Oh good grief, I am of course behind on posting this recap – I clearly need more discipline in my posting routine. What makes my tardiness even worse is the fact that I am a huge advocate of Virginia Wine Month and like to get the word out to readers in the blogosphere (the ones that may not already know it’s Va Wine Month).
As Virginia wines take on a more prominent position in the wine marketplace, Virginia Wine Month will become an even more important mechanism to introduce and educate wine enthusiasts about Virginia wine. I feel that us wine bloggers here in Virginia kinda do have an obligation to support this effort by writing/posting about Virginia Wine Month and introducing our readers to Virginia wines.
To kick off this annual month-long celebration of Virginia wine, I attended the official Virginia Wine Month Kick-Off event, Vintage Tweets, hosted by the Virginia Tourism Corporation and Virginia Wine Marketing Office, at the Hotel Palomar in Arlington, VA last Wednesday evening. The event was well planned, and included a handful of Virginia Wineries, lots of great food, journalists, wine makers, and of course citizen bloggers like myself.
In addition to sampling wines that I may not have had before (or lately), I really enjoy the social aspect of these events – chatting with wine makers like Jenni McCloud of Chrysalis, and Jeff White of Glen Manor, meeting wine industry folks, and also catching up with fellow bloggers like Dezel of Vine Spot, and, Alleigh of A Glass After Work.
Of all the Virginia wine I tasted during the event, my two favorites of the evening were: Red – Glen Manor 2007 Hodder Hill. White – Chrysalis 2008 Albarino.
Chrysalis 2008 Albarino – I wasn’t aware of too much Albarino planted here in Virginia, but the folks at Chrysalis have pulled it off nicely. I was pleasantly surprised by the liveliness of this wine. Tasty – lots of bright citrus, peach, a little hint of a grassy type of component, and intense apricot throughout. I believe this one retails for $24/bottle. If you haven’t tried an Albarino from Virginia, I would highly recommend this one.
My favorite red of the evening was the Glen Manor 2007 Hodder Hill. A very small production with just 328 cases of Hodder Hill produced. This one is a blend of 63%
Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot and 7 % Cabernet Franc. Dark fruits jumped out of the glass – baked blackberries, currant, hints of over ripe plum, and smoke on the nose followed by flavors of baked dark fruit, earth and cedar box. Lighter than expected tannins, but still very nice. I’m planning a trip out to the Charlottesville area in a couple of weeks and a stop at Glen Manor is definitely on the list.
As a follow up to this kick-off event, I planned to stay in DC and visit a few wineries on Saturday while my wife was occupied at a conference. Unfortunately, I got a very late start to my Saturday, which I will blame on the Wines of Germany Twitter Taste Live event the night before. My late start meant that I would only have time to visit a couple of wineries before I had to trek it back downtown to met wifey and some of her colleagues for dinner. To that end, I opted to head out to the Middleburg area to visit one winery that I had never visited, and to revisit one that I’ve visited on several occasions.
My first stop on Saturday was Piedmont Winery in The Plains, just outside of Middleburg, VA. Since I have never visited Piedmont or tried their wines, I was looking forward to the visit. Unfortunately, this visit turned out to be one of my least enjoyable winery visits/tasting experiences out on the Virginia wine trail. Thankfully the excellent sunny Fall weather and views of the rolling hills of Middleburg dulled the disappointment of the experience. Needless to say I won’t be devoting any pixels to reviewing their wines.
My next stop was Swedenburg Winery in Middleburg. I was looking forward to visiting Swedenburg to see how things had changed since the passing of, Juanita Swedenburg, founder of the winery. Mrs. Swedenburg was a driving force in the early days of wine in Middleburg and was a champion of direct shipping.
Of the six Swedenburg wines I tasted, the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon was my favorite of tasting followed by the C’est La Vie Rose. This cab was aged in oak for two years and then cellar-aged for another year. Nice aromas of blackberry, currant, cranberry, and dusty with flavors of earth and dark berries. The C’est La Vie Rose is a semi-dry Rose. This is a great wine for a hot day. Very fresh, with raspberry and a strawberry tang.
Although I only had time for two stops on Saturday, I do have a handful of great Virginia wines that I will be highlighting this month. Check back every few days for new Virginia wine posts.
If you are in Virginia, or, will be this month, be sure to check out all of the Virginia Wine Month events: http://www.virginia.org/site/features.asp?FeatureID=189
Or, if you’re in the Virginia Beach/Norfolk, VA area, be sure to stop by the Town Point Park Wine Festival, http://www.festeventsva.org/mini-site/fall-wine-fest, the week of October 17th & 18th.
Try a Virginia wine (or two, or a few) this month!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary media pass to this event, which included wine samples by the glass. I paid normal tasting fee at both wineries I visited.