Weekly Sip: Chateau Coucheroy Graves Blanc 2004

Review: This is nice inexpensive Sauvignon Blanc out of the Graves wine producing area in Bordeaux, France. A blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon, the Semillon adds complexity and structure and balances out the acidity nicely. This is a less grassy example of Sauvignon Blanc that has benefited from a few months of French Oak aging, which has rounded it out quite nicely.

I purchased this wine a few weeks back at Total Wine in Springfield, VA for $10.99. I sipped this wine from Tuesday thru Friday storing the bottle in my wine fridge at 55° F and it stayed consistent throughout.

This Sauvignon Blanc is straw yellow in color. The nose is pleasant with aromas of bright citrus fruit, namely grapefruit. It is smooth and complex with lush citrus flavors framed in faint notes of vanilla and mild oak.

I would pair this with a grilled chicken or fish dish in a heartbeat. At $10.99 this is a wine I felt was a good bargain and would definitely buy again.

Happy Sipping!



Pearmund Cellars visit: VineSpot meets VirginiaWineTime

On Saturday we had the pleasure of meeting with Paul and Warren of Virginia Wine Time blog at Pearmund Cellars located in Broad Run, Virginia amongst the picturesque foothills of Fauquier County. We have maintained consistent chatter via email for some time now so it was only appropriate for us to meet and enjoy some fine Virginia wine together. Being quite new at internet blogging, it was the dynamic duo of Paul and Warren that inspired me to start my very own wine blog since developing a penchant for visiting the local wineries on the weekends.

Pearmund Cellars

Pearmund Cellars, owned by the much respected and well known Chris Pearmund, is a relatively new winery that has matured and developed quite nicely since opening for business in 2003. Chris Pearmund has also assisted and helped a number of wineries in Virginia, leaving his mark for quality wine all along the Virginia wine trail.

VA Wine Bloggers: Niki, Dezel, Paul and Warren

After greetings and some friendly banter, we decided to head in and get started with a tasting. We all have visited Pearmund Cellars at different times in the past, and since our last visit, there were a few new releases we were eager to try. I also have to note that the tasting room at Pearmund Cellars is very nice and spacious with wine related décor and some very nice and unique wine related merchandise.

Pearmund tasting bar

Our tasting was very pleasant as our tasting associate was very amicable and informative, telling us about all the delicious wines as she poured each and informed us about Chris Pearmund’s latest project which I will expound upon later. It was also fun tasting and chatting away with Paul and Warren about the wines we were sampling and just about anything wine related. Having four inputs into something as subjective as taste and aroma was very nice and enlightening. Warren was able to detect the slightest soupcon of herb and mint that we did not detect the first time around and this really heightens the tasting experience for all involved.

We thoroughly enjoyed all the wines tasted, but decisions had to be made to find an accompaniment to our lunch. It was planned that Paul and Warren would bring food items that pair well with white wines, and Dezel and Niki would bring food items that pair with red wines.

Wines to note during our tasting were the Viognier 2005 which displayed a pleasant nose and fruity and tropical flavors with slight grapefruit notes. The Viognier 2004 was not tasted, as there are only a few cases left; this is the last of it so if you enjoyed the 2004 vintage get it while it last! The Estate Chardonnay has a nice full mouth feel with ripe tree fruit flavors framed with toasted notes. One of the best Virginia Merlots (a WIO), Lisa’s Merlot 2004, a nice food pairing wine, displayed dark fruit and slight vegetal flavors on the palate, followed by herbs and spice with a nice long and lingering finish. I would also recommend the Cabernet Franc, another good food pairing wine that exhibits good varietal character and was rather tasty.

We decided to have lunch outdoors under the shade and the two wines selected by the tasters were the Viognier in the white category and by unanimous decision in the red category, Lisa’s Merlot. For lunch we had all sorts of delicious foods from grilled chicken, ham, spiced pork loin, citrus marinated asparagus, wild rice with vegetables, crackers and cheese, spreads, sauces, fruits, gourmet breads, and I’m sure I forgot something but last but not least chocolate and several delectable desserts.

Lunch picture

We went with the white friendly foods first and the marriage between our food selections and the wine was proven on the palate, simply yummy. Slightly full, but not tapped out we moved on to Lisa’s Merlot and the red food selections. Again, blissful matrimony solidified on the palate proving wine to be the perfect accompaniment to food when paired correctly. Did someone say sweet ending? Indeed Dezel did and there was one; for dessert we all shared a bottle of the wonderful aromatic, apricot and honey laden Late Harvest Vidal with several delectable pastries. During lunch and dessert we had very enjoyable and entertaining conversation about Virginia wine, anything wine related, and then just about anything, and then back to wine again. It was so much fun that the day just passed us by and we have plans to get together for another meeting in the near future. Wine indeed fosters friendship, promotes conversation, and inspires mirth and good times amongst those who have an enthusiasm for the fermented grape juice.

