerulean and lavender hued petals accented the landscape. As we unpacked our simple lunch that consisted of turkey and ham sandwiches spiced with peach chutney, the cathedral bells began to peal and announced that mid day had arrived. Of course, a bottle of Virginia wine enhanced the pleasant overload of sensory experiences. What did we bring along with us? The appropriately labeled Melange Blanc 2013 from Delaplane Cellars. The mélange (or blend) includes Chardonnay, Viognier, and Petit Manseng. Soft peach and pear notes were met with a whiff of citrus; tropical fruit flavors and a hint of almond at the finish presented a nice yet refreshing feel in the mouth. Paul recorded a brief recollection of our experience that you can enjoy below.

Plan your own blend of sensory experiences, and be sure to mention them to us. Perhaps you can do this while sampling the latest pours at Delaplane Cellars; after all, they do have a gorgeous view. If that is the plan, please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

No Wind, No Rain, Nor Winter’s Cold….

Can stop us, babe—from the wine trails, of course. We have been eager to get back on the wine trails, but this year’s winter weather has ranged from an icy mix to snow to thunderous downpours with fog all along the way. Needless to say, these conditions have limited our time on the road. However, we donned our raincoats and wellingtons and managed to visit Delaplane Cellars and Philip Carter Winery of Virginia this past weekend.

Delaplane Cellars: We always enjoy visiting here if only to admire the gorgeous views from the tasting room. And the wines are pretty good to boot! The 2012 Chardonnay remains a favorite of mine and presented pear notes with a hint of toast and a creamy mouth feel. Only five bottles remained as of Saturday, but they were down to four when we left—guess why. The 2011 Merlot and 2011 Cinq3 remain on the tasting menu, and these were both lighter bodied and fruity with earthy elements. However, the 2012 Tannat proved to be more complex. This was bottled in August 2012 and is therefore still quite young— it is tannat after all. Smoky aromas with a whiff of coffee and sweet tobacco were noted with along flavors of blackberry and blueberry; it was also quite chewy. Buy now and drink later; if you can’t wait, I’d follow the advice on the tasting sheet and decant at least 30 minutes before serving.
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Philip Carter Winery: It was a busy afternoon here, and we ran into winemaker Jeremy Ligon as we entered. Jeremy was about to conduct a wine class (hence the crowd), but he did take time to give us a warm welcome. We were left in the hands of Lauren Forlano (her father owns Forlano’s Market), our very capable tasting educator. The well-balanced 2012 Chardonnay remained our favorite of the white wines with it flavors of ripe pear and melon. A touch of Viognier (25%) provided a tropical note. Partial malolactic fermentation and aging in neutral French oak barrels produced a creamier mouth feel with a hint of toast at the end. Dreaming of spring or summer? The citrusy 2012 Falconwood White or the fruity 2013 Governor Fauquier will fit the bill. Both conjured dreams of warm breezes and picnics. The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon proved to be our favorite red wine. This is a more recent release, and it took quite a bit of swirling to coax the nose; however, we did note aromas of violet, chocolate, and dark fruit. It was also quite tannic, but the tannins will soften over time. As advised above, buy now and drink later; however, if you insist on drinking now, decant and serve with a nice steak and roasted veggies.
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After our tasting, we enjoyed the 2012 Chardonnay beside the cozy fireplace as we watched the cold rain cascade from ominous dark clouds.
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Stay tuned as we navigate the ever-changing winter weather to sample the current releases at local wineries. Oh—the title of this post? Perhaps we will let readers guess. Clue—a famous Motown hit sung by a legendary diva at Wolftrap last summer. Ponder the possibilities over a favorite glass of Virginia wine and let us know. In the meantime, visit these Virginia wineries and mention know that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Visiting Delaplane Cellars

On a gorgeous Sunday morning we headed out to Delaplane Cellars to pick up Warren’s club wines. We decided to taste the current line up of wines on the tasting menu.
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We tasted the 2012 Rose before but this time it seemed to have developed nicely since our last taste. It’s a blend of merlot, cab franc, and cab sauv. It was crisp and clean with strawberry notes throughout.
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The 2011 Merlot seems to be coming around as well. In the past it has not been our favorite but this time we noted flavors we had not savored before. Black cherry notes seem to prevail with a hint of minerality. We’re glad to see it’s coming together as time goes on.
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After picking up Warren’s wine club wines we each enjoyed a glass of wine with a baguette and some cheese. Being a club member and being on the “pick up” option insures we visit Delaplane once a quarter. It’s nice to keep up with how the wines are developing and get to taste the current line up. If you haven’t been to Delaplane Cellars lately, plan a trip and we you do, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Delaplane Cellars

