Live Wine Blogging!!

These were the wines we tasted, I was able to taste the majority but had to jet out to pick up the bus to Monticello for dinner.  Notice  MY laptop with the house from Kennebunkport desktop!!! Richard Leahy is on my right!

Tabarrini from Italy 100% Trebbiano Spoletono retails for $17-22/btl. golden color, moderate acidity, crisp and fresh, creamy w/lemon/citrus -liked it!

Michael Shaps Viognier 2008  aged in stainless, Nice texture, winner of the Drink Local awards, bright acidity $32/btl. delicious!

Richard Leahy has a book coming out soon, to be named  Jefferson’s Vines, about Virginia’s wines. A pleasure sitting next to him!

Sivas-Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc from California originally the Sebastiani family 2010 vintage Russian River Valley 38% 62% Sonoma Valley lemony w, believe it or not asparagus! Smooth and mellow, kind of grassy and very rounded. Complex!

2008 Maycas Del Limari Chardonnay no malolactic fermentation, french oak this is not a Housewives of Orange County wine! $20/bottle Excellent!!

Keswick Vineyards 2010 Verdejo refreshing, crisp and dry w/green apple, a great summer wine especially for days like today!

Aerobics for the winemakers, they are running their legs off and talking fast!

Tarara Winery 2009 Nevaeh White Smoooth! Buttery, totally opposite the last selection! Not as complex!

Williamsburg Winery 2009 Chardonnay Decanter Wine Magazine has had this wine on their  top 400 list for the last 5 years!!  Matthew Meyer, the winemaker,  calls this is  the “Can’t we all get along” wine.

Cornerstone Cellars from Napa Valley Stepping Stone Corralina 2010 another excellent choice for a Summer wine, beautifully bright and complex! Salmon pink in color, lovely!

Emma Pearl Chardonnay 2009 10% Viognier and 90% Chardonnay, Nova Cadamatre is the winemaker and this was my favorite Chardonnay so far at a great price 0f $17+:)

Try CalNaturale for  tetra pak organic Chardonnay, 100% organic

Offf to Monticello!!!

2011 North American Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville!

In a little over a month, Charlottesville, Virginia will be hosting The North America Wine Bloggers Conference!  They are expecting as many as 325 participants, actually limiting it to that number!  This is quite a coup for Virginia and the efforts of many in the Commonwealth including Governor Bob McDonnel . With the recent opening of Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards  and this week Stinson Vineyards,  there is a lot of excitement in the air around Charlottesville’s wine country!

This is my first time to participate and I’m excited to be  learning more about wines from enthusiasts world wide!  I will be joining wine bloggers, new media innovators, and wine industry leaders on July 22-24, 2011 in Charlottesville, Virginia for the fourth annual North American Wine Bloggers Conference!  Best of all, I feel proud to be a local wine blogger and have the opportunity to show off  the beauty of our wine country and some of our superb wineries! 

There is also a Pre-Conference Excursion to Loudoun County.  Loudoun County is located just outside Washington DC and is one of Virginia’s premier wine areas, with 28 area wineries. I really wanted to join this group as well but can’t take that much time away from real estate in the summer! Other than visits to local wineries and Monticello, all meetings will be held at the Omni Hotel,  located near the end of our charming downtown pedestrian mall.

I’ve never “Live-Wine Blogged” before, hopefully I’ll get some pointers before the event!  The agenda is amazing including Dave McIntyre, wine writer for the Washington Post and founding member of DrinkLocalWine.com;  Lenn Thompson, founder of New York Cork Report; and Rémy Charest, blogger at The Wine Case in Canada.  This panel will be moderated by wine blogger, Frank Morgan of  Drink What You Like.  It will also be a great chance to meet wine tweeps in person!

New York Times wine critic and blogger Eric Asimovwill be providing the  keynote speech for the conference. I also noticed my friend Kat Schornberg Barnard of Keswick Vineyards will be attending!  I’ll know one person!

Look out C-ville, Here come the winos:)

Looking for Mother’s Day Ideas? Think Virginia Wineries!

 
Note from Keswick Vineyards: Thank you so much to everyone who voted for us in the Virginia Wine Lover Magazine’s “Best of” poll! We are so honored to have won Best Winery -Central, Most Romantic, Best Viognier Overall, Best Cabernet Franc Overall, and our talented Stephen Barnard won Best Winemaker Overall! They received over 7000 votes and the full results will be in their Summer 2011 issue!

Okay,  Dads!

