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Gray Ghost Harvest

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.

Winemaker’s Dinner

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

The Menu

Third Course

Cabernet and Chocolates

On Saturday we attended the annual Cabernet and Chocolates event at Gray Ghost. We always have a great time enjoying the chocolates and red wines. This year Gray Ghost released the Vidal Blanc on this chocolate filled weekend. We enjoyed the new Vidal with it’s melon and crisp fruity flavors. Of course we enjoyed the red wines as well. The merlot was my favorite paired with the chocolates. Here are some pictures from the event:

Virginia Wines Before Dinner

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)

Harvesting at Gray Ghost

Yesterday we spent a good chunk of the day at Gray Ghost Vineyards helping to harvest the chardonnay grapes. This has become an annual event for us. This was my 6th year and Warren’s 8th year harvesting. We always have a good time and enjoy meeting new people.

As usual, we got up really early and met others at the winery and enjoyed some breakfast treats before heading out to the vineyards.

Al gave us a quick lesson on how to harvest the grapes.

We then headed out to the vineyards to begin harvesting the grapes.

Here’s Warren hard at work snipping the stems.

We found a small bird nest IN the vines!

A few hours later the lugs were weighed and 11 TONS (yes, tons) of chardonnay grapes had been harvested.

At the end we toasted and cheered for the record breaking harvest and what a good job we had all done! We look forward to repeating this again next year!

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