3 Virginia Wineries for Fireside Sipping

untitled02Whether you are a native of the Old Dominion or a Virginian by choice, I’m reminded of a quotation, “You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!  In Virginia we have so many places to go! Historical, scenic, cultural and of course, the wineries and vineyards. Get out and shake that cabin fever!

It’s not the prettiest time in the vineyards, the vines are rough and scruffy, asleep waiting for the warmth of the sun to awaken them and the first buds to burst forth. However, it’s a great time to enjoy the wineries! Super Bowl has passed and Spring sports are just around the corner, in the meantime, what better way to enjoy a chilly day then to cozy up to a fireplace with friends with a glass of wine?

We have so many great wineries in Central Virginia, but I’ve chosen three of my favorite, all for different reasons but with a common element, fireside sipping. If you’re fortunate and have the option to go during the week days, you’ll not only avoid the crowds but can have some personal attention from the tasting room manager or even winery owners or winemakers.

All of these mentioned in this post are in the Western Albemarle, northern Nelson County area. All have Blue Ridge Mountain views, are gorgeous wedding venues (check out Borrowed & Blue) and all have  fireplaces.  Don’t miss the opportunity to head out on horseback with Indian Summer Guide Service like we did a while back with owner Ashton Beebe. Each of these vineyards offer horseback rides touring the vineyards.

While they all have much in common, each of the wineries has their own unique ambiance and appeal.

Nestled up close to the mountains is Afton Mountain Vineyards, one of the oldest vineyards in the area dating back to 1978.untitled01

Afton Mountain has the most intimate setting.  Stepping through the Mediterranean style exterior you feel as though you’ve been invited into Tony and Elizabeth Smith’s (owners of AMV) personal living room. We honestly stayed 2 and a half hours sharing a bottle of a perfect winter day Cabernet Franc and photographing with my new camera under the tutelage of our daughter, Jillian Curran of Lumina Boston photography- by the way-she does do weddings and will come to Charlottesville! Outside there are two patios and a covered pavilion offering more space for groups and special events. If you have a larger group (more than 6 or 7) please see the restrictions and special arrangements on their website. They really try to maintain an optimal wine tasting experience. untitled03

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Congratulations and Happy Chinese New Year to the Smiths and AMV for being chosen for wine pairings with the delicious menu prepared by Peter Chang and two other chefs at THE JAMES BEARD HOUSE in New York City as they celebrate the Year of the Monkey.

King Family Vineyards was on our list, of course, (love their Viognier) and in a rare moment we had the place to ourselves with the exception of one other couple. While the fireplace wasn’t lit, the tasting room host graciously offered more than once to light up the wood burning fireplace for us. untitled07

It was wonderful to see how King Family has expanded their space inside to accommodate the crowds of UVA folks and Polo fans that throng there when Spring rolls around. Like AMV, the tasting room offers a refrigerator case stocked with local snacks and has  additional fun wine lovers gift items in case you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day gift for someone special. The new Library is available for special events as well!untitled09untitled08

The most dramatic fireplace in the area is at  Veritas  with it’s floor to ceiling rock wall. The spacious bar and upstairs loft is able to handle larger groups with multiple leather sofas and expansive windows illuminating the tasting room. All three wineries have outdoor patios and seating to soak up the fresh air when the days get longer and warmer. Fire pits and outside space heaters can offset the winter chill for those so inclined. We did a complete tasting here and again, were the only ones in the tasting room until another couple strolled in briefly. We selected a port style wine, the 2012 Othello, made with 75% Tannat and 25% Merlot grapes, packed with complex flavors of dark fruit, vanilla and coffee, perfect for sipping by our own fireplace at home.untitled10

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Clearly, winter and weekdays are a great time to relax and find new wineries to visit or revisit some of your all time favorites. Oh, what places will we go…next?untitled14

 

 

 

 

 

Experiencing French Wineries vs Virginia Wineries

Clos du TriasVisions of warm sunny days, leisurely two hour lunches drawn out with conversation, an aproned waiter pouring bubbles into your champagne glass  and soft music beckon us back to the Old Country. If you’re like most wine lovers from the United States, it is a dream to visit the birthplace of  wine making, Europe. France, Italy and Spain are the most sought after destinations, followed by Germany, Portugal and Greece. 

