Round Up Time

Too many wineries and not enough time to write about all of our experiences—this seems to be the ongoing dilemma for us. I will use this post to play catch up on wineries that we have recently visited:

Delaplane Cellars: We always look forward to a tasting here if only to enjoy the gorgeous view from the windows; of course the wines are pretty good too. The 2009 Melange Rouge remains my favorite on the tasting menu; readers may recall that I enjoyed this Bordeaux-style blend the last time we tasted at Delaplane Cellars. Paul enjoyed the smoky 2009 Tannat with its notes of plum and dried herbs. The 2011 Cabernet Franc was the lightest-bodied red and yet the most versatile red wine on the menu. The bright fruit flavors and peppery elements make for a wine that can be served on its own, with fish or pork, or with Thanksgiving fare that features herbed turkey and cranberry sauce. White wines, you ask? Paul was a big fan of the 2011 Maggie’s Viognier with its floral notes and orange blossom notes. Looking for a reason to join Delaplane’s wine club? The cellar-worthy 2010 Syrah might provide convincing evidence. A smoky nose leads to dark plum and tobacco aromas with similar dark fruit flavors and spicy elements in the mouth. I detected a hint of caramel at the end too.
Linden Vineyards: Too easy to say all of the above, but that would be the answer. We always sign up for the cellar tasting, too, and that complicates our decision to pick a favorite wine. From the regular tasting menu, we were fans of creamy 2010 Chardonnay and the jammy 2010 Petit Verdot. The cellar tasting usually brings out the split decisions. We both agreed that the fuller-bodied 2009 Boisseau Chardonnay was ready for prime time. Rich pear and vanilla aromas were matched by ripe pear and honey flavors. However, I own two bottles of the 2009 Avenius Chardonnay, and I was well pleased with its progression in the bottle. Drink now? Enjoy the Boisseau. Enjoy later? Be patient with the Avenius.

On to the red wines, and these included the 2009 Boisseau Red and the 2009 Hardscrabble Red. Ripe berry fruit and violet notes characterized the Merlot-driven Boisseau, and it was Paul’s immediate favorite. However, I preferred the complexity of the 2009 Hardscrabble Red. Cabernet Sauvignon (64%) dominates the blend, and Merlot (19%), Petit Verdot (10%), and Cabernet Franc (7%) serve as sidekicks. Still tight on the nose, swirling brought forward the dark berry and earthy elements. I made certain to purchase a bottle of this special wine before the left the winery! The cellar tasting always closes with a comparison of dessert wines, and the 2005 and 2008 Late Harvest Vidal were presented for our enjoyment. Paul preferred the fresh 2008 Late Harvest Vidal with its bright floral aromas and vibrant tropical fruit and ginger spice components. I appreciated the older 2005 with its more honeyed texture and dried apricot and citrus flavors.
Three Fox Vineyards: The 2011 Gatto Bianco was an easy favorite. This white wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Vidal Blanc, and the 2% residual sugar brings forward the tropical fruit elements. The Leggero Chardonnay is also noteworthy for its pear and pineapple characteristics and crisp finish. We were also fast fans of the 2009 Piemontese Nebbiolo with its aromas of clover and tobacco. Swirling coaxed raspberry, blackberry and pepper notes to move forward. Port fans may also like the Rosso Dolce Chambourcin and its elements of dark cherry and black plum; a mocha splash at the end begged for chocolate; Paul suggested a tobacco treat, but I’ll let readers decide on that one. A dark chocolate brownie for me, and a cigar for Paul!
We made certain to purchase our favorite wines at each of these wineries. Readers may have already concluded that Virginia wineries offer a diverse selection of quality wines, and the only right choices are the ones that best please the palate. Therefore, get out on the wine trails and discover which Virginia wines best suit your own palate! Start with a visit to these wineries, and mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Wine With A View at Delaplane Cellars

It seems as though our visits to Delaplane Cellars occur when it is chilly outside, and this time was no different. Regardless of the weather, though, the wines and the view at Delaplane Cellars are always impressive.