Vineyard picture

In closing I encourage readers to visit Pearmund Cellars as we did and pack a pinic basket and find a wine that works for you and with your food selections. All the wines at Pearmund Cellars are delicious and high quality so you cannot go wrong. In addition to, Chris Pearmund’s exciting new project, The Winery at La Grange will open doors Labor Day Weekend. The winery is housed in an historic manor house that dates back to the late 18th century. I encourage readers to check the web site, view the pictures, history and current wine offerings, it is so exciting, make sure you are part of the fun! This is the first Virginia winery in Prince William County.

Chris Pearmund taking a break from work to smile for the camera!

As always, but with a twist, if you decide to visit Pearmund Cellars tell them you read about them on Virginia Vine Spot and Virginia Wine Time as we were both present Saturday having a wonderful wine day!

Happy Sipping!



Weekly Sip: Chateau Fleur de Rigaud Bordeaux Superieur 2002

Review: This is a nice inexpensive and introductory Bordeaux offered under the Bordeaux Superieur AC. These Bordeaux’s are drinkable young, reasonably priced, and still displays the elegance for which more expensive and complex Bordeaux’s are known for.

This simple, yet tasty wine was purchased at Rick's Wine and Gourmet in Alexandria for $9.99. I sipped this wine from Monday thru Thursday, storing the bottle in my wine fridge at 55° F and it stayed consistent.

This Bordeaux is a dark purple color, nearly opaque with a slight vegetal and blackberry nose and similar flavors. It is smooth and rich with a satisfying mouth feel. At the bargain price I would buy it again for my weekly sipper.

Happy Sipping!



Tarara Winery : Sounds of Summer Concert Series

After several days of sweltering and searing heat, the weekend promised to be pleasant with mild temperatures. Mother Nature did not disappoint one bit as the weekend proved to be an excellent excuse to be outdoors.

Feeling Sunny ?

Never one to shy away from Mother Nature’s gifts, we decided to pack a picnic basket and pay another visit to a familiar and festive place. Tarara Winery, located in Leesburg, VA, is situated on 475 customer friendly acres and is what I moniker a wine lovers Neverland Ranch; it is simply beautiful and picturesque to say the very least.

Tarara Winery is at the midway point in their 2006 Sounds of Summer Concert Series. We have been to three concerts this year and they all have been memorable and pleasant. The concerts are held from 6pm to 9:30pm every Saturday until September 30th. They are family friendly and the fee for adults is $10 and kids get in free. Your entry fee covers a wine tasting of up to five wines of your choice including the Reserve wines.

Winery lineup at tasting bar

We proceeded to the outdoor tasting bar and sampled 5 of their white wines, since we had sampled the reds a few weeks back when we visited. As a matter of fact the last time we visited we were with friends and enjoyed bottles of Tarara’s Wild River Red 2004, Cabernet Franc 2004 and the Reserve Merlot 2003, all of which were tasty. See my post for notes.

Pinot Gris 2005

While enjoying the lovely evening, we decided on something refreshing and fruity to accompany the food we packed. The Pinot Gris 2005 danced about my palate during my tasting and made its way to our table. As I mentioned a few posts back, there is something to be said for these 2005 Virginia white wines. The Pinot Gris 2005 has a subtle floral and citrus nose with citrus, namely lemon flavors and finished rather nicely and went well with our food selections, thus complimenting the lovely evening.

Band performing, Shadow Lake in the background

Crowd enjoying the lovely evening

Beautiful Shadow Lake

In closing, we once again had a wonderful time at Tarara. Tarara is taking the lead on these festive events and many more wineries are following suit. It is a nice way to get individuals, couples, families and groups involved in other activities centered around our favorite healthy beverage wine!

I encourage readers to plan a visit to Tarara. It’s truly an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday evening and I assure you there will be more Sounds of summer posts from me. We really enjoy the wines, music and people there.

Great time at Tarara, and yeah Thin Lizzy rocks to !!!

When you decide to visit Tarara tell them you read about them on Virginia Vine Spot!

Happy Sipping!


King Family Vineyards visit

Just a short trip west of Charlottesville, surrounded by acres of green rolling hills, horse farms and stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains sits King Family Vineyards. Located in Crozet, VA, King Family Vineyards is home to Michel Shap’s wines, a name well known with quality and award winning wines in Virginia.

Beauty runs deep along the Monticello Wine Trail, and this would be no different as the outdoor views were just breath taking. As I walked into the winery, I thought to myself what a perfect place for a picnic and a glass of fine wine.

Front of Winery, preparing for event

Upon entering, we were greeted and had to wait a few short minutes to be served as the weekend crowds were out enjoying and experiencing Virginia wines as we were. We walked about the tasting room enjoying all the charming decorations, wine merchandise, and noted the inviting fireplace for the winter months.

Tasting Room (fireplace)

Proceeding to our tasting, we were joined by a friendly couple from Georgia and would be hosted by King Family owner, Ellen King. Before tasting she brought out a youthful Petit Verdot bunch to illustrate the process of veraison. Veraison is the point in the growth of a grape when they begin to soften and change color as seen in the picture below.

Veraison in Petit Verdot

Tastings are complimentary, and the wines offered were the following: Chardonnay 2005, Viognier 2005, C’rose 2005 (Rose blend), Cabernet Franc 2005, Meritage 2004, Late Harvest Cabernet Franc 2004, and lastly the Late Harvest Viognier 2005.