Thomas Jefferson was just so inspired during his travels to France, thus beginning the New World efforts of cultivating grapes to make wine. He started his vines on the slopes of Monticello, his mountain top home, overlooking Charlottesville, Virginia. Richard Leahy has written a wonderful book, Beyond Jefferson’s Vines, about the history of this endeavor and the more recent explosion of vineyards in Virginia. I especially like the praise offered by  John Hagarty, www.Hagarty-on-Wine.com “Richard Leahy has woven a rich tapestry of Virginia’s wineries and winemakers. If Jefferson could peruse this book a satisfied smile would surely grace his countenance because his dream of quality Virginia wine has been fulfilled. This volume will be referenced often for those seeking to better understand the Old Dominion’s wine ascendency. A riveting and rewarding read.”

Recently, I travelled “across the pond”  in the company of my mother, to visit my sister currently living in Provence.  The movie, A Good Year, with Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard, , is one of my favorite movies and the film location of Bonnieux, Vaucluse, France was just a little southeast of Carpentras, where we made our home base. Maison Trevier,  the delightful maison we  stayed in, is within the walled village of Carpentras, around the corner from a wonderful fromagerie, La Fromagerie du Comtat. Grab a baguette, some home made fig preserves, olives and truffles from the market and you are in heaven.  As I walked into the jardin of Gina Trevier, owner of Maison Trevier,  I could almost hear the music from the soundtrack from  A Good Year 🙂

Maison Trevier & Bebe Chat
Maison Trevier & Bebe Chat
Fromagerie Vigier
Fromage

Ah, I drift….so this was the beginning of our visit to the romantic south of France, Chateauneuf du Pape, Avignon, Isle sur la Sorgue, Pernes les Fontaines, Gigondas and Le Barroux. The influence of Rome and Catholicism permeated the terroir, walled villages, monasteries and small churches and olive trees used for olive wood carvings.

11th Century St. Catherine's in Gigondas
11th Century St. Catherine’s in Gigondas

I was accustomed to our lovely tasting rooms at the wineries in Virginia. Many of which supplement the costly production of wine on the east coast by building fabulous event sites for weddings and celebrations.  Not all are like Pippin Hill Farm, Veritas, King Family Vineyards  or Early Mountain Vineyards with their beautifully appointed celebration halls (which are quite gorgeous!)  many are smaller, more intimate and not quite as opulent. Afton Mountain Vineyards has a wonderful outdoor covered space, complete with blankets and space heaters to enjoy the view even when it’s cold. They have a perfect spot with a contemporary arbor for weddings plus one of the coziest tasting rooms. See my post https://cvilleuncorked.com/2011/10/15/afton-mountain-vineyards-revisited/ for more about Afton Mountain.afton-mountain-008

Horton Vineyards
Horton Vineyards

Each winery around the Charlottesville area has it’s own personality. Some are dog friendly like Keswick with it’s Yappy Hours on Sundays but also known for fabulous weddings with a plantation feel that Scarlett O’Hara would have loved.  Some are tropical and create gourmet chocolates like Glass House Winery and seating under the glass conservatory jungle of banana trees. Pollak Vineyards sits below the mountain overlooking a pond and has offered fly fishing lessons in the past. Mountfair  does weddings on a smaller scale and many of the wineries offer live music on weekends. Veritas has their Starry Nights, outdoor fire pits and a bandstand. King Family Vineyards hosts Polo matches and  an annual benefit for breast cancer, the Pink Ribbon Polo Classic coming up on June 20th, 2014. None of this takes away from the fact that Virginia is producing award winning wines that rival the wines of the Old Country. Southern hospitality abounds and you won’t be disappointed in visiting a tasting room in Virginia.

Glass House Winery
Glass House Winery

By contrast, the wineries and tasting rooms we visited in France were small, most do not charge a tasting fee and can limit you to three tastings, unlike Barboursville Winery (with it’s 5 Star Dining at Palladio)  or Horton Vineyards where you taste quite a large selection. Not to be outdone by the ruins at Chateauneuf du Pape, Barboursville has their own ruins of Governor Barbours home, designed by Thomas Jefferson himself. In Chateauneuf,  you can taste in a Cave, a small room under ground where you may taste from several different wineries or in the main tasting room for Chateauneuf du Pape that even sells souvenirs.  The French term for tasting is  “degustation” so look for a sign that includes the term. ‘En vente directe‘ indicates that they have direct sales and “vin a’ emporter” means they sell wine that you can take with you.