I have talked to several Moms this week who had no idea what they were doing to celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend! What they all agreed on was their expectation that their husbands should a) plan something,  b) probably wouldn’t plan something and c) would wind up planning something themselves! This is a sad commentary on appreciating Moms! When I mentioned a trip to a winery, they loved the idea but thought it wouldn’t come together.

So, husbands, here are a couple of ideas that are close t0 Charlottesville and already planned for you. Buy a ticket, gas up the car and treat your lovely wife to something special. Maybe even line up a babysitter for a few hours if you have small children. There are several other wineries serving up wine and music as well. In addition to the ones listed below, check out Keswick Vineyards, Afton Mountain, Mountfair or Glass House Winery (decadent gourmet chocolates!).

Sugarleaf Vineyards                                                             

Mother’s Day Weekend Chocolate and Wine Pairing
Date: May 8, 2011
Time: 11:00AM – 6:00PM

Celebrate Mother’s Day with all the special women in your life at Sugarleaf Vineyards! Participate in a fun and informative wine and chocolate pairing. Sit outside, overlook the vineyard and enjoy the day with those you love while savoring hors d’oeuvres and wonderful Sugarleaf wines. $20 per person includes wine tasting, your personal box of wine infused chocolate truffles and hors d’oeuvres.

3613 Walnut Branch Lane
North Garden, Virginia 22959

Wine & Food Pairing
<!– Adv. Tickets Required
–>Cost: $20.00

Organizer: Sugarleaf Vineyards
Name: Lauren Bias
Phone: 434-984-4272
E-mail: info@SugarleafVineyards.com
Website: www.SugarleafVineyards.com

May07

Montpelier Wine Festival

 Address:
11393 Constution Highway
Montpelier Station, Virginia 22957
Date: May 7, 2011
Time: 11:00AM – 6:00PM

Montpelier Wine Festival
Date: May 8, 2011
Time: 11:00AM – 6:00PM

Description

The Montpelier Wine Festival is a two day event May 7 & 8 – showcasing the best of Virginia wines with music, wine cooking classes, upscale vendors and a kite extravaganza all on the beautiful grounds of James Madison’s Montpelier in rural Orange County. Enjoy a day in the country while sampling from 24 of our great wineries. Picnic on the grounds, take a carriage ride, fly a kite or sit back with your favorite vintage and listen to the music. Special tours of James & Dolley Madison’s home are just a short carriage ride away. This event is geared for the whole family to enjoy. Kids can make & fly their own kite, run on the grounds or make a balloon animal! Enjoy the whole festival with general admission or reserved your very own private table or tent to expand your experience!

Address

11393 Constution Highway
Montpelier Station, Virginia 22957

Private Parties: You can choose to have a private table for 8 which includes tickets, glasses, seating under a tent and a complimentary bottle of wine with your hospitality basket OR a private tent for parties of 12 and up which comes with all of the above, extra tables, chairs and hospitality baskets as well as VIP parking! Call 540-672-5216 to reserve yours now.
Bus/RV Parking: We welcome large groups. Parking is plentiful and we will greet your group at the bus. Call 540-672-5216 to arrange your special bus package.
Child Friendly: This is a day for the whole family. Wings Over Washington Kite Club hosts special classes to make your own kite. Then they help you fly it. They also have fun kite contests. The grounds of Montpelier are a special place to play and picnic for the whole family.
Specialty Foods: We look for the best of the best with our food vendors to compliment your favorite wines! Try butterfly shrimp or specialty crab cakes; wood fired pizza; honey baked ham treats; locally made cheeses with a great variety of breads; complete menu of vegetarian treats; baklava or chocolate covered strawberries – just to name a few tempting items.

Festival
<!– Adv. Tickets Required
–>Cost: $25 gate/$15 advance

May08

Roses and Rosé for Moms                     

DuCard Winery

Address:
40 Gibson Hollow Lane
Etlan (Madison County), Virginia 22719
Date: May 8, 2011
Time: 11:00AM – 6:00PM

Join us on Mother’s Day with a rose for all the Mom’s and discounts on our new Rosé wine. Mattie Fuller will be performing on the patio too. While supplies (of both!)last, as they say. No charge, but bring a brag picture of the little one(s), Mom.

