Veraison

Yesterday we started a wine trip to visit wineries in the Shenandoah AVA and in the southern part of the state. We will post about each winery in the weeks to come. On the first day we visited Cave Ridge Vineyard, CrossKeys Vineyards, Bluestone Vineyard, and Barren Ridge Vineyards. We tasted some really nice wines and enjoyed our visit to each winery. Here’s a picture from the Cave Ridge Vineyard. As you can see the grapes are almost finished with veraison. The grapes are developing nicely! We’ll post again tomorrow with the wineries we visited and maybe a few teaser pictures

Discover DC’s Wine Country: Loudoun County

Virginia Wine Bloggers Unite to Promote DC’s Wine Country – the Wines of Loudoun County

Virginia wine bloggers – Frank from DrinkWhatYouLike.com, Va Wine Diva & Grape Envy Guy from SwirlSipSnark.com, and Paul & Warren from VirginiaWineTime.com – along with the Virginia Wine Board and Loudoun County wineries will host the first ever TasteLive! event dedicated to showcasing the wines of Loudoun County, VA.

TasteLive! is the world’s premiere online wine and beer tasting community that leverages the increasingly powerful social media tools of Twitter, Facebook, Posterous, and other services to create a community that brings together consumers, bloggers, press, suppliers, and winemakers from across the world to taste and discuss wine virtually.

On Thursday, December 9, the wines of Loudoun County will take center stage in a TasteLive! virtual wine tasting dedicated to showcasing the wines of DC’s Wine Country – Loudoun County. Wine bloggers and wine enthusiasts throughout the US will come together online at 8pm Eastern Time to taste & tweet about the wines of Loudoun County. This event will serve as an introduction to Virginia wine for several participants and is a prelude to the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference which will be held in Charlottesville, VA in July.

Located just 25 miles from Washington, DC, Loudoun County – referred to as DC’s Wine Country – is home to 27 wineries and tasting rooms organized into four clusters sprinkled throughout bucolic countryside.

This tasting features wines from five different Loudoun County wineries, and winemakers from each will be joining in the virtual discussion. The five featured Loudoun wineries and wines are:

Notaviva Vineyards
2009 Ottantotto Viognier
Part of the Loudoun Heights cluster, Notaviva Vineyards is one of Loudoun’s newest wineries. Husband and wife team Stephen and Shannon Mackey were brought together by their love of music, which is expressed further through their wines. Notaviva is from the Italian nota – music note and viva – with life. In keeping with their love of music and wine, each Notaviva flagship wine is named after musical terms to represent the emotions they inspire.
Follow Notaviva on Twitter: @Notaviva

Tarara Winery
2009 Nevaeh White
Part of the Potomac wine cluster, Tarara Winery is a terroir-driven winery crafting artisanal, hand crafted wines to best showcase their vineyards through single vineyard blends capturing the essence of the unique sites and classic varietals around Virginia.
Follow Tarara on Twitter: @TararaWinery

Breaux Vineyards
2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve
Part of the Loudoun Heights cluster, Breaux Vineyards overlooks the beautiful valley between the Blue Ridge and Short Hill Mountains. The 404-acre Breaux estate has over 100 acres planted in 18 different grape varieties. Be sure to check out the Breaux Vineyards introduction video at VisitLoudoun.org.
Follow Breaux Vineyards on Twitter: @BreauxVineyards


8 Chains North
2008 Furnace Mountain Red Reserve
8 Chains North Winery, located in Waterford, Virginia, showcases handcrafted wines made from Loudoun County grapes. At 8 Chains North we spend 8 intense months in our vineyards on the Potomac River and in the Short Hill Mountains of Loudoun County, allowing us to draw out the very best of every vintage.’
Follow 8 Chains North on Twitter: @8ChainsNorth

North Gate Vineyard
2008 Petit Verdot
North Gate Vineyard is situated in on approximately 26 acres in the northwest part of Loudoun County, Virginia. Nestled against the eastern base of the Short Hill mountains (foothills to the Blue Ridge), North Gate Vineyard produces high quality wine grapes for its own set of wines as well as other wineries in Virginia. Husband and wife team Mark and Vicki Fedor have been growing grapes since 2002 and have been part of the winemaking scene in Loudoun since 2003.
Follow North Gate on Twitter: @NorthGateWines

We’re sure many of you are fans of Loudoun County wine, these wineries, and even these specific wines, so we hope that you’ll join us for this tasting. A major benefit of a virtual wine tasting is that everyone can become a participant.

