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Tag: wines (page 5 of 17)

Notaviva Vineyards

A few weeks ago we met some fellow wine bloggers Suzie, and Josh) at Notaviva Vineyards for a tasting and to celebrate my birthday. We were anxious to see what was new on the tasting menu. Notaviva was a very busy place but we found a spot at the tasting bar and checked out the new wines.

Of course we started with the whites. Notaviva has two viogniers-one that is fermented in stainless steel and one in barrels. The stainless steel version, Vincero, was crisp and tart with a floral nose. Even though it was our first wine, this one got my gold star. Next was the barrel fermented viognier, Ottantotto. Warren noted banana and peach here. This one became Warren’s favorite. We then tasted the Verano, a vidal blanc that is barrel fermented. This one has 1% residual sugar. We noted peach and a creamy mouth feel. The last white we tasted was the Calor Chardonnay. This one also had 1% residual sugar. We noted a nice floral nose with apple on the palate.

There were two reds to taste. We tasted the Celtico Chambourcin and the Cantabile Cabernet Franc. We noted jam, cherry, and cranberry tartness from the Chambourcin. This one was just recently bottled and was cloudy so we’ll need to give this one some time to get used to being in the bottle. The Cabernet Franc presented a fruity nose with raspberries noted. We also noted a spicy/herby quality. This was not one of my favorites but others in our group enjoyed it. We finished our tasting with the Gitano, a sweet red consisting of tint cao, merlot, and cabernet franc.

With our tasting complete, we secured two bottles for our lunch. We decided to have both the viogniers and do our own little comparison with our food items. Both viogniers went well with our cheeses and crackers and various other items. They even went well with the birthday cake Dezel brought for my birthday. As it turns out, it was a split decision. Some really liking the stainless steel and some really liking the barrel fermented version.

During our tasting we were able to chat with Stephen Mackey, owner and winemaker. We’ve talked with Stephen several times over the years while watching the winery grow. He caught us up on what’s been happening lately. He let us know several wines will be released in the coming months. It was great catching up with him. You need to plan a trip to Notaviva soon. And when you do, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Out and About

We’ve been out and about on the wine trail recently. Here are a few stops we made and photos from each stop.

One stop was at Naked Mountain. We always enjoy going to Naked Mountain and finding out about their new releases. Here are some pictures from that visit. I’ll note here that my gold star went to the 2008 Unoaked Chardonnay. Warren’s gold star goes to the 2006 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay. This is typical for us. I prefer stainless and Warren prefers barrel fermented.

Village Winery is another winery we visited recently. Kent Marrs, the winemaker and owner, always treats us so well when we visit. We visited with our wine blogging friend Dezel from myvinespot. Our gold star here went to the combination of Elderberry Sparkling drink and the Apple wine. This was perfect the day we were there because it was quite warm and the drink was quite cool. Here are a few photos from the visit.

Cheers To Rappahannock Cellars!

Be sure to check out this month’s edition of Wine Spectator, because wines from Rappahannock Cellars were reviewed and earned excellent scores! I’ll provide the wines and rating here and let you read the reviews for yourselves.

Here are the wines:

2008 Viognier-87 Points
R 2006-86 Points
2006 Cabernet Franc-86 points
2006 Meritage-85 points

Be sure to sample these excellent wines at Rappahannock Cellars, and mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Cleve Is A Winner!

Last Saturday we were invited to Philip Carter Winery for the release of their big Bordeaux red, Cleve. As part of the release party, they conducted a Twitter taste off of their current wines and the new Cleve. A few other wine bloggers joined the fun. Rob Cox, the newest member of the winemaking team at Philip Carter, conducted the Twitter Taste-off.

We began with the 2008 Chardonnay. This one got our gold star. It’s been their solid white for a while now. It’s the white wine we always go for when we visit Philip Carter. We always note the crispness, the fruit, the hints of lemongrass with a touch of oak. It’s also a winner. It’s gathered a handful of medals. Next up was the Governor Fauquier 2008. We tweeted nutty, off dry, tropical fruit, and melon flavors. We noted it has 1% residual sugar.

We then moved to the reds. We were looking forward to trying the Cleve but first we had the 2008 Cabernet Franc. This was not of our favorites but we did note it had a nice color for a cab franc. We tweeted it had an acidic nose, with black cherry and pepper on the palate. We then moved on to the Cleve! The Cleve is a Bordeaux style red with 50% cab franc, 35% petit verdot, and 15% cabernet sauvignon. Again, we tweeted extracted fruit on the nose, smoke, violets, bramble berry, big fruit, lengthy finish, and that you can chew on it awhile. We declared Cleve was a winner! We could see keeping this one on your rack for a while. It will on get better with time. Philip Carter Winery certainly has a winner on it’s hands with Cleve! Nice job winemakers!

The last wine we tasted was the Late Harvest Vidal 2008. It’s 8% residual sugar but isn’t overly sweet. We noted baked apple and honey. Perfect ending to the taste off.