Address

40 Gibson Hollow Lane
Etlan (Madison County), Virginia 22719

 

Roses for the Moms:

 <!– Adv. Tickets Required
–>Cost: a brag pic of the little one(s)

Organizer: DuCard Vineyards
Name:
Phone: 540.923.4206
E-mail: scott@ducardvineyards.com
Website: www.ducardvineyards.com

Don’t Be FOOLish, Visit These Virginia Wineries in April

Saturday April 2nd                                                 

White Hall Vineyards

Release and tasting of the 2009 Pinot Gris

They have joined with a few of our neighboring wineries to form the Appellation Trail.  Other wineries on the wine trail are Mountfair, Glass House Winery, Stinson Vineyards (opening 6/11) and Moss Vineyards (opening in 2012). Check back for more details on our April 16th Appellation Trail kick-off event!

Sunday April 3rd

Delfosse Vineyards and Winery

1:00 p.m. Wine and Food Pairing with menu by Genevieve Delfosse

$40 per person, reservations required.

Glass House Winery

2:15-5 p.m. Live Music with David Tewksbury

Paramount Theater “Big Night at the Paramount”

3:30 p.m. . The brothers in Big Night–chef Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and businessman Secondo (Tucci)–have come to New Jersey to open a bistro named The Paradise that serves the finest in traditional, authentic Italian cuisine.

Sample food and wine, meet winemakers and chefs before the movie. Special guests are Virginia winemaker Gabrielle Rausse and Tavola Restaurant owner, Michael Keaveny. 

Tickets are $12

Afton Mountain Vineyards

2009 Vintners Reserve Merlot Tasting one day only!

Tuesday April 12th

Barboursville Vineyards

Palladio Cooking class: Seafood

6:30 p.m. Enrollment is limited to 12 and admission is $95

 Friday April 15th TAX Day!

Keswick Vineyards Tax Free Zone zone for the day:)

Look for more events the second half of April, this should be a good start for enjoying early Spring in the Virginia vineyards!

 

 Virginia Wine Lover magazine has announced their First Annual “Best Of” Readers’ Choice Awards.

 One lucky voter will be gifted with a wine weekend getaway.

The polls close on April 15, 2011 so be sure to vote now!

Muffled Grapes?

Driving to  a bloggers  meeting this morning at Cville Sheblogs with my  cell earphone out and the radio on (highly unusual), I picked up the Joe Thomas In the Morning program.  This was very fortuitous!  The subject was part two of the battle over noise between a local land owner and his neighbor, a vineyard owner.  Apparently tension is building a bit and both sides are calling for support from local  friends and non residents alike. Joe was broadcasting the neighbor’s viewpoint after airing Al Schornberg’s side on the previous day. Unfortunately, I missed that one, Darn!  Several bloggers have posted their opinions on the matter, including Cellarblog and MattieRocks who has provided music for some of the wedding events at Keswick.

Al commented on my earlier post with an explanation of the efforts they have made to dissipate the noise level affecting neighboring farms. See his comment on ” Alert! Keswick, We’ve Got Your Back”  post from the other day.He provides a detailed list of the steps taken and I highly recommend reading his comment!

Tomorrow evening should prove interesting, look forward to seeing everyone there!  Albemarle County Board of Supervisors at 6 p.m.

ALERT! “Noise Ordinance”- Keswick,We’ve Got Your Back!

 

Keswick Vineyards is doing their best to be a good neighbor!

Come support our neighboring vineyards at the Albemarle County Office Building March 9th at 6 p.m. !

This is a reprint of Keswick’s blog that I felt should be seen by as many people as possible.

 

A Call to Action

I got into winemaking for many reasons, the love of farming and definitely a love of wine. I get butterflies in my stomach when I see sweeping vineyards and land being farmed to create products that not only bring joy to customers, but also provide a much-needed boost into the economy of the surrounding areas.

It is with this in mind that I request your help regarding a certain matter, that not only affects us at Keswick Vineyards, but also potentially many other wineries in the county of Albemarle in the future. We opened our doors last year for weddings to be hosted on the property knowing that many a bride would want to say their vows surrounded by beautiful vineyards, with gorgeous views of the Southwest Mountains. What better way to start a new chapter in one’s life.

Albemarle County’s noise ordinance leaves much to personal interpretation, and dependent on the surrounding residents may be used to force the wineries to cease holding these events. It is with this in mind that I urge you to read the information regarding this ordinance, and if you feel like we do, to sign the petition as either a resident or non-resident of Albemarle County [there are two specific petitions].

Petition for Albemarle county residents

Petition for non-residents

We are having a public hearing at the county office building on March 9th at 6pm and showing your support  would be greatly appreciated.

Kindly

Keswick Vineyards

   

Groupon Deal at High Meadows Vineyard Inn!

A friend of mine has a wonderful B & B near Charlottesville and in the vicinity of Blenheim, Sugar Leaf Keswick, Jefferson Vineyards and more!

