Wine: Articles

Bubbles in Virginia: Trump Winery

Virginia now has eleven wineries producing sparkling wine and Trump Winery is making two great examples.

Last week #VAWineChat featured Trump Winery, their Sparkling Winemaker Jonathan Wheeler, and the SP Blanc De Blanc 2008 and SP Rosé 2008. Jonathan shared with us some background on Trump Winery, formerly Kluge Winery, and their sparkling wines…

  • Their Sparkling vineyards, planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, were chosen because of their unique microclimates in the Monticello AVA.
  • Largest planting is 95 acres of chardonnay. 50% of vineyard production is dedicated to Sparkling.
  • They hand pick all the fruit for Sparkling by night and gently press to retain the fruit’s best qualities.
  • They are only making vintage Sparkling wine which is very different than others in Virginia.
  • Their Sparkling wines are made in the true tradition of Champagne using Méthode Champenoise.
  • Trump Winery has the capacity to produce and finish over 100,000 gallons of wine a year. The 2008 Blanc de Blanc produced 8,000 cases while the 2008 Rosé was only 1,200 cases.

While the 2008 Blanc de Blanc is delicious…100% Chardonnay and aromas / tastes of cooked apple & pear pastry…the Rosé was my favorite.

SP Rosé 2008

  • Region: Monticello AVA in Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Variety: 95% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Noir
  • Aroma: Raspberry and strawberry
  • Taste: Crisp red fruits with hints of toast
  • Price: $29
  • My thoughts: The gorgeous color and delicious taste make this a great every day or special occasion sparkler.

Trump Winery continues to receive accolades and awards for their work, building on what Kluge Winery started helping put Virginia wine on the map. Most recently Trump Winery’s 2008 Blanc de Noir was named Top Ten American sparkling wines by Gayot. And their Tasting Room is a beautiful place to visit.

Cheers to bubbles in Virginia!

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Exploring the Wines of South America

At our November Fine Wine Divas event, we explored the wide variety of South American wines tasting from Chile to Uruguay to Argentina. It’s a vast country of wine regions to explore. This great map from Wine Folly is perfect guide for finding your way around.

As we learned, the South American wine industry is booming. Now 6th in worldwide wine production, South America (and their wineries) are taking major strides to improve the sustainability of their wine industry practices. In fact, the Chilean government has committed millions of dollars to promoting “Wines of Chile” in the United States. Additionally, Chile has launched the most comprehensive sustainability initiative covering agricultural, environmental and energy conservation practices and social responsibility towards its workers ad communities.

The white and red wine line-up included…

  • NV Alma Negra Misterio Rosé (Argentina)
  • 2013 Legado Torrontes (Argentina)
  • 2012 Tabalí Viognier Reserve (Chile)
  • 2010 Luca Chardonnay (Argentina)
  • 2011 Bodegas Carrau Pinot Noir de Reserva (Uruguay)
  • 2011 Terra Andina Carmenere (Chile)
  • 2010 Bodega Colomé Estate Malbec (Argentina)
  • 2011 Undurruga Sibaris Riserva Especial Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile) 

The favorites for the evening? Two very distinct Malbecs…

Alma Negra

NV Alma Negra Misterio Rosé

  • Region: Argentina
  • Variety: Malbec (Sparkling)
  • Aroma: Strawberry, rose petals
  • Taste: Intense strawberry, licorice
  • Price: $24.99
  • My thoughts: Delicious sparkling Rosé that would make a perfect apertif for your holiday meals.

Colome Malbec

2010 Bodega Colomé Estate Malbec

  • Region: Argentina
  • Variety: Malbec
  • Aroma: Blackberries, cherries, violets
  • Taste: Black cherries,  blackberries, velvety mouthfeel
  • Price: $23.99
  • My thoughts: Full bodied smooth and elegant alternative to a Cabernet Sauvignon.

Another great thing about South American wine is the price points. While the two favorites above were over $20, the others ranged from $13 to $15.

Cheers to the great things happening in South American wine!

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Stack Wines: More Wine to Take with You

I know…do we need another on-the-go wine packaging?!? But this one caught my eye recently at World Market (which, by the way, has a nice new Wine Department design at my local store in Arlington, VA).

Stack Wines…Take It With You™ was  “innovated for simple style, top quality taste, and ultra convenience for the home, the park, or the arena. Just Zip, Snap, Sip!” It’s a convenient back of 4 pre-filled 187ml plastic glasses snapped together and ready to open. It comes in Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Charisma and Cabernet Sauvignon, all from California. I bought the Stack for $11.99.

Love the packaging…perfect for a game, picnic, Halloween trick or treating. The pre-filled glass is very sturdy and classy looking.