You can tweet along (or follow the tweet stream if you’re shy). You can do this by logging into the TasteLive! Platform or following the twitter stream for the hashtag #vawine through your favorite twitter platform (e.g., TweetDeck). If you don’t tweet, you can also follow the twitter stream by searching on the hashtag #vawine from the twitter home page since you do not need to have a twitter account to look at tweets.

Please join us; this would be a great time to gather your wine friends and celebrate the wines of Loudoun County. After all, how often do you have the opportunity to chat about wines with both the winemakers and some of your favorite bloggers all at the same time?

Ingleside and Vault Field

The last two wineries we visited while on the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail were Ingleside and Vault Field. Our friend Bob joined us for the tasting at both wineries.

It had been awhile since we visited Ingleside. The tasting choices had changed since our last visit. We opted for the full tasting which included the basic tasting as well as the reserve tasting. With that choice there were 16 wines to taste. Warren and I both selected the 2009 Pinot Grigio to receive a gold star for the whites. Our friend Bob selected the Blue Crab Blanc for his gold star. The pinot grigio had a clean, crisp finish that was perfect for a warm summer day. From the reds, Warren and I both selected the Petit Verdot 2005 Special Reserve for a gold star. This one is not on the tasting list but they had a bottle open and were tasting it the day we were there. This was simply the best red on the tasting menu. We noted plum, currents, coffee, spice, cedar. Bob’s red gold star went to the Cabernet Merlot.

One interesting note about the reds. Ingleside has a 2007 Sangiovese with 9% Charbono. We tasted some charbonos in California but we’ve never encountered a wine in Virginia with charbono. Is anyone aware of another Virginia winery working with Charbono?

Bob’s wife Jackie joined us for our visit to Vault Field. Vault Field produces six wines–three whites, a rose, and two reds. Jackie and I put our gold star for the whites next to the 2008 Chardonnay. We both enjoyed the mouth feel and the citrus aroma. Warren and Bob liked the 2008 Vidal Blanc. They noted pineapple and pear. Of the reds, Jackie and Bob enjoyed the 2008 Red which is a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and chambourcin. They placed their gold star next to this one. Warren and I both agreed the 2007 Reserve Red should get our gold star. We noted extracted fruit, coffee, and tobacco.

We had a great time on the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail. If you haven’t been to the Northern Neck, you should plan a trip to visit the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail. And if you visit the wineries we’ve mentioned, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail Continues

In addition to our new visits, we also sneaked in some re-visits to other wineries on the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail.  Here are the reviews:

Athena Vineyards:  The favorite here was the Nightingale Chardonnay which was fermented in stainless steel tanks.  Crisp with pear aromas and flavors noted with this Chardonnay, and it should be prove to be a popular summer wine especially if served with shellfish.  Dessert wine lovers might enjoy Mellow Notes which is a fortified Vignoles.  Floral aromas, pear flavors and an almond finish make for a distinctive pour.  (Mellow Notes comes in a unique bottle that is shaped like a saxophone.)

Oak Crest Vineyards and Winery:  The Symphony wines continue to be the strongest offerings here, and this hybrid grape produces an Alsatian-style white wine. Symphony Dry has no residual sugar and presents a floral nose, pear flavors, and a crisp feel.  Moonlight Sonata is another wine produced from the Symphony grape but includes 3% residual sugar. 

White Fences: The Meteor Glow was our summer sipper favorite here.  Made from Chardonnay grapes, this lightly oaked (9 months) white wine offered lingering pear flavors and a subtle toasty edge.  Of course, the Blue Jimmy wines won our Michael Tyler designation; readers may recall that our friend Michael prefers sweeter wines.  Blue Jimmy Red is made from Chambourcin and aged in French oak barrels to produce lingering rich berry flavors with a sugar level of five percent.  Blue Jimmy White is produced from the Chardonel grape and is done in stainless steel with similar sugar levels as the red. We noted melon and apple flavors.

Planning a trip to any of these wineries? Be sure to mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.