Ruins of Chateauneuf du Pape
Ruins of Chateauneuf du Pape
Barboursville_vineyards_ruins_snow
Ruins at Barboursville Vineyards

In Gigondas, my favorite village of the trip, we visited a more contemporary tasting room with very small bottles in a test tube style presentation, where you may taste many vintages and some world class wines. It was a bit  like stepping up to the counter in a store than tasting at a bar, but they had an amazing selection of wines.

Gigondas Tasting Room
Gigondas Tasting Room

The smallest winery we visited was Clos de Trias in Le Barroux and the winemaker’s home really did remind you of A Good Year, family owned and operated, this winery is one of the few 100% organic, biodynamic wineries in the world. With the family Great Dane, Tauro, sneaking in to watch us barrel taste, it was the best wine tasting on our trip. The wines were excellent and we had a wonderful  tour by Paige Carnwath and my sister, both who’ve bottled, pumped, picked and tasted for the wine maker,  Evan Bakke.

Steel Tanks at Clos de Trias
Steel Tanks at Clos de Trias
clos_de_trias_winery
Tasting at Clos de Trias

 

Clos de Trias "Tauro"
Clos de Trias “Tauro”

If you want to taste wine and make an effort to converse about your tasting in France, explore this link  for French wine tasting terms. It’s like the old adage, when in Rome…

Whether you venture out to wineries in France or Virginia, the wine community is a big family, facing the same obstacles of weather, and uniting to support each other. Both countries appreciate wine from bud break or bud burst to the final product, so go, enjoy and savor the experience wherever grapes are grown.

 

A Beautiful Day- Horseback Riding in Virginia Vineyards

Ashton_Beebe_Indian _Summer _Guide_Service
Ashton Beebe of Indian Summer Guide Service in Virginia offers vineyard horseback rides

It’s a Beautiful Day, Sky Falls, You feel Like It’s a Beautiful Day, Don’t Let it Get Away- U2

Crystal skies, frosty winds coursing the rows of dormant grape vines anchored on slopes of the Virginia piedmont….feeling the snowy terroir under hoof… it was a beautiful day.

Whether you’re a horse lover, wine lover or outdoor enthusiast, a ride on horseback through the Virginia vineyards appeals to the romantic in all of us. Don’t believe me? Gentleman, ask your spouse or girlfriend if she would like to venture out on horseback, escorted by a professional guide and finish at the tasting room of one of three spectacular award winning  wineries.  Ladies, ask your husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends or bridesmaids if they would enjoy a private tour like I just described….exactly!  Which is the same reason that I arranged for my sister ( fellow oenophile-fancy name for wino) and I to do just that!

Ashton_Beebe_Saddling_Up
Cville UnCorked in Saddle

Veritas, King Family, Pollak Vineyards and Glass House Winery all snuggle up to the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains with views that arguably beat Napa Valley hands down.  All three wineries have joined with local cowboy, Ashton Beebe and his Indian Summer Guide Service, to provide a sensory experience that shouldn’t be missed. If you have any apprehensions about riding, no worries here, these horses are accustomed to the terrain and easy as can be with any novice rider.

Veritas_Vineyard_Horseback_Riding
Chloe Hodson on Horseback at Veritas

We selected Veritas Winery  for our tour and would have gladly hit all three if time had allowed. Two Socks, Beau and Murphy (Quarter Horse Pintos) were brushed down and ready for our ride. Ashton had requested the lovely Chloe Hodson,  Manager of the Farmhouse and Retreat  at Veritas, to join us for an education about the grape varieties, the terroir and the history of Veritas.  We mounted and set off towards the slopes above Veritas casually chatting, getting accustomed to the gait of the horses.  In a matter of moments, we had established a connection-multiple connections-between the four of us. Chloe immediately tripped to the fact that her boyfriend, Elliott Watkins, assistant winemaker to sister Emily Pelton and originally  from the U.K. , graduated from  Plumpton College in England, for wine making, the same school that my sister is attending for her WSET.  I knew Ashton’s family from years before where we attended church together. Small world!

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Veritas Vineyards in the Snow

The ride was comfortable, horses snorting in conversation with each other, and we continued to ascend the slopes. Should you have any reservations about riding, Ashton will put you at ease and the horses follow each other, easily used to mountain trail rides. I wanted to take pictures with my camera, no easy task when  you’re trying to relax and just take in the moment; but Ashton was riding, reigning single handedly and snapping pictures with his own camera. A nice surprise and we lapsed into just savouring the experience.  At the highest elevation on our ride, Chloe pointed out a slope where future vines would be planted and quite possibly be tended on horseback due to the steepness. It was at this point that I felt like I was in Montana,  in another era, bygone days and away from the hustle of business, cars and crowds.