I would be telling a Pinocchio of a tale if I said we did not enjoy every pour and the descriptions that accompanied each, and I’m certain the couple tasting with us would certainly agree.

Tasting Bar pictures

Wines to note during our tasting were the 2005 Chardonnay which had a wonderful smooth texture, ripe apple flavors and toasted notes from French barrel aging. The 2005 Michael Shaps Viognier was delightful on the palate, highly aromatic with intense tropical and citrus flavors to compliment. Viognier has certainly found a home in Virginia and this was a very fine example. Another varietal finding a home in Virginia is Cabernet Franc and the 2005 Michael Shaps Cabernet Franc is of exceptional quality. This smooth wine displayed pleasant dark fruit aromas and flavors rounded out by silky approachable tannins. Last but not least is a Cabernet Franc lovers treat; the Late Harvest Cabernet Franc 2004. Full and rich with dark fruit aromas, cherry flavors and velvety tannins, this nicely balanced hedonistic sipping pleasure was satisfyingly delicious. Unfortunately it is currently sold out until September 2006; I already called about securing more.

Outdoor seating and stunning views

Vineyard picture

In closing we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to King Family Vineyards. From the wine, to the service, to the resplendent surroundings, this is a must stop on the Monticello Wine Trail. I encourage readers to visit the King Family Vineyard web site for events, as there are live Polo matches some Saturdays and other events scheduled on their calendar. If and when you pack your picnic basket and decide to visit this wonderful winery please let them know you read about them on Virginia Vine Spot blog.


Oakencroft Vineyards & Winery visit

Last Friday we decided to jump on the Monticello Wine Trail and visit a few wineries we have heard great things about but hadn't the chance to visit. Situated amongst the green and rolling countryside with vista views of the Blue Ridge Mountains sits Oakencroft Vineyard and Winery. While driving up, we couldn't help but notice the beautiful serene lake out front hosting ducks and wild geese.

Oakencroft Vineyards & Winery

On the inside you will find a nicely decorated and charming tasting room with just the right lighting to compliment the wonderful woodwork and rustic appeal.

Tasting Bar

We were greeted with a friendly hello and proceeded to the tasting bar. The wines we would be tasting were the 2005 Chardonnay, 2005 Seyval Blanc, 2005 Viognier, Countryside White blend, 2003 Petit Verdot, 2004 Merlot Reserve, Country Side Red blend, Sweet Virginia blend, and their sweet ending, the 2004 Encore.

Everything lived up to the tasting notes and varietal character, and was very pleasing to the palate. Wines I noted were the 2005 un-oaked Chardonnay which displayed tree fruit flavors and nice acidity. The 2005 Viognier was nicely done with surprising and pleasing aromas of banana and fruit loop cereal and was very inviting. The 2003 Petit Verdot, a wonderful food pairing wine is full bodied and rich, displaying mild dark fruit and ripe tannins. The 2004 Merlot Reserve was full bodied, velvety smooth, displaying cherry notes and supple tannins. Last but not least is the sweet ending, the 2004 Encore. This pleasantly aromatic rich dessert wine, 70% Vidal and 30% Traminette is an ice styled wine that packs fruit forward intensity and a nice smooth lingering finish.

The Wonderful Outdoors

In closing, we had a wonderful experience at Oakencroft conversing and enjoying their quality wines. The grounds are well manicured and attractive, thus a perfect setting for a picnic. We also secured stickers for our Passport to Virginia Wineries 2006 book with this visit. Our goal remains getting as many stickers as we can this year, which means visiting many more wineries.

I encourage readers to visit this delightful winery and please let them know you read about them on Virginia Vine Spot blog.

Happy Sipping!


In the news: And the Winner is ...

Speaking of 2005 Virginia White Wines, there is a local winery that has received high praise and accolades for their 2005 Viognier which I have not had the pleasure of tasting yet. Needless to say that will not be for long.

The Times Community news reports that Rappahannock Cellars has earned the acclaimed 2006 Governor’s Cup for their 2005 Reserve Viognier from a field of over 250 entries.

Also in the news is Gray Ghost bringing home the Gold for their transcending 2005 dessert wine, Adieu, in an International Wine Competition. That I have tasted and it is liquid gold in a glass to say the least.

CLICK HERE to read the complete report.

Happy Sipping!


In the news: Self Distribution Rights

It's been a month since Virginia wineries lost the right to self distribute and I've noticed from local tasting room talk that many consumers are not aware or not quite certain how this ruling affects Virginia wineries.

Most of the smaller wineries we visit respond that they are not severely impacted by the July 1st ruling when asked. A great number of the smaller wineries sell a large percentage of their wines at the winery; which is an indication that the masses are getting out and enjoying, as well as supporting Virginia wine!

I also encourage readers to support wine events and festivals in the local area; CLICK HERE for upcoming events.

Two really good explanations of the self-distribution issue can be found below. Hopefully this situation will be fixed next session.

* Doug Fabbioli of Fabbioli Cellars has a good explanation of the situation at Doug Lug's.

* The Hampton Road's Daily Press wraps the issue up pretty nicely as well.

Happy Sipping!

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