After the special release tasting we attended at Linden Vineyards recently, we decided to visit a few other wineries in the area. Our first stop was Delaplane Cellars. Being a club member and electing to pick up the shipments instead of having them shipped makes it possible to visit Delaplane often to see what’s new and taste the most current wines. Warren had a shipment to pick up so we decided to visit Delaplane.
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Jim Dolphin was there that day and conducted our tasting. The day we attended they were having a special pairing with some of the wines on the tasting menu. Our first wine was the 2012 Rose paired with a pork roulette with strawberry preserves. We noted strawberry, melon, and spice. This would make a nice sipping wine for a concert at Wolf Trap. The second wine/food pairing was the 2012 Viognier paired with toasted cornbread and local honey. Warren and I both thought this was a classic viognier with a floral nose, and honeysuckle and apricot in the mouth. The cornbread was a nice touch with the viognier. We really enjoyed this viognier. The final wine/food pairing was the 2011 Cinq3 paired with Caromont Red Rowe cheese. This one presented some bright fruit flavors with notes of smoke, coffee, and menthol. While I enjoyed the wine, I didn’t care for the cheese so I let Warren finish my piece with his wine. While not paired with foods, we also tasted the 2012 Melange Blanc and the 2011 Merlot.
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During our tasting we chatted with Jim about wine of course and he said of the 2010 and 2011 vintages, “It was the best of times and the worst of times.” That pretty much sums up the differences between the two seasons. Some of the 2010s still aren’t quite ready while the 2011s are wines to enjoy right now. During our conversation with Jim, he let us taste the 2012 Petit Manseng. The petit manseng has 5% RS but is integrated so well you are barely aware of the sweetness. We noted tropical fruit and a nice mouth weight. Jim also let us taste the 2010 Williams Gap. I remember loving this one at the barrel tasting a few years ago so I was curious to see how it was developing in the bottle. The first sip informed me it was coming along nicely. I enjoyed it now as much as I did then. We noted some nice fruit, anise, tobacco, and developing smooth ending. We’ll need to try to get a bottle of this for the wine rack sometime.
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With our tasting and conversation complete, we decided to enjoy a glass of the 2012 Viognier with the wonderful views. We enjoyed the viognier so much that we included it as part of the #vawinechat Twitter tasting on May 2nd. Lots of Virginia wine bloggers and winemakers joined in for a Twitter tasting of Virginia viogniers. We enjoyed the 2012 Viognier as part of the tasting. We shared our impressions of the wine on Twitter for others to enjoy. Join us on Twitter sometime and participate in the #vawinechat events. The next one is on May 16th. We’ll be tasting and Twitting about Virginia red blends. And the next time you visit Delaplane Cellars be sure to tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Delaplane Barrel Tasting

A few weekends ago we had the chance to attend the Delaplane Cellars Winemaker’s Dozen Club Spring Barrel Tasting. Barrel tastings are a great way to see how certain vintages are developing. You can often see how they’ll turn out when they are eventually bottled. We always enjoy the opportunity to see how the wines are developing in the barrel.

The barrel tasting began with a taste of the 2011 Rose. It was paired with several cheeses and crackers. We noted spicy characteristics. It paired well with the various cheeses. While tasting the Rose we ran into some of our wine trail buddies, Susci and Rick. We decided to follow them at the barrel tasting.

The first barrel was the 2010 Springlot. This taste was paired with chilled smoked bacon and potato bisque shooters. We noted smoke, raspberry, and blackberry on the nose. We noted a nice color, floral nuances, medium tannins and pepper on the finish.

The second barrel was the 2010 Delaplane. This one was paired with the world’s smallest filet mignon with horseradish cream. This is the first estate blend for Delaplane. It’s spending time in French and Virginian oak. It’s 50% merlot, 33% cabernet sauvignon, and 17% cabernet franc. We noted blackberry, raspberry, sweet tobacco, and a vanilla finish. This one quickly became our favorite. We were very impressed since this is Jim Dolphin’s first estate blend. Nice job!