Sisters
Sisters

 

Veritas_Love
Virginia is for Wine & Horse Lovers

Following our ride, we entered the  tasting room with it’s soaring ceilings and the “cork LOVE” display  playing off the slogan Virginia is for (wine) Lovers. Chloe and Elliott walked us through the extensive line up of wines produced at Veritas. Two wines of special note were first,  Elliott’s baby, a 2013 Rosé, which my sister is taking back to Plumpton College to brag on his winemaking skills. It was fun sampling wine with Ashton and getting the guided tour of the cellar and doing some barrel tastings.  

The other was the Kenmar, made with  Traminette grapes ( a hybrid of Gewurtztraminer and Joannes –Seyve (JS)  from Cornell. Emily’s  Veritas 2005  Kenmar brought national  attention to this young female winemaker as the winner of the Judge’s Choice Competition at the 2007 National Women’s Wine Competition in California.  Chloe explained the history of this wine, named in remembrance of her grandparents, Kenneth and Marjorie who passed away during 2001, the year of their first vintage. Her grandmother enjoyed sweet wines and asked that one be made to her taste, thus the Kenmar was born. As Chloe shared the sweet story about her grandmother, we couldn’t help but get teary eyed along with her. My favorite wine was the Harlequin Reserve Chardonnay 2012, a little oaky, buttery and served later at home with our favorite cedar planked Alaskan salmon. I admit that I do like creamy chardonnays…what’s wrong with that?

Chloe Guides the Wine Tasting

Chloe Guides the Wine Tasting

Our tour culminated at the winery, off horseback, (no drinking and riding despite our posed photographs to show off the link to the vineyards).  If you can arrange a horseback tour of the vineyards, try to arrange it during the weekdays when the tasting room is quieter and you can sit by the grand fireplace or really take your time learning about the wines. I cannot recommend this enough and look forward to the soonest opportunity to ride along again. Contact Ashton to arrange your vineyard tour at 434) 531-9679, he DOES answer his phone 🙂

Hanging out at the Veritas Winery
Hanging out at the Veritas Winery

If you want to create the ultimate package, horse back rides, massages courtesy  of Blue Ridge Massage Therapy ,  yoga, cooking classes, spa treatments and staying at the Farmhouse call 540-456-8100 for rates and reservations. Chloe is hands on in this area and can coordinate your visit with various pampering and adventures for your indulgences.

No, You Can't Do This!
No, You Can’t Do This!

 

Indian_Summer_Guide_Service_Horses
The Horses Ride!

Planning something entertaining for family in town this coming weekend? Check out some of the featured events at Virginia wineries. Whether you have friends or family visiting for weddings, graduations or considering moving to our lovely Central Virginia; here are some excellent wineries to consider:

King Family Vineyards & Roseland Polo

Current Match Status: The 2012 season will begin on Sunday, May 27th.

Polo Player

This Sunday! Polo Season kicks off at King Family. This is an extremely well-attended event so you may want to arrive early. Check out King Family’s website for tips to enjoy the afternoon. Best Tip: Bring some form of umbrellas for shade! Polo matches are held every Sunday from Memorial Day weekend through mid-October, weather and field conditions permitting. Matches begin at 1:30 pm and typically last about 1 1/2 hours. Matches may be cancelled depending on field conditions, rain, excessive heat or any number of reasons.

May I recommend the lovely venue listed below- Afton Mountain Vineyard boasts beautiful views and soft breezes due to their location just below the mountain pass. With the large pavilion complete with ceiling fans and now with a bar to purchase wine, bring your picnic basket and head towards the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Nelson County. Weather forecast says we’re going to be HOT this weekend.Afton_Mountain_Vineyards_Pavillion

Afton After Hours at Afton Mountain Vineyards

Live music from 6:30pm to 8:30pm featuring Eli Cook.
Glass and bottle sales only – no tastings.
Bring a chair, bring a picnic and blanket, and enjoy a beautiful evening in our beautiful vineyard setting! Light picnic fare available in the tasting house. (Inclement weather: music will be held under cover in our Pavilion!)

