Time For Summer Sippers

Yes, it’s that time of the year to put away the bolder wines until the fall and to crack open the crisper, lighter-bodied white wines and fruitier red wines. Our mission to stock up on warm-weather wines brought us to Naked Mountain Winery.

The 2011 offerings at Naked Mountain seemed to meet our expectations for white wines from the 2011 vintage—fruity and refreshingly acidic. The 2011 Viognier presented one such example. Nice melon citrus aromas were matched with flavors of pear and melon. A higher acidity level led to a crisp finish. Perfect on its own or serve well chilled with light cheeses or shellfish. For sweeter wine lovers, the 2011 Chardonnay Riesling should fit the bill. A residual sugar level of 2.5% made for a fruity wine with peach and apple flavors. Our friend and guest blogger Michael Tyler, a fan of fruity white wines, would really love this one while grilling on the deck on a hot afternoon! He might even save a glass for me!

White wine lovers who find themselves in a dither at barbeques might appreciate the 2010 Catamount Run Red. Spicy barbeque sauces and char-grilled fare that once mooed may not seem like a match with sweet white wines; however, this fruity red wine should woo white wine drinkers. Slightly sweet with a bright, fruit forward presence should partner quite nicely with burgers, ribs, and sausages. If heavier meats are on the grill, Paul’s favorite, the Raptor Red, might be a better match. This non-vintage pour is a blend of wines from the 2007 and 2008 vintages. Its smoky nose gave way to aromas of dark seed berries and tobacco.

If a cheese course or cheesecake is on the dessert menu, opt for the 2011 Old Vine Riesling. At 6% residual sugar, it is certainly a dessert wine and presented floral aromas with apricot notes and hints of green apple.

It was indeed a hot day, and we refreshed ourselves with a glass of the 2011 Viognier. It proved to be the perfect pour to complement a warm, muggy afternoon. Be sure to consider Naked Mountain Winery when shopping for your own summer sippers, and please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

The Weekend Begins With Wine

Many Friday evenings are spent on my balcony enjoying food and wine. The weather wasn’t too hot on Friday so we continued the tradition.

We began with St. Andre’s cheese and a baguette. We paired it with the 2010 Jennifer’s Jambalaya from Breaux Vineyards. As you may already know, I’m a member of the Breaux Cellar Club and thoroughly enjoy all the wines from Breaux. This is a perfect wine for a warm evening on the balcony. It’s slightly sweet, floral, and fruity. It’s a blend of seven white wines and has just the right amount of acidity. It paired beautifully with our cheese and bread.

For dinner I cooked my mom’s famous meatloaf, baked potatoes, and green beans almondine. We already had plans to visit Naked Mountain Winery & Vineyards this weekend so we selected the 2007 Raptor Red from my wine rack. Some of the 2007 reds from Virginia are beginning to show really well so we wanted to see how well the 2007 Raptor Red was holding up. We were very pleased when we opened it and paired it with our meal. We noted blackberry, raspberry, sweet tobacco, and spice.

Both of our evenings wines turned out to pair very nicely with our food choices. If you haven’t been to Breaux Vineyards or Naked Mountain Winery & Vineyards lately, plan a trip soon and tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Summer Sippers at Naked Mountain

Naked Mountain Winery & Vineyards has been through somewhat of a renaissance in the past year. Randy and Meagan Morgan bought the winery last August and have been working hard to continue the tradition of Naked Mountain as well as introduce their own branding and ideas. There is a new logo, website, labels and winemaker. Seth Chambers is the winemaker at Naked Mountain. You might be familiar with his work. At one time he was the winemaker at Philip Carter. We were visiting Naked Mountain to check out the new wines and look for summer sippers. We found three!

The first sipper our our list is the 2010 Unoaked Chardonnay. This is 100% Chardonnay and didn’t go through malolactic fermentation. On the nose we noted apple, pear, and melon. On the tongue we noted green apple, lemon, and Warren jotted down banana. This is a nice crisp, fruity wine that would be perfect for a warm afternoon.

The next sipper was the 2010 Rose. It’s a blend of 73% Cabernet Franc and 27% Mourvedre. It weighs in at 2.5% residual sugar but you don’t notice it very much at all. On the nose we picked up strawberry and watermelon. In the mouth we noted melon and strawberry. We also got some cherry on the smooth finish. When we taste Rose`s we always think of a picnic on the lawn at Wolf Trap while enjoying a concert. This one would go well with picnic foods.

Our final sipper was the 2010 Riesling. It has 3% residual sugar but like the Rose it’s hardly noticeable. On the nose we picked up melon and peach. In the mouth we also noticed melon and peach but also noted lemon-lime. It has some nice crisp acidity as well. Another nice summer sipper.

During our tasting we were able to chat with Seth Chambers about the evolution of Naked Mountain and some of the upcoming changes taking place. We look forward to the new wines coming out soon and the changes in the labels. We love the new labels and logo. Nice job, Naked Mountain. So if you are looking for some summer sippers to add to your collection, consider the three mentioned here. And if you visit Naked Mountain anytime soon, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Time to Drink Naked

It’s that time of year when we go to Naked Mountain Vineyard and Winery to enjoy lasagna and wine. Which wine did we enjoy with lasagna? Well, to figure that out we had to complete a tasting of wines at the tasting bar, of course!

The 2006 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay and the sweeter Chardonnay Riesling were the two white wines offered for tasting. My favorite was the Barrel Fermented Chardonnay with its aromas of pear and vanilla; I also enjoyed its creamy mouth feel. Paul preferred the fruity characteristics of the Chardonnay Riesling, and I think he had visions of a warmer spring day and a refreshing fruit salad when he savored this one.

Speaking of food, we certainly had lasagna on our minds when we sampled the red wines. The Rhone-inspired 2006 Scarlet Oak Red earned my stamp of approval. Created from a blend of 45% Syrah, 45% Mouvedre, and 10% Tannat, it presented a smoky nose with cherry and raspberry aromas with a whiff dried herbs to boot; similar flavors with a toasty edge were evident in the mouth. Paul, however, was more inclined toward the newly released 2007 Raptor Red, a blend of Tannat (31%), Merlot (30%), Petit Verdot (20%) and Cabernet Franc (19%). Darker fruit elements abounded here with a smoky/earthy nose. I concurred that this blend offered a bolder, more complex wine; from the 2007 vintage, it will only improve with time.

So with lasagna on the way, we settled on a glass of our favorite red wines; I enjoyed a glass of the 2006 Scarlet Oak Red, and Paul sipped the 2007 Raptor Red. As we sipped and nibbled, we met cellar master Brooke Walter who hinted at exciting possibilities for the upcoming releases. She was particularly enthusiastic about the possible release of a stand-alone Malbec. Brooke also assured us that new owners Randy and Meagan Morgan were commited to maintaining the strong winemaking tradition at Naked Mountain Vineyards. Needless to say, we promised to return in the near future to sample new releases at Naked Mountain Vineyards and Winery.

We should also mention that the sausage lasagna is amazing at Naked Mountain, so plan to enjoy a lasagna lunch with a glass of wine at Naked Moutain Vineyards and Winery. Please mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.