Wine: Articles

Virginia Wine Expo NEW Wine Discoveries, Part 2

Yesterday and today I’m sharing NEW wine discoveries from The 5th Annual Virginia Wine Expo which featured 76 of Virginia’s now 210 wineries sampling over 400 wines.

Glen Manor Vineyards 2011 Sauvignon Blanc

In Tasting Virginia’s Gold, I shared the BIG 2010 Governor’s Cup Winner, Glen Manor Vineyards 2009 Hodder Hill Meritage. What a fabulous wine! Glen Manor was a new discovery for me at the Expo. Located about 70 miles west of Washington, DC, Glen Manor is Jeff White and his family’s farm. The family has been farming the land since 1901…his mother was born here.

They established the vineyards in 1995, first vintage was in 2007 and the winery opened in 2008. Jeff has been a vineyard and winemaker since 1993 when he worked with Jim Linden of Linden Vineyards and then provided grapes for Linden wine. Jeff focuses on Sauvignon Blanc and red Bordeaux blends and varietals. His wines reflect the vineyard soils and the vintage from which the grapes are matured and harvested.

  • Varietal: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
  • Aroma: Very aromatic…herbal, grassy, lime
  • Taste:  Tropical fruit and minerality, as Jeff said “this is a sassy little wine”
  • Price: $23
  • My thoughts: I love Sauvignon Blanc and I loved this wine and brought a bottle home! As I said in the Gold article, Jeff is doing fabulous work and you can taste it. He’s such a nice guy and when I asked him how it felt to be THE winner, he said, “It feels great. And I’m ready to go back home and be a farmer.” :)

Little Washington Winery George

Virginia’s 211th winery opened on 11/11/11 at 11:11. In Little Washington, on what owner Carl says is a beautiful spot with amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, they are producing small-batch artisan wines with their grapes as well as some sourced from other Virginia vineyards. They have three wines in their line-up to start.

  • Varietal: 50% Cabernet Sauvginon, 50% Merlot
  • Aroma: Big red fruit
  • Taste:  Red currant and black cherry (from the Merlot) with leathery tobacco (from the Cab)
  • My thoughts: This wine is a nice showing for one of their first wines…soft and easy drinking. It’s named after George Washington himself. I had a great chat with Carl and look forward to getting out to visit them.

Ingleside Vineyards 2008 Sangiovese

Located near the Chesapeak Bay on Virginia’s Northern Neck, the winery looks like it’s in an idyllic spot. As our taster at the Expo said, “they are the only winery with a boat that comes to it.”

  • Varietal: 85% Sangiovese, 11% Charbono, 4% Graciano
  • Aroma: Dried red fruits like dark cherry
  • Taste:  Soft, medium bodied red fruit
  • Price: $19.95
  • My thoughts: I haven’t had many Sangiovese’s from Virginia, and its a favorite varietal of mine when from Tuscany and a few in Sonoma. This was a nice showing and my favorite wine in their line up. It won Bronze in this year’s Virginia Governor’s Cup.

Tomorrow and Friday, wines from some of my old favorite Virginia wineries.

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Virginia Wine Expo NEW Wine Discoveries

The 5th Annual Virginia Wine Expo featured 76 of Virginia’s now 210 wineries sampling over 400 wines. It was a great opportunity for me to hit 23 wineries and sample about 100 wines, some new discoveries and some old favorites. Today and tomorrow I’ll share some of the NEW discoveries.

Mountfair Vineyards 2010 Inaugural

Located 20 minutes west of Charlottesville, Mountfair Vineyards crafts small-batch, blended red wines using classic Bordeaux grapes: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec.

  • Varietal: 65% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot
  • Aroma: Red fruit and oak
  • Taste: Very fruit forward with lots of cherry
  • Price: $25.00
  • My thoughts: This is my third time tasting winemaker Fritz Repich’s wines…what a great guy and great wines! You’d love to sit down with him over a bottle and hear all his winemaking stories. He’s doing a great job blending red Virginia grapes in Bordeaux style. This wine is very fruit forward thanks to 2010’s hot summer.

Pollak Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Franc

This small family-owned winery west of Charlottesville was founded in 2003 and opened their tasting room and patio in 2008. Today they have 27 acres of French vines and their focus is on making estate grown wine with “the finesse and balance of the traditional French varietals.”