Glass House Memorial Day Weekend Tailgate Also, if you love tailgates, creativity and a fun crowd, head to Glass House and sharpen up your culinary and artistic flair for a winning wine weekend. YES! There are prizes and everyone wins just by virtue of a great time in the “Tropics of Free Union” This Sunday afternoon starting at 12 p.m. Reservations highly suggested.Glass_House_Winery _Conservatory

  • Prizes Awarded For:
    Best Display of ‘GHW Team Spirit’ (strong focus on GHW & GHW WINES)
    Best Single Pairing Food With a Glass House Winery Wine
    Best Indoor/Deck Spread (table set-up)
    Best Outdoor Spread (car-tailgating set-up – B.Y.O.-grill)
    Judging based on decoration/theme, food, entertainment, and overall spirit.
    Prizes:
    Winery tour for four with barrel tasting, 1 Bottle of GHW Wine,
    1 GHW T-shirt, and 4 GHW etched logo glasses.
    Two tickets to the June 12th “Taste This!” at the Boar’s Head Inn,
    1 Bottle of GHW Wine, 1 GHW T-shirt, and 4 GHW etched logo glasses.
    1 Bottle of GHW Wine, 1 GHW t-shirt, and 4 GHW can koozies.
    1 Bottle of GHW Wine, 1 GHW t-shirt, and 4 GHW can koozies.
    Questions?
    Contact Linda Hahn, Events Director at events@glasshousewinery.comRESERVATIONS SUGGESTED:Email to Events@glasshousewinery.comInclude name, phone number, table size for indoor tailgate (4’x4’ or 4’x8’) or number of cars for outdoor (tent space available behind cars, byo-tent)

2012 Festival of Wines in Wintergreen, VA on May 26 and 27

On Saturday, May 26, Virginia wines will be featured, and on Sunday, May 27, international wines will take center stage. Celebrate the Memorial Day Weekend at Wintergreen Resort on the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Proceeds support the extensive performance and educational activities of Wintergreen Performing Arts.

Location: The Evans Center at Wintergreen Resort

Dates: Saturday, May 26, 2012 – Virginia Wines and Sunday, May 27, 2012 – International Wines

Time: Noon-5:30 pm both days

Ticket Price: $20 per day includes souvenir glass; Two-day pass: $35; food will be available for purchase

Phone: (434) 325-8292 or visit: www.wintergreenperformingarts.org

Email: info@wintergreenperformingarts.org

Saturday, May 26 only

Price: $20.00

The 1st Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival

Oh, no! A conflict (unless it rains of course!) between spending time in beautiful Nelson County at the Blue Ridge Oyster Festival or heading to our own Charlottesville nTelos Pavillion for the first ever Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival. Two totally different experiences and I guess one could attend both but the idea of relaxing and being in the moment as compared to rushing to make both events leads me back to selecting only one. Sunday is the rain-date for the Blue Ridge Oyster Festival in case you want to gamble on rain.

On Saturday April 21st, the Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Wine Festival – Presented by Brown Mercedes-Benz, will take place at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall from 2-6 p.m. Special early VIP entry from 1pm – 2pm.
Attendees will be able to sample from over 90 wines from 24 Trail members.

For $75 Special VIP packages include parking, early access, exclusive catered lunch provided by C&O Restaurant, opportunity to sample select wines not available to general public and a chance to mingle with wine-makers. For $25 VIP Designated Driver tickets are available.

The wine education classes offered in 30 minute segments by Wine Made Simple look very interesting! Wine Made Simple specializes in unique wines less than $20, wine education classes and special events.  The shop opened last year and is located at the Townside Center on Ivy Road in Charlottesville.  

Reading a Wine Label  – 2:30 

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but there’s no better place to start. The graphic designs, photography and illustrations on a wine label are the first thing to catch your eye, but they are the least important. The important stuff is all there on the label and you’ll learn how to discern the information that you will need to make an informed decision and find a wine that suits your palette.

Tasting and Describing Wine – 3:15

You don’t have to be a wine expert in order to taste and evaluate wine properly. We all have out personal tastes, but objective standards for determining the quality and character of wine are helpful. Learn the seven key characteristics of wine, and improve your tasting skills and descriptive vocabulary.

Old World vs. New World Winemaking – 4:00

The “Wine World” can be divided in two important poles: Old World Wines and New World Wines. Tradition and terroir in each style produces very different wines. For instance, New World vineyards are generally in hotter climates and the grapes tend to be riper, more alcoholic and full-bodied.