After the Twitter taste off we had a chance to chat with Rob Cox. We always enjoy chatting with Rob Cox…we’ve followed him from winery to winery. We chatted about the Philip Carter wines and the wine industry in Virginia in general. Rob noted how many Virginia wineries are employing professional winemakers to help develop the wines they want to produce. He said, “The days of owner made wines are numbered.” He went on to say, “Virginia doesn’t need more wineries making wines, we need wineries making better wine.” He certainly has his opinions about the future of Virginia wines.

Philip Carter Winery is again teaming up with Luxury Cruise Counselors to plan a spectacular cruise to the Mediterranean in August 2011. Check out their website for more information. You simply must plan a trip out to Philip Carter Winery to taste that Cleve. And when you do, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

New Releases Continue Renaissance at Piedmont

We’ve chronicled the steady improvements at Piedmont Vineyards since Gerhard von Finck took the helm as winemaker. Gerhard invited us to a weekend gala that celebrated his new releases, and we gladly accepted the offer. We can report that the improvements continue at Piedmont Vineyards, and Gerhard has much to celebrate.

As usual, our tasting began with the white wines, and we samples four wines here. (Although the tasting sheet listed the Hunt Country Chardonnay 2008, we were given a sneak sample of the upcoming 2009.) The official new releases included the Native Yeast Chardonnay 2009 and the Special Reserve Chardonnay 2009. My own favorite was the Native Yeast Chardonnay 2009. As the name suggests it is fermented in native yeasts, and for the wine maker this process can induce a degree of anxiety. Why? It is a non-interventionist approach that depends on the natural fermentation process, and much can go wrong along the way. California’s Frog’s Leap Chardonnay is an example of a wine created in this fashion. Anyway, Gerhard’s version is aged in French oak for nine months and presents aromas of pineapple and honey with similar characteristics in the mouth. A longer finish was noted with some toasted nuts at the end to suggest a more complex wine. Paul preferred the Special Reserve Chardonnay 2009 which was aged for nine months in Hungarian oak. He appreciated its more floral nose and fruitier presentation but did not mind the soft oak at the finish. Now for those who enjoyed the Hunt Country Chardonnay 2008, we can report that the 2009 is also unoaked and as crisp as the 2008 version; however, we observed a sharper fruit focus to the 2009 offering. It should prove to be quite popular upon release!

On to the red wines, and the Hunt Country Red 2008 was first in the glass. This Merlot-based offering was Gerhard’s personal favorite of the red wines, and I enjoyed this one, too. Aged 18 months in oak, this blend also includes 29% Cabernet Sauvignon and can be characterized as a very nice, fruit-driven bistro wine. Nice cherry notes and a smooth feel make for an easy drinker to enjoy with pizza, burgers, beef, or a simple platter of deli meats and cheeses. Paul’s favorite was the Cabernet Franc 2009 which was very similar to its 2008 sibling. Aged ten months in French oak, it offers bright cherry flavors with a spicy edge and silky finish.

As we completed our tasting, we chatted with Gerhard and learned that these new releases were the result of hard work and a determination to learn the winemaker’s craft. To this end, he consulted with other winemakers including Doug Fabbioli; we applauded his efforts, and we look forward to a potential autumn released of the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.

So of course we were hungry for lunch, and we opted to enjoy a bottle of the Native Yeast Chardonnay 2009 with cheese, bread, and toasted almonds. In the process we were entertained by the band, Expanded Waistlines. After nibbles and wine, we made certain to purchase bottle of our favorite releases and bid adieu to Gerhard von Finck. Of course, we will return to Piedmont Vineyards soon; be sure to visit Piedmont Vineyards and mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you.

Return to Corcoran

We recently visited Corcoran Vineyards. Corcoran happens to be one of our favorites. We always have a good time and enjoy chatting about anything wine with Jim and Lori Corcoran. The day we visited Jim Corcoran was on hand and we had a great conversation about wine and the wine industry.

We started our tasting with the whites of course. We tasted the 2008 Chardonnay. We noted green apple, peaches and a hint of a floral nose. We then tasted the Seyval Blanc with it’s lemon-lime flavors and sweetness, we know this one is a favorite of many. We were disappointed to find out the 2008 Viognier and the 2007 Traminette were sold out.

Onto the reds we started with my favorite, the Malbec. We noted its dark fruit, smooth tannins, and medium body. Warren noted some cedar and oak. This has been a favorite of mine since it was released. I know there aren’t many cases left. We moved on to the Meritage. Descriptors that we wrote down were dried fruit, raisin, fresh herby quality, and deep rich color. We can see this one becoming one of our favorites. We ended the reds with the 2007 Mary’s Cuvee. This one is a collaboration between Lori Corcoran and Mary Watson. It consists of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Tannat. We noted the fruit right up front. It has smooth tannins with a hint of spice. Nice job Lori and Mary!

After our tasting we enjoyed a bottle of the Malbec with our lunch. While finishing the bottle we were joined by Jim Corcoran. As I mentioned earlier, we had a great conversation about all things wine. We could sit and chat with Jim (or Lori or both) for hours and hours. Before long we had to get moving. We thanked Jim for a wonderful afternoon and headed home. If you find yourself in Loudoun County be sure to stop at Corcoran Vineyards or Hunters Run Wine Barn which features Corcoran wines.

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