Holiday Wines at Rappahannock Cellars

With the holidays now upon us, it’s time to think about wines that may pair with holiday fare. We can recommend some wines from Rappahannock Cellars.

Since our last tasting at Rappahannock Cellars, the winery earned top scores for wines reviewed in Wine Spectator magazine. With such accolades, we were eager to sample the latest pours at Rappahannock Cellars with a focus on winter and holiday menus. Of the white wines, two options stood out for me: the 2009 Viognier and the sweeter 2009 Noblesse Viognier. The 2009 Viognier presented floral and apricot aromas; apricot, peach and subtle spice describe the flavor profile. This Viognier is a blend of wine fermented both in stainless steel and French oak barrels to present a refreshing pour that should pair well with holiday turkey or roasted pork tenderloin served with a fruit chutney. The 2009 Noblesse Viognier is actually a blend that includes Vidal Blanc, Seyval blanc, and Chardonnay. Bright fruit and honey aromas with similar flavors in the mouth, it is slightly sweet yet enough to elevate the fruit characteristics. Baked ham should partner quite well with this one.

Of course, winter menus always include heavier meats, and my gold star favorite for this sort of match up was the 2008 Meritage. Dark fruit and earthy elements prevailed on the nose as I caught whiffs of tobacco and ash. Dark cherry, plum and blackberry greeted the palate and ended with a spicy edge. This should pair quite well with roasted beef and potatoes. If heavy cheeses, chocolates and/or cigars are on the menu, try the jammy 2007 Port Styled Dessert Wine made from the Norton grape, and be sure to enjoy next to a roaring fireplace.

We enjoyed our tasting at Rappahanock Cellars since all of the wines are quite solid and well-crafted, and an extra treat was the two glasses presented for tasting—one for the white wines; the other, for the red wines. We know that we will return to Rappahanock Cellars to sample the lastest award-wining wines; however, if you go there before we do, mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Favorites at Rappahannock Cellars

So we continue to blaze the wine trails this spring to present our findings about the latest releases. This includes a recent visit to Rappahannock Cellars located in Huntly, Virginia. Where did our gold stars land on the tasting sheet? Keep reading to find out!

Of the four white wines available for tasting, Paul and I both agreed that the 2008 Viognier should be the gold star recipient. Its honeysuckle and peach notes suggested a fruity palate but a subtle toasted edge and a creamy texture confirmed this to be a fuller-bodied white wine. This Viognier was fermented in stainless steel and then aged briefly in French oak barrels. The 2008 Noblesse Viognier should prove to be popular during the spring and summer months. An off-dry offering, the Noblesse Viognier presented citrusy characteristics and a vibrant acidity that would match well with light picnic fare.

On to the red wines, and here we reached a split decision. I favored the 2007 Cabernet Franc with its black berry and dark cherry aromas and flavors. I noted an earthiness to this one, too. Blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, this Cabernet Franc offers more complexity and boldness than is usually associated with the varietal. Paul’s gold star went to the 2007 Meritage; this was my close second. Paul noted dark plum, cherry, and spice characteristics with a noticeable tannic presence. This is definitely one to age! This Meritage includes a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec and is fermented and aged in both French and American oak barrels. Port lovers would be advised to check out the 2007 Port style Red Dessert Wine made from the Norton grape—dark fruits prevail in the mouth, and the 8% residual sugar provide a characteristic sweetness. Pair with blue cheese, dried fruit, and a cigar!

So after our tasting, we shared a glass of the 2007 Meritage with some dark chocolate out on the front porch. Decadence all the way around! We made certain to purchase some of our gold star favorites before we left. Plan a visit to Rappahanock Cellars; of course, mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you!