The deal is On! Check out High Meadows Vineyard Inn featuring elegant accommodations adjacent to a vineyard tended by Gabrielle Rausse himself!

The GroupOn Coupon offers: $250 for a Two-Night Weekday Stay for Two and Farm & Winery Tour with Picnic Locavore Lunch at High Meadows Vineyard Inn (Up to $625 Value)!  No time to write more, all the details are on the link. Will plan on a much more in-depth review of this delightful Inn in the near future.  Don’t wait too long, the last GroupOn Deal they offered sold out very quickly!

Kudos to Keswick

It was my mistake!  

Remember when I first started this blog I  “fessed up” and let everyone know that I’m not a wine snob, not even close!  I love wine and learn something new about it daily.  One evening  we decided to open up  a bottle of the 2007  Estate Reserve  Heritage, a wine club selection  which had not yet been released to the public.  It is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot. We had stored it  in a rack and poured it directly into glasses.  The nose on it was  fragrant and it was a beautiful rich garnet red, but it had sediment swirling through  it.  Novice that I am, I complained on Twitter about the sandiness of this wine.  The glory of social media is split second responses and I was impressed that  Keswick acknowledged my concern.  Kat Schornberg  quickly explained the necessity of decanting unfiltered wines and let me know they would be happy (probably not real happy since this really is a very good bottle,  and possibly a  future medal winner)  to replace it. Yesterday I made my way out to Keswick with a friend and we enjoyed a tasting with Carrie Brown pouring. Carrie is always cheerful and fun and  makes  it a point to remember repeat visitors and wine club members. We especially liked the Norton Chocolate sauce drizzled on Nabisco wafers.

Carrie pouring the Norton Chocolate Sauce

 Stephen Barnard , Keswick’s winemaker, came out and brought the notorious ( in a good way) bottle of   Heritage. I think he really wanted to see how dumb I was in person!  So, now I can’t wait to try this bottle again. I did have to laugh when I read HIS blog post To Filter or No to Filter by Stephen the Sediment Slayer  in which he relays my story from a vintner”s perspective!

Anyway, my new motto is “I Shall Decant my Unfiltered Wine!”

Personally, I think everyone at Keswick is great and very much so customer oriented!  Thank You!

Valentine’s is For Virginia Wine Lovers!

                                        Call me Cupid!

Need some ideas for your special sweetheart this Valentine’s Day?  Check out some of our local wineries and  revel in chocolate and wine, an indulgence for all your senses! Pick out a sentimental card and a rose and you have the ingredients for a very romantic weekend!

DuCard Winery Valentine’s Sunday Brunch
Sunday, February 13 2011 11:30 AM seating
Here’s an elegant idea for you and your special Valentine to enjoy at their Madison County tasting room.  Charlottesville personal chef Cindy Shepard will be serving a gourmet brunch featuring local ingredients (click here for menu) and paired with DuCard Wines (of course!).  Vicky Lee will set the mood with her harp (victorialeemusic.com) $40 per person.  Seating is limited – for reservations contact scott@ducardvineyards.com or call 540.923.4206.

Glass House Winery

Mark your calendars for Sunday Feb 13th, when Glass House welcomes acoustic rock musicians The Lost Souls to Glass House.  2-5pm.  No cover. 
Also on Sunday Feb 13th, they will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with cheese and chocolate pairings with their wines!  For $15, they will pair a cheese or one of Glass House Winery’s delectable chocolates with each of their wines for this tasting.  Don’t miss it, as Michelle is dreaming up some new flavors for the occasion.   Regular $5 tastings will also be available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keswick Vineyards Be Mine With Wine

Feb 12th, 11am – 4pm
Wine, strawberries, and sweets… Spoil yourself or someone you love with Keswick Vineyards’ special wine, 2 different kinds of hand-dipped strawberries and other sweets for a Valentine’s Day indulgence.  Discover how these luscious confections complement each wine.  After your tasting, enjoy the romantic setting while you savor a glass of wine and take a guess at how many candy hearts are in their  Rosé bottle to win a free future tour and tasting for you and your sweetheart.

The cost is $12 for  wine club members and $15 for non wine club members. Reservations are recommended.

If you’re unable to break away on the weekend, stop by during the week and pick up a bottle of Norton wine for Kris’s homemade brownies!  I borrowed the recipe from the Keswick blog:

Double Norton Brownies

We’ve had a lot of requests for the recipe for Kris’ brownies that we had in the tasting room last weekend, so here it is!  It’s really simple!
 
