How Are You Celebrating Virginia Wine Month?
October is Virginia Wine Month, and we are doing it right by enjoying Virginia wine with dinner, at restaurants, and at Virginia wineries. Here is how we kicked off Virginia Wine month:
Dinner at Al Dente in Washington DC: Pappardelle pasta with wild boar ragout braised in red wine paired with Breaux’s Nebbiolo 2007.
Harvest Salad as a first course at a dinner party: Crisp seasonal apples, chopped fennel, and slivered almonds tossed with a lemon vinaigrette then topped with crumbled blue cheese was served with Linden’s Riesling Vidal 2011
Steaks on Friday: We reserve Fridays as our red meat day. Filet Mignon topped with sautéed mushrooms was paired with Gray Ghost Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2010.
Pumpkin Cake: My favorite seasonal dessert. Fall spices serve as supporting roles in this pumpkin-based delight. We enjoyed this with Naked Mountain’s Old Vine Riesling 2012 produced from the oldest Riesling vines on the property.
Need other suggestions to celebrate Virginia Wine Month? Hume Vineyards will release its 2012 Viognier; characteristic floral notes are accompanied by stone fruit elements and a white pepper undertone. This one should be perfect with poultry topped with a cream sauce. Planning to invite friends over for a hearty beef stew? We were impressed with the 2011 Petit Verdot with its whiff of violet as well as its brambleberry and dark fruit notes; it’s a bit chewy too!
So this is how we kicked off Virginia Wine Month. How are you celebrating Virginia Wine Month? We would like to know, so feel free to share with us. Visit the Virginia wineries mentioned in this post and mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
On Sunday we went to Gray Ghost to help harvest the chardonnay grapes. We do this every year and always have a good time. Here are some pictures from the day.
We all gathered very early in the morning.
Al Kellert told us all about the process.
Amy showed us what this year’s T-shirt looked like.
These are the grapes we were harvesting.
Here’s Warren harvesting the grapes.
During a break, Amy reminded us of a few things to remember when harvesting.
Al estimated we brought in more than 10 tons of grapes.
The grapes were put through the de-stemmer.
Then they were fed into the bladder press.
Here’s Al working the bladder press.
When we were all done we had a congratulatory toast.
And this is why we work so hard to harvest the grapes.
On Saturday evening we joined many of our wine trail friends for the annual Gray Ghost Winemaker’s Dinner at The Marriott Ranch. We enjoyed a delicious five course meal with Gray Ghost wines paired with each course. Al and Cheryl Kellert introduced each wine and talked about each vintage. The pairings were perfect of course. My favorite course and pairing was the trout schnitzel with the 2011 Gewürztraminer. I liked the trout schnitzel so much that I asked the chef after the dinner how he made it. I have a good idea of how to replicate the dish later. Everyone had a great time enjoying the food, the wine, and the company. I took a few pictures but not enough to completely document the meal. I was too busy enjoying the evening!
The Wine Trail Table
We had friends over for dinner this past Saturday, and we decided to pour Virginia wines as aperitifs. After all, it is Virginia Wine month! Guests were greeted with the Governor Fauquier from Philip Carter Winery and Sarah’s Patio White from Chrysalis Vineyards. Both were off-dry wines and produced from the Vidal Blanc grape, a Riesling-like hybrid that grows very well in Virginia. Like Riesling, Vidal Blanc is very fruity and refreshing, so some of the appetizers that I served with these wines were a bit spicy. Some of these dishes were captured by Paul, the cameraman.
Cheeses: Brie topped with hot peach chutney, or for the faint of stomach, plain brie and red grapes.
Nuts: Chili-lime flavored almonds; plain almonds for the wimps. Not sure if olives pair with these wines, but the gourmet olives were stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and were absolutely delicious!
Meats: Smoked salmon
So what was on tap for the rest of the evening? I did splice in a couple of Napa wines from Clos Pegase winery; one was a Sauvignon Blanc that I sampled at a wine tasting and thought it was unique—tropical fruit flavors (as opposed to cat pee/grapefruit) with a refreshing acidity that seemed a perfect match with an acidic tomato dish. The other was a Cabernet Sauvignon that has been resting on the wine rack for several years, but according to the wine mags, needed to be appreciated now. And indeed it was appreciated! It was quite good with the beef; however, the fruitier Virginia offering was very well-received by my dinner guests. A number of Virginia meritage blends would have paired quite nicely with my beef dish; however, I went with the Gray Ghost option based on my experience at the Gadsby’s Tavern winemaker dinner which featured the Ranger Reserve with a very similar beef dish. Empty wine bottles indicated that the Virginia option was as popular as the California one.
Anyway, here was the menu:
Fresh tomato soup paired with Clos Pegase Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Garlic-herb crusted beef tenderloin with roasted potatoes and squash paired with Clos Pegase Cabernet Sauvignon 2005; Gray Ghost Ranger Reserve 2008
Pumpkin bundt cake served with Gray Ghost Adieu 2006
Community Brand Coffee and Chicory (found only in New Orleans)