Next up was the 2010 Williams Gap. It was paired with BBQ’d shrimp and grits. We noted mixed bramble berry, a smokey nose, tobacco, leather, anise, and a caramel finish.

The 2010 Syrah was the next barrel. It was paired with Delaplane risotto stuffed mushrooms. We noted coffee, vanilla, oak notes, dried herbs, a hint of sweetness, dark fruit and a caramel finish. There are six barrels of this that will be all blended together before bottling.

The final was the 2010 Tannat that was just recently bottled. This was paired with roasted Virginia lamb shoulder “Gyro” with Tzatziki. We noted smoke, anise, and dark berry fruit. It’s a bit young but it was just bottled in March. This one will benefit from some time on your rack before opening.

We thoroughly enjoyed the barrel tasting. And it was even more fun with our wine friends. The wines are developing nicely in the barrels at Delaplane. We are looking forward to the bottling of the 2010 Delaplane. It was our favorite and the one that impressed us the most. We’ll be picking up several bottles once it’s released. If you haven’t been to Delaplane lately, plane a trip and see what’s new. And tell the Virginia Wine Time sent you!

A rare treat…me in a picture on the blog! Don’t get used to it! :)

Wine and Landscapes at Delaplane Cellars

Paul and I have always been impressed with the wines produced by Jim Dolphin at Delaplane Cellars, and since our last visit to the winery, Delaplane Cellars has earned numerous accolades of wine critics. Feature articles in newspapers and magazines added to the demand for wines from the relatively new winery in Virginia. And if the wines were not enough to visit Delaplane Cellars, the incredible mountain views offer further incentive.

Success has been wonderful to Delaplane Cellars; in fact, it has been too good. On this particular visit, most of their wines were sold out! This includes the heralded Honah Lee and Maggie’s Viogniers as well as the acclaimed Syrah. Four wines were available for tasting, and two were from Delaplane Cellars—the full-bodied 2010 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay and the complex red 2009 William’s Gap. To fill in the gaps, two offerings from Vintage Ridge were also available tasting, a 2008 Merlot and a 2009 Cabernet Franc. I favored both Delaplane wine, especially the Chardonnay; Paul enjoyed the Merlot as well as the Chardonnay.

As we tasted, our tasting associates updated us on the upcoming releases. Look forward to red wine releases in late winter, and these will include a Syrah, the blended Cinq, and a Tannat. An off-dry Petit Manseng will also be released at roughly the same time. Viogniers? Bottlings from the Honah Lee and Maggie’s Vineyards should be available in the late spring.

From the tasting bar, the winter landscape beckoned, and we shifted our attention to wine, food and gazing. We opted to enjoy a lunch of soft, creamy white cheese with warm bread and a bottle of the 2010 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay. We appreciated its flavors of apples, pears and honey; its full-bodied mouth feel complemented the creamy texture of the cheese. As we sipped and nibbled, we appreciated the often under-appreciated winter landscape that allowed us to view blue-tinted mountains on a very sunny afternoon.

We will be certain to visit Delaplane Cellars in the spring and summer to sample upcoming releases. In the meantime, enjoy the quiet of wintertime with a trip to Delaplane Cellars. Be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Friday Evening Selections

We began the evening with the 2008 Chardonnay from Gray Ghost. We paired it with a creamy St. Andre’s cheese and baguette. On the nose we picked up pear and apple and subtle toasty notes. In the mouth we noted similar fruit characteristics. The six months in oak provides a nice round mouth feel. It certainly complimented our choice of nibbles.

For dinner we had sirloin steaks, veggies, and wild rice. We selected the 2008 Cinq from Delaplane Cellars. Upon opening this one I wondered if it would live up to the fruit of the 2008 reds that I’d been noticing lately. On the nose we noted raspberry, cherry, anise, carmel toffee, and crushed herbs. On the tongue we noticed raspberry, cherry, and I noticed an oak presence at the end that manifested itself as tasted carmel. I also noticed the color had a purple edge even though it only had 1% petit verdot. I think this one did live up to the fruit of the 2008 reds that I’ve been enjoying lately. The Cinq is a very nice red wine that paired well with our meal.