Most of the wines on the tasting menu were new to us including the 2008 Honah Lee Viognier. This one earned my gold star of the two Viogniers poured for us (and the only white wines, I should add.) Vibrant is the word to describe this distinctive Viognier produced from grapes grown on the Honah Lee Farm near Orange, Virginia. In fact, aromas of orange blossom first reached the nose followed by aromas of apricot and mango; similar tropical fruit flavors were noted on the palate. Owner and winemaker Jim Dolphin treated us to a sneak preview of the upcoming 2009 Honah Lee Viognier which seemed to have honey apricot elements to it. Paul preferred the 2007 Emerald Lake Viognier; I jotted down “bit-o-honey” on the tasting sheet, and Paul seemed to enjoy the creamier, honeyed texture to this one. He also appreciated the stone fruit flavors of this more mature offering.

Paul and I likewise reached a split decision on the red wines. My favorite was the 2008 Cinq, a blend of all five Bordeaux varietals with Cabernet Sauvignon dominating the mix. I noted characteristics of dark berries, anise, and spice with some violet on the nose to boot. Given that this is a more recent release (after May 2010), tannins were evident but likely to mature with time. Paul’s fave was the druit-driven 2008 Springlot Red Blend. The Cabernet Sauvignon (44%), Cabernet Franc (25%), Merlot (19%) and Petit Verdot (12%) which comprise the blend all come from the Springlot vineyard located near the winery. Dark cherry, plum and spice elements prevailed with a smooth tannic presence. Be certain to try the 2008 Syrah—crafted from grapes grown from borh the Shirland Vineyard near Middleburg and the Springlot Vineyard near the winery, this Syrah is all dark fruit flavors with earthy/tobacco, spice and pepper. Blended with 13% Tannat, this Syrah is a bolder option!

So with tasting done, we opted to take a moment to enjoy the gorgeous mountain views from the tasting room while enjoying a glass of the 2008 Honah Lee Viognier. Winter lanscapes are underappreciated, and even a quick glance from the tasting room windows reminded us just how lovely the barren scenery can be—paired with a favorite wine from Delaplane Cellars, of course!

Be sure to sample the current offerings at Delaplane Cellars this winter, but remember to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Delaplane Cellars

After our recent visit to Vintage Ridge and Three Fox, we stopped at Delaplane Cellars. We last visited them in January. We were ready to taste the new wines that had been released since that last visit. They now have eight wines to taste, including two new roses that we had not tasted before.

As usual we began with the whites. We started with the 2008 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay. Warren noted some toasted oak, along with some pear and apple. He enjoyed this one. We moved on to the 2007 Emerald Lake Viognier. This was my favorite white. We noted honeysuckle, a honey texture on the tongue, and a hint of peach. The 2007 Emerald Lake Viognier received our gold star for the whites. Between the whites and the reds was the first rose, the 2008 Rose. This is a dry rose. We experienced strawberry and a crisp feeling. This makes a nice summer sipper. We thought of Wolf Trap when tasting this one

The reds consisted of some we tasted before and a few new ones. We tasted the 2007 Old World Cabernet Franc, the 2007 Left Bank Bordeaux Blend, and we opted to taste the 2007 Shirland Syrah and the 2007 Springlot Reserve. We also tasted the second rose at the end of our tasting. Our gold star here goes to the 2007 Left Bank Bordeaux Blend. We noted this its like a meritage. We wrote down cherry, blackberries, mocha, and spice. This would go so well with a nice steak. We should add that the 2007 Shirland Syrah was new to us. We noted the earthy qualities with hints of dark berries. When you taste at Delaplane Cellars do opt to taste the two extra reds. It’s worth it.

After our tasting we each enjoyed a glass of the 2007 Left Bank Bordeaux Blend. With our wine we enjoyed some Piedmont cheese, sausage, and freshly baked bread. It was delicious! If you haven’t been to Delaplane Cellars recently, plan a trip soon and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!