Just take a regular box of brownie mix (chocolate or fudge) and substitute Norton wine for the water and 1/4 of the amount of vegetable oil that the mix calls for with Norton chocolate sauce.  Mix it together and bake as directed.
The chocolate sauce will make a more fudgy texture so you can use less or more depending on how fudgy you want them.  

To make an extra special treat, we topped them with strawberries dipped in whipped topping (we used equal parts mascarpone cheese and whipped topping, sugared to taste) and rolled in coconut and then drizzled the whole thing with more Norton chocolate sauce! 

 

King Family Vineyards

February 12, 2011 – February 14, 2011Valentines at the Vineyard

Celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend with your special someone at King Family Vineyards! Enjoy Gearhart’s chocolates specially selected to pair with their wines. $15/person includes souvenir glass, glass of wine, and 3 handcrafted chocolates. Reservations are recommended. 11am-5pm Saturday and Sunday, 9am-5pm Monday.

“Twelve Days of Christmas at a Virginia Winery”

 

Later on We'll Conspire ....

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me a trip to a Virginia Winery!

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me Two glasses clinking and a trip to a Virginia Winery!

On  the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me Three corks a popping,  Two glasses clinking and a trip to a Virginia Winery!

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me Four vines a growing, Three corks a popping,   Two glasses clinking and a trip to a Virginia Winery!

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me Five GOLDEN grapes, Four vines a growing,  Three corks a popping,  Two glasses clinking and a trip to a Virginia Winery!

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me Six Cab Francs Swirling,  Five GOLDEN grapes,  Four vines a growing,  Three corks a popping,  Two glasses clinking and a trip to a Virginia Winery!
 
On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me SEVEN port wines snifting,  Six Cab Francs swirling,  Five GOLDEN grapes,  Four vines a  growing,  Three corks a  popping,  Two glasses clinking and a trip to a Virginia Winery!
 
On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me Eight OCTAGONS,  SEVEN port wines snifting,  Six  Cab Francs Swirling,  Five GOLDEN grapes,  Four vines a growing,  Three corks  a popping,  Two glasses clinking and a trip to a Virginia Winery!
 
On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me Nine CHOCOLATE NORTONS,  Eight OCTAGONS,  SEVEN port wines snifting,  Six Cab Francs swirling,  Five GOLDEN grapes,  Four vines a growing,  Three corks a popping,  Two glasses clinking and a trip to a Virginia Winery!
 
On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me Ten Magnums sparkling,  Nine CHOCOLATE NORTONS,  Eight OCTAGONS, SEVEN port wines snifting,   Six Cab Francs Swirling,  Five GOLDEN grapes,  Four vines  a growing,  Three corks a  popping,  Two glasses clinking and a trip to a Virginia Winery!
 
On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me Eleven Viogniers sampling,  Ten Magnums sparkling,  Nine CHOCOLATE NORTONS,  Eight OCTAGONS,  SEVEN port wines snifting,   Six  Cab Francs swirling,  Five GOLDEN grapes,  Four vines a growing,  Three corks a popping,  Two glasses drinking and a trip to a Virginia Winery!
 
On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me Twelve vintners vinting,  Eleven Viogniers sampling,  Ten Magnums sparkling,  Nine CHOCOLATE NORTONS,  Eight OCTAGONS,  SEVEN port wines snifting,  Six  Cab Francs swirling,  Five GOLDEN grapes, Four vines a growing,  Three corks a popping,  Two glasses clinking and a trip to a Virginia Winery!

  • Inspiration for this song comes from my daughter,  Jillian who encouraged me to post something , anything, prior to Christmas.  The original idea was something about twelve wineries relating to the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Maybe next year! 
  • King Family Vineyard – Seven, a Port -this port wine is made with 100% Merlot and is fortified with brandy, and was aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels for 2 years.  The  2009 Viognier ( I love this one!) self described by the owners as 70% of the volume  fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks to highlight the freshness of the wine, and 30% in neutral oak barrels, giving the wine fullness without adding oak flavor. There are cantaloupe, honeysuckle and orange zest on the nose and mouth.
  •  Keswick Vineyards Chocolate Norton sauce is  a  gourmet chocolate sauce made with Keswick Vineyards  Norton wine.
  •  Octagon Barboursville Vineyards is described by the vintner as  a proprietary blend  driven by Merlot, with elements of Reserve Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.   Aged 12 to 14 months in new Gamba barriques of the most select French oak, air-dried a minimum of 3 years before coopering, laid down in bottle for an additional six months before release.
  • The Magnums would be from Kluge, of course!

    Merry Christmas from Me and My True Love!