Pairing Wine with Food – 4:45

 You need not always heed traditional advice, i.e., white wine goes with white meat and vice versa. Wine and food from the same region are meant to be enjoyed together, remember….what grows together, goes together. Discover the general rules that will help you make the best pairings and impress your guests.

The Relevance of Price When Selecting Wine – 5:30

The selling price of a bottle of wine is not necessarily an indication of its quality or of its potential to be enjoyed. Understand the economic and marketing issues that underscore the prices we pay for the wine we drink, and the many sensibly priced and affordable wine options available.

Author Richard Leahy

I think this is really cool! Richard Leahy will be selling and autographing newly published copies of Beyond Jefferson’s Vines, a hardback book with over 200 pages detailing the history of Virginia wine since 1619 but focuses on the last decade, with visits to wineries statewide. I met Richard at the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference just prior to the book going to print. Hmmm, Mother’s Day Gift idea? Wink!

Proceeds will benefit Jeffersonian Wine Grape Grower’s Society.  Event sponsors: Brown Mercedes-Benz – NewsRadio 1070 WINA – C&O Restaurant – redstar Merchandise – Monticello Wine Trail.

TICKET PRICES:

$29 – Advance  $35 – Day of Event

$75 – VIP $25 – VIP Designated Driver ticket

$10 – Designated Driver ticket

$10 – Ages 13-20 Kids 12 and under FREE

Participating Wineries/Vineyards:

Answers to Stump The Winos! See 7/19/2011 Post

A. Pollak Vineyard -View towards the Pond and Mountains

B.Glass House Winery-When the Raccoon ate the Pineapple

C.Flying Fox Winery-Quaint Cottage Entrance

D.King Family Vineyard-Polo Pony

E.Mountfair Vineyard-Barrel Room

F.Keswick Vineyards-Cherub Sculpture at Tasting Room

G.Blenheim Vineyards-Sign to Tasting Room

H.Pippin Hill Farm Vineyards-View from the Patio

I.Barboursville Vineyards-Ruins

J.Sweely Estate Winery-Sculpture

K.Afton Mountain Vineyards-Artwork

Just for Fun, How many did You get right?

“3” A Triple Play for Virginia Wine

If you can’t break away on Thursday March 3rd at 3:33, all is not lost!  There will be tastings of “3” at Pollak, Veritas and King Family Vineyards on March 6th.  This is an opportunity for a unique gift or collectable bottle of wine, all you oenophiles! I’m looking forward to tasting this on Sunday myself!  Below is the official press release and a bio on the winemakers. Enjoy!

Three's A Charm!

King Family-Pollak-Veritas Three Virginia Wineries Create “3”

"3"

Get your calendar out and checkbook ready!  A collaborative effort of three local winemakers: Matthieu Finot- King Family, Emily Hodson Pelton- Veritas and Jake Busching- Pollak will be released next week.  Apparently the three winemakers contemplated the idea while sipping beer . They decided to combine three varietals from each of  their three wineries to create one special wine.  Pollak Vineyards was chosen for their Petit Verdot which they have won several awards for in the past. Veritas Winery provided the Cabernet Franc, also an  Annual Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association award winner. King Family Vineyards contributed the Merlot grapes which they are well known for to complete the wine.  The blend is equal percentages, 33 1/3%  of the three varietals.  There are only 150 cases and each winery will have 50 case available for sale.

Aptly, the Release Party for “3” will be the third day of the third month at 3:30 p.m. and will be priced at  $33.30 a bottle. I’ll do the math for you:  the party will be at Pollak Vineyards on  3/3/2011 at 3:30!  No bottles will be sold prior to that date and they will definitely go fast!

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.

Monticello Wine Festival

Tonight on the West Lawn at Monticello!  The Monticello Wine Festival is an opportunity to  sample some of the best wines in our area in a historic setting.  The weather is fabulous today and everyone should have a great time, not sure if tickets are still available at this time, but for  future events, check out the Monticello Wine Trail!  One of my favorites will be represented, Pollak!  Try their Cabernet Franc!Cabernet Franc 2007 Reserve was recognized with gold at the Grand Harvest Awards sponsored by the Vineyard and Management magazine while the 2008 vintage received gold at the Virginia State Fair.

Kluge EstateVeritasKeswickWhitehallJefferson,Afton MountainGabriele Rausse and King Family wines will all be available!  Enjoy, I can’t make it but guaranteed I will be there next year! Look for future posts about EACH of these wineries and tips about making the most of your visit to them.