Enjoy these wines and more from Gray Ghost Vineyards and Delaplane Cellars. And if you visit them anytime soon, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Bright Horizons at Delaplane Cellars

A Happy New Year to our readers, and away we go with yet another year of tasting fine wines from Virginia. We started the new year with a sampling at a new winery—Delaplane Cellars located in Delaplane, Virginia. It was a cold and chilly afternoon, of course, but we bundled up and braved the winter’s freezing blast of frigid air. We were not disappointed; the new kid on the block, Delaplane Cellars, offers an impressive lineup of wines.

Delaplane Cellars opened the weekend after Thanksgiving, 2009. At opening, it offered about 1200 cases of wine. Current offerings are produced from grapes grown on Virginia vineyards. Autumn was our tasting associate, and she skillfully guided us through our tasting. Armed gold stars, we swirled and sipped. The white wines were all quite solid. For Chardonnay lovers, the 2008 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay should prove to be quite a treat. Done in a Burgundian style, this one presented pear flavors with a subtle but noticeable toasty finish. Paul’s decorated the 2008 Honah Lee Viognier with his gold star. He noted a dry crispness with peach flavors and concluded that this Viognier was treated in stainless steel tanks. However, Paul was surprised to learn that the 2008 Honah Lee Viogner was fermented and then aged for about 10 months in neutral French oak barrels. I designated this one as a classic sipper that could pair well with lighter fare. My own favorite? The 2008 Maggie’s Vineyard Viognier. This one presented a floral nose with rich peach flavors and a creamy texture not unlike a full-bodied Chardonnay. Lobster or chicken with cream sauce for dinner? This Viognier would be the perfect partner.

Red wine and winter seem like a natural pairing. Beef stew, roasted game, braised meats all served by a roaring fire—you get the picture. Red wine offerings at Delaplane Cellars might complete the menu. Paul’s gold star was awarded to the 2007 Old World Cabernet Franc with its mixed berry characteristics and a seductive tobacco nose. Some blending with small portions of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon add complexity to this offering. A bolder option may be found with the 2007 Left Bank Bordeaux Blend. This one earned my gold star. Aged in French oak barrels for 20 months, I detected blackberry and dark cherry flavors with some mocha to boot. An obvious tannic presence suggested that this one was still quite young , but the tannins will mellow with age. Drink now but decant to serve with steak or venison, and be generous with the cracked pepper, herbs and mushrooms. For a splurge, do try the 2007 Springlot Reserve, another Bordeaux-style blend that includes Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. Luscious raspberry and cherry characteristics with a spicy edge and some chocolate to finish, this one presented quite a complex blend and like its siblings should age quite nicely.

Autumn was quite knowledgeable as she facilitated our tasting experience. She shared with us that each labeling provided the vineyard designation. For example, the 2008 Honah Lee Viognier was produced from the Honah Lee Farm located near Orange, Virginia. Likewise with Maggie’s Vineyard, and this vineyard is located on the western slope of Short Mountain near Neerville, Virginia. The red wines were produced from local vineyards too, including the Spring Lot vineyard. Future plans include the production of red wines and perhaps even Viognier from grapes grown on the Delaplane estate.

We also met Jim Dolphin, owner of and winemaker for Delaplane Cellars. Jim provided us with a tour of the cellar, and he revealed to us his plans to expand production to between 3000 and 5000 cases. Jim’s professional background is in finance; however, he has been a wine enthusiast for many years and can recall the Virginia wine industries’ formative years in the 1980s. Heralded wine maker Jim Law has been his teacher and mentor, and Jim Dolphin has been an insider in the winemaking industry for the past ten years. Dolphin’s methods and preferences are similar to those of Law’s—Old World with an emphasis on vineyard management and fruit quality. As we toured the underground barrel room, we noted new and older barrels; some were American and many were French. Dolphin prefers to ferment and age in a variety of barrels and then he blends according to desired outcome. The results are evident in the tasting room—quality wines that reflect Old World traditions.

With our tasting and tour done, we gave new homes to several bottles of wines from Delaplane Cellars. (We purchased a bottle each of our gold star faves.) Before we left, we paused to appreciate the breathtaking view of blue-ridged mountains made more stark and vivid on a cold winter’s day. These can be appreciated from Delaplane Cellar’s spacious and well-appointed tasting room; an outdoor deck is in the offing and should prove to be popular in warmer weather.

We know that we will return to Delaplane Cellars soon; however, we encourage readers to start the year right with a visit to Delaplane Cellars. Be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.