Sunset at Sunset Hills

After we visited Breaux Vineyards last Sunday, we headed to Sunset Hills to taste the wines. This was the first time Warren’s parents have visited Sunset Hills. We were lucky to be visiting them on their two year anniversary weekend.

Sunset Hills currently only has two whites available for tasting. We were disappointed to find out so many of their wines were sold out. We were hoping to try the viognier but that just wasn’t to be. However, we did taste two chardonnays. Here are my impressions:

2009 Chardonnay-peach, fruity, round mouth feel, my kind of chard, easy to drink, patio sipper, this one gets my gold star.

2009 Reserve Chardonnay-oak, butter nose, Warren’s kind of chardonnay, more complex, Warren’s gold star.

After the two chardonnays, we moved on to the reds. There were four to taste. Here are my notes:

2008 Cabernet Franc-raspberry nose, pepper, paired with pepperoni and cheese, more of a pizza wine, this one got my gold star for the reds.

2008 Cabernet Franc Reserve-earthy nose, dark fruit, higher percentage of cab franc, 84%, more herbal notes, mocha, Warren’s gold star.

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon-herb on the nose, cherry, plum, cedar, black pepper, 9% cab franc, a little young, can lay down a few years.

2008 Petit Verdot – 25% cab sauv, chocolate nose, medium bodied (the tasting notes say this is a monster red), blueberry, cherry, earthy qualities.

After our tasting we selected the 2008 Cabernet Franc to have with some lunch items. We chose several items from the Lite Fare menu to have for lunch with the cab franc. Before leaving we saw this wonderful sunset. It certainly explains the name of the winery. How lucky we were to see it! Next time you find yourself visiting Sunset Hills, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

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?

I’m Not a Chambourcin Fan

For dinner last night we had breaded chicken and herbed rice. Warren selected the 2009 Chambourcin from Hume Vineyards to compliment the meal. I may not have noted this yet but I’m not a big fan of Chambourcin. I’ve tasted many Chambourcins and very few make it on my rack. The Hume Chambourcin would fit nicely with the other wines on my rack.

On the nose we jotted down fruity, jammy, dark plum, dark cherry, earth, tobacco, and anise. Jammy can sometimes be a bad thing but in this case it was not the bad kind of jammy. It was pleasant. In the mouth we noted similar characteristics with the addition of currents, spice, and pepper. Even though it is 13.8% alcohol, we noted some heat on the end. The Chambourcin complimented the breaded chicken and herbed rice rather well.

Even though I don’t call myself a Chambourcin fan, I did enjoy this one. We look forward to future vintages of Hume’s Chambourcin. Knowing that I’m not the biggest Chambourcin fan, are there other Virginia Chambourcins you, dear readers, recommend I try?

Taste Live

As part of Virginia Wine Month and with the support of The Virginia Wine Board, we’ll be participating in the TasteLive event focused on Virginia Wines on Monday, October 25th. Wine writers and bloggers from across the country will be participating in this tasting. We’ll be tasting wines and tweeting our impressions on the TasteLive website. Our tweets will also show up on our Twitter feed. We will be tasting six wines from wineries on the Monticello Wine Trail in the Charlottesville area. The wines we’ll be tasting are:

The 2007 SP Rose from Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard
The 2009 Gewurztraminer from Afton Mountain Vineyards
The 2009 Chardonnay Reserve from Jefferson Vineyards
The 2009 Viognier from Keswick Vineyards
The 2009 Seven Oaks Merlot from Blenheim Vineyards
The 2008 Wooloomooloo from Mountfair Vineyards

We are excited to participate in this unique tasting experience. We haven’t been part of the TasteLive website before so we are curious to see how the whole thing works and how it will be received. Be following our Twitter feed on Monday evening between 8:00 and 9:30 Eastern time.

P. S. Have you seen the article this week in the Washington Post about Virginia Wine? Check it out!