Press play to see the premiere of the 2011 Viognier from Jefferson Vineyards.
And what better way to celebrate the Founding Father of Virginia wine’s birthday than tasting the exquisite Meritage blends at Jefferson Vineyards. Winemaker Andy Reagan hosted this event; of course, we had a great time.
The oldest wine poured at this event was the 2002 Meritage; the youngest, the still evolving 2010 Meritage. We attended last year’s Meritage tasting, and as I recall my favorite was the 2007 Meritage that was a blend of Cabernet Franc (39%), Merlot (26%), Cabernet Sauvignon (18%) and Petit Verdot (17%). This year’s favorite? The complex 2007 Meritage! Brambleberry characteristics with earthy nuances and a smooth finish made for a wine that can still get better with age. Paul’s own fave was the 2004 Meritage. No surprise here—Merlot comprises 70% of the blend, and Paul is a Merlot addict. Cabernet Franc (20%), Cabernet Sauvignon (7%) and Malbec (3%) completed the mix. Paul noted cherry flavors and a whiff of dried herbs.
Andy also offered samples of his Meritage Reserve wines. These are his special blends. One reserve was a blend of the 07, 08, 09 vintages; the other, a mix of the 08, 09 and 10 vintages. Each vintage was aged separately in new French oak puncheons for 48 months, 36 months and 24 months respectively. Of these, my preference was the first blend—dark fruit elements with aromas of sweet tobacco suggested a complex, heavy pour. Meat and cigars are mandatory partners with this one!
The tasting stations offered foods to pair with each Meritage. Grilled beef, duck, and an assortment of cheeses added to the tasting experience. Of course, Paul gravitated to the sliced duck breast, but he does enjoy duck with complex wines. Now if only he would eat asparagus!
Other distinguished guests included the dynamic duo who write Swirl, Sip, Snark. We enjoyed comparing notes and chatting about wine. Andy was a generous host who answered all of our questions and engaged us in all sorts of banter. Of course, we wondered when Paul would stop eating all of the duck!
Be sure to pay Andy Reagan a visit at Jefferson Vineyards, and mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.
After our stop at Trump Winery on Veterans Day weekend, we visited two more of our Charlottesville favorites, Blenheim Vineyards and Jefferson Vineyards.
At Blenheim they only had five wines to taste because of great sales lately. Of those we tasted, we really enjoyed the 2010 Chardonnay and the 2010 Cabernet Franc. The 2010 Chardonnay presented notes of pear and melon and had a crisp, refreshing ending. This one is 38% Chardonnay that is aged for five months in French and Hungarian barrels. The 2010 Cabernet Franc had a candy fruit nose and presented notes of dry herb, toffee, and a pepper end.
Towards the end of our tasting, Kirsty Harmon joined in and told us how challenging the 2011 season was for Blenheim. The amount of rain they got at the end of the season made it a difficult harvest. However, Kirsty is confident they’ll have some nice wines when they are released later this year. Kirsty also gave us a sample of the yet to be released 2010 Petit Verdot. I love Petit Verdots and this one promises to be just as nice as the 2009. After our chat with Kirsty we enjoyed a glass of the 2010 Chardonnay on the balcony. The views were beautiful with the fall colors coming to an end.
After our stop at Blenheim, we headed over to Jefferson Vineyards. We hadn’t been there since the bloggers conference in July. Unfortunately Andy Reagan wasn’t there. However, Allison, who we met at the bloggers conference was and she conducted our tasting. We always enjoy the wines at Jefferson.
From the tasting menu our favorites were the 2010 Chardonnay Reserve 2010.This is Warren’s kind of chardonnay. It presents notes of pear, apple and honey with just enough of an oak presence to stand up to food. This one always makes us think of a creamy pasta dish. Our other favorite was the 2008 Meritage. We noted dark fruit, herbs, cassis, and a smooth ending. As with other vintages of Jefferson Meritages, we think of thick filets. What a nice compliment a big piece of meat.
After our tasting I enjoyed a glass of the 2010 Chardonnay and Warren enjoyed a glass of the Chardonnay Reserve 2010. The fall colors and crisp afternoon went very well with the wines.
On your next trip to Charlottesville be sure to plan a visit to Blenheim Vineyards and Jefferson Vineyards. And be sure to tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!
One of our last events (unofficial) from the Wine Bloggers Conference was to attend a small gathering of bloggers at Jefferson Vineyards. Andy Reagan explained his reason for an after conference gathering on Frank Morgan’s Drink What You Like blog:
“One of the main reasons I hosted the post conference gathering was to get some real time with individual bloggers and try to get my message across, and talk about Jefferson wines, where they’re at, the foods they need to be paired with, etc. before there is an opinion written.”
We spent a few hours socializing with other bloggers, talking with Andy about his wines, and enjoying tastings of some of this wines. We were able to taste the 2007 Viognier, 2010 Vigonier, 2007 Chardonnay Reserve, 2010 Pinot Gris, 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 Reserve Cabernet Franc, and the 2007 Meritage. This wasn’t a time for us to review the wines so we just enjoyed what we tasted and didn’t take any notes. I will say though, that I really enjoyed the 2010 Pinot Gris. It was a hot day and this wine helped ease the heat.
Here are some photos from the event. A big thanks to Andy for inviting us and sharing his food and wine with us that afternoon. It was a great way to end the conference.