  • Varietal: 100% Estate Grown Cabernet Franc
  • Aroma: Earthy black cherry
  • Taste: Smooth yet tart black cherry with earthiness and pepper
  • Price: $20
  • My thoughts: This was my first time tasting Pollak. Nick Dovel, tasting room director, tasted me through their wines at the Expo and I really enjoyed them. Cabernet Franc, a big grape and wine for Virginia…I like the fruit forward nature of this one with hints of pepper that aren’t overpowering.

Annefield Vineyards 2009 Viognier

Annefield is a boutique winegrower near the village of Saxe in Southern Virginia. Named after the Annefield Plantation dating back to 1770,  it was founded in 2005 on the land by Stephen M. Ballard and Michael T. Leary. Wines are traditional old-world style produced by winemaker Michael Shaps with Virginia Wineworks.

  • Varietal: 100% Viognier
  • Aroma: Bright honeysuckle
  • Taste: Crisp honeydew melons and citrus with silky mouthfeel
  • Price: $22
  • My thoughts: Really liked this wine! Also loved the wordle sheet they were giving out describing each wine. :)

Visit their websites to find out where you can buy them or if they ship to your state.

More NEW Virginia wine discoveries tomorrow.

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Wine Discoveries: Greece

A smell and sip of the Assyrtiko…a bite of the Spanakopita…the Greek music playing in the background…for a moment, I was back in the Greek Islands. Alas it was Winesdays at my Alexandria, VA Whole Foods. But for an hour, as I walked around with my grocery cart sampling the five different Greek wine varietals and food pairings, I was momentarily transported to Greece. And it was fabulous to try some new Greek wines!

 Elios Mediterranean

  • Varietal: 50% Moschofilero, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Roditis, 10% Savatino
  • Aroma: Creamy lemony almost creamsicle-like
  • Taste: Honey, vanilla, lemon with touch of oak
  • Price: $11.99
  • Thoughts: Elios name comes from Helios, the personification of the sun in Greek mythology. You can definitely pick up the Chardonnay in this wine that’s blended with the other Greek grape varietals. Nice dry white wine.

Yannis Assyrtiko Santorini

  • Varietal: 100% Assyrtiko
  • Aroma: Fresh, sand, slight smokey
  • Taste: Dry, crisp, sea salt, minerality
  • Price: $14.99
  • Thoughts: I first discovered Assyrtiko in Santorini, its native land. It’s a very interesting and unique grape and wine. Quite dry with a slight smokey aroma and taste that comes from the volcanic soil on Santorini. It grows throughout the island in these great little bushes of vines.

Foundi Naoussaia

  • Varietal: Xinomavro
  • Aroma: Bright cherry, cedar, licorice
  • Taste: Earthy, smokey, cherry
  • Price: $14.99
  • Thoughts: This was definitely a new grape varietal and wine to me.  The Xinomavro grape is indigenous to northwestern Greece. Wednesday night it was described as Greece’s Pinot Noir which is a good description.

Nostos Manousakis

  • Varietal: Syrah, Mouvedre, Grenache Rouge, Roussanne blend
  • Aroma: Jammy, smokey, sweet smell
  • Taste: Brown sugar and caramel with dark fruit
  • Price: $18.99
  • Thoughts: This wine comes from the island of Crete. Very neat wine described as Greece’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It paired perfectly with the Eggplant Moussaka…yum!

Kourtavi Mavrodaphne

  • Varietal: Mavrodaphne, Black Korinthiaki
  • Aroma & Taste: Sweet raisins and dates
  • Price: $11.99
  • Thoughts: This sweet red dessert wine comes from the foothills near Patras in the north west Peloponnese. Very Port-like but much more fruit forward.

Definitely pick up a bottle at your local Whole Foods, wine shop or order one when out at a Greek restaurant. For more information on Greek wine check out New Wines of Greece.

Yamas to Greek wine!

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Italy in Sonoma

Sangiovese, barbera, primitivo…the classic Italian grape varieties most cultivated across Italy. But grown in Sonoma, California?

Read my full article on Palate Press, the online wine magazine.

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March is Virginia Wine & Dine Month

Virginia Wine & Dine Month, with its Love by the Glass promotion, is a celebration of Virginia wines at more than 500 participating restaurants and wine shops across Virginia making March the perfect month to explore Virginia wine.

Visit Virginia Wine’s Wine & Dine site to find special events, restaurant offerings and retail promotions. Here’s a sample …

Virginia Wine’s website is a great place to find your closest of Virginia’s 200+ wineries to visit this month. And if your local restaurant or retailer isn’t carrying Virginia wine, March would be a great month to suggest they get in on the fun.

Cheers to Virginia wine!

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