How is the wine? I tried the Pinot Grigio, and while it isn’t the best Pinot Grigio I’ve ever had, it isn’t the worst, especially not for ‘on the go’ wine. It has a crisp aroma with grassy notes on the taste. I’d try the red wines for sure.

Cheers to the continued innovation in wine to go!

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Autumn Food & Wine Parings with Fine Wine Divas

Our Fine Wine Divas October event was all about this delicious season, Autumn Food & Wine Pairings.

We gathered at the fabulous new hotel and hot spot in Washington, DC, The Graham Georgetown, in their farm-to-table restaurant, A.G.B.

And our wine selection for the evening took us around the world:

  • NV Steininger Grüner Veltliner from Austria
  • 2012 Idiot’s Grace Riesling from Washington, USA
  • 2009 Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir from California, USA
  • 2009 Domaine Rois Mages Rully Blanc “Les Callioux,” from France
  • 2003 Castello di Lucignano Chianti Classico Riserva from Italy
  • 2011 Venge Vineyards Scout’s Honor from California
  • 2003 Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington

While we enjoyed all of the wines, our top two for the evening were:

NV Steininger Grüner Veltliner Sekt


  • Variety: Grüner Veltliner (sparkling) from Kamptal Valley, Austria
  • Aroma: Blossoms and stone fruit
  • Taste: Lychee and citrus
  • Price: $23.99
  • Pair with: Salty or fried appetizers, or on its own as an apertif
  • My thoughts: This was a real treat! Not only did I enjoy this sparking wine from Austria but it reminded me I need to try more Grüner Veltliner as a refreshing white wine.

 2009 Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

  • Variety: Pinot Noir from Napa Valley, California
  • Aroma: Black raspberries, plum and forest floor
  • Taste: Creamy and spicy plums
  • Price: $70
  • Pair with: Anything with mushrooms, seafood and roast chicken
  • My thoughts: Elegant, smooth, and comforting, and a nice fuller bodied Pinot Noir.

While the Grüner was served on its own, it would also work well with the delicious charcuterie. The Pinot Noir was versatile enough to pair with everything, but we particularly enjoyed it with a savory mushroom and blue cheese crostini.

Our lovely host for the evening, The Graham Hotel, is Washington DC’s newest boutique hotel. The restaurant was delicious and cozy. The Observatory, the rooftop bar and lounge, offers guest panoramic views of the nation’s capital. It was the hot spot this summer as the only rooftop bar in Georgetown.

Everyone walked away with some great new ideas for wine and food pairings for the season.

Cheers to Autumn!

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October is Virginia Wine Month: Out on the Wine Trails

This month marks the 25th Anniversary of Virginia Wine Month! Restaurants, retailers and wineries across the state are celebrating providing plenty of opportunities to explore!

Virginia is home to more than 230 wineries and vineyards, seven American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), nearly two dozen wine trails and rates fifth in the nation for wine grape production.  Just last year, Wine Enthusiast magazine named Virginia one of the 10 best wine travel destinations. In August, Governor Bob McDonnell announced that the sales of Virginia wine reached an all-time high in 2013, with more than half a million cases sold.

Out on the Loudoun Wine Trail this week, I visited …

  • Breaux Vineyards: One of my favorites as it’s the most gorgeous Autumn spot. Be sure to try their newly released Equation…red wine made of 5 different grapes that are a fabulous combination for only $17. And there were still grapes plumping on the vine.
  • Sunset Hills Vineyard: I’ve heard great things about this winery and really enjoyed our visit. The restored Amish historic barn is an impressive tasting room and it’s decks are the perfect spot for a sipping a glass looking out over the vineyards. For us that meant the Cabernet Sauvignon about to be picked. The Tasting Room Team was excellent and I really enjoyed their 2011 Sunset Red, a delicious combination of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
  • Salamander Resort & Spa: This gorgeous new spot recently opened outside Middleburg! We stopped in for lunch and wine in The Gold Cup Wine Bar where they are offering a special Virginia White Wine Flight for Virginia Wine Month. It featured an excellent example of the greatness in Virginia wine, Linden Vineyards 2011 Sauvignon Blanc. Look forward to returning here to enjoy the spa and equestrian programs.

The Virginia Wine Marketing Office has a site featuring all the ways you can explore the month of wine. They’re also hosting a Scavenger Hunt you can participate in for great prizes.

And Virginia Wine Month will culminate in The Second Annual Virginia Wine Summit which is sure to be a great event, featuring wine expert Oz Clarke and some great toasts to Governor McDonnell. He leaves office early next year and has been a huge proponent of Virginia Wine. He will surely be missed by the industry.

Cheers to Virginia Wine Month!

Here’s more on Virginia wine.

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