The Odd Couple: Wine and Grits

Unlike ‘My Cousin Vinny’, Dezel has seen many a ‘grit’ over the years. In my younger years, it was commonplace to have eggs, fresh sausage, and grits for breakfast every morning. Yummy!

I was quite surprised, when living in California and now here in Virginia, to see how many people dislike or are not familiar with this popular southern selection. I know people in Louisiana and Texas who would choose grits over chocolate for dessert.

~Shrimp and Grits~

Dezel was quite surprised when visiting Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg this past Saturday and spotting grits on the dinner menu. Matter of fact, once I spotted this menu selection my eyes looked no further. The menu item read as follows:

Shrimp and Grits
sautéed gulf shrimp, sausage, tomatoes,
greens, madeira, cheesy stone ground grits

Now that I had a satisfying food selection, I found myself teetering on the side of uncertainty as to what wine would pair well with this fine dish. I have honestly never thought about which wines would pair well with a grits dish because most of the time I think of grits as a breakfast food, and milk or juice are no-brainers.

After a few minutes of pondering the wine list, I took the safe route and went with a Spanish Cava Brut. I figured this sparkling wine would be dry with a nice level of acidity making it a food friendly selection. Overall, the pairing was a good date and the sparkling brut displayed some nice tree fruit flavors with a pleasant presence of acid.

Now since grits are back on my radar, I plan on fixing some southern dishes such as fried catfish, oysters, shrimps and you guessed it, grits. Which wine selection do you think will marry well with this food combination? I was thinking about a dry Riesling, what would you recommend?

Happy Sipping!



Lost Creek Vineyards visit

While visiting Loudoun County last weekend we decided to pay a visit to Lost Creek Vineyards. Lost Creek Vineyards is a charming family run winery that is owned and operated by Bob and Carol Hauck and is a short distance from historic downtown Leesburg. Lost Creek Vineyards was one of our first winery visits ever, and since those early days, just a year ago, we have enjoyed a few trips back to say hello and enjoy the friendly atmosphere and quality wines.

Lost Creek Vineyards

Moving to the tasting bar we were warmly greeted by a familiar face. Every time we have visited Lost Creek we have had the pleasure of having our tasting hosted by Rose, Lost Creek’s wonderful taste room associate. Rose knows a great deal about the winery, the wines being poured, and what food selections pair well with Lost Creek's wines. Rose is very informative and provides good descriptions of the wines poured, making the tasting experience pleasant and satisfying.

Tasting Bar

Lost Creek is currently offering five of their wines for taste. There are usually a few more but from talking with staff they have successfully sold out of some of their selections and are expecting new arrivals soon. Readers should check their web page for upcoming wine release news. During our tasting the following wines were poured: Chardonnay 2005, Vidal Blanc 2005, Rose 2005, and the Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. All of the wines tasted exhibited good varietal character and were all well done. One of our favorites, the Vidal Blanc 2005, a French-American hybrid grape, is nicely done with good fruit flavors and a pleasant crispness. The Vidal Blanc pairs well with crab cakes, Tai and Chinese cuisine, or on its own as a nice patio or deck sipper. Another favorable holiday selection that is expected soon in the tasting room is Courtney’s Christmas blend. We enjoyed this selection last December, and trust me, so did many others, as we were witness to the many requests for it in the tasting room. This unique wine is a blend of Chambourcin, Merlot, and Chardonnay with a hint of cranberry. I gifted several bottles for Christmas last year and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. Also, just released is Sweet Summer, a fun, light and fruity semi sweet wine made from 25% Apple Wine blended with Vidal, Viognier, and Chardonnay.

Tasting room

Outdoor covered picnic area

Although the temperature is dropping, during the warmer months Lost Creek is the ideal place for an outdoor picnic. There is a nice covered deck and gazebo for visitors to enjoy. During the cooler months, like now, you will find a spacious tasting room with tables and chairs and a nice stone fronted fire place. This is the perfect compliment to the warm baguettes, meat selections and local cheeses, that are available for purchase to pair with your wine selection. Looking for wine related Christmas gifts? The tasting room is stocked with some really nice local wine related crafts, art work, shirts, jewelry and other gifts ideas.

~ Yummy ~

No trip to Lost Creek is complete without a visit to neighboring winery Hidden Brook Vineyards. Hidden Brook is owned and operated by Bob’s son and is a stones throw away from Lost Creek Vineyards. It is housed in a spacious and charming log home, and although each produces wines vinified from similar grape varieties, they do contrast in style.

Lost Creek Vineyards

Also, as noted on Lost Creek’s web site, consulting winemaker Tom Payette has joined the team and we eagerly await Lost Creek’s upcoming vintage. In closing, I recommend readers make plans to visit Lost Creek Vineyards and neighboring Hidden Brook Vineyards. You can pack a picnic basket, or purchase the light fare available in the tasting room and enjoy the cozy fireplace. When you visit please let them know you read about them on Virginia Vine Spot.

Stay tuned for the following:

  • What do I pair with this ?
  • Village Winery visit
  • Windham Winery visit
  • Hillsborough Halloween Party
  • Some more wine reviews and wine talk

Happy Sipping!



Weekly Sip: Twisted Oak Canterbury Viognier 2005

Located in Gold Country, where the 49’ers (not the football team) sought riches long before the weekly lottery, sits Calaveras County, California . To its credit are the California Gold Rush and a very popular short story published by Mark Twain about jumping frogs and a race. Quiz time; anyone know the name of this famous short story?

Twisted Oak rubber chicken plays with cork

Calaveras County also plays host to fine wine, and in this case a fine Viognier she is. The Twisted Oak Canterbury Vineyard Viognier 2005 is a single vineyard, fuller bodied, lush and rich example. Indeed she can be described as voluptuous and perfumed, with pleasant aromas of peach, citrus, vanilla and floral notes. The aromas transcend through to the palate with rich and creamy flavors of peach, vanilla, sweet oak and hints of nuttiness and coconut. The finish is medium in length, but she is not quickly forgettable by any means. This Viognier could be laid down for a few years, or you can readily enjoy her now. She can be enjoyed on her own, or paired with spicy Indian, Chinese or grilled chicken and seafood dishes.

Next week I will be reviewing the Calaveras County Viognier 2005. I suspect this selection to be more fruit driven, with less oak influence. Let’s see if I am correct in my assumption. To see what fellow blogger Winesmith thinks of the Calaveras County Viognier 2005 click here.

As with the Cabernet Franc tasting we held, it’s enlightening, revealing and fun to sample varietals you enjoy from different regions. Over the warmer months Dezel has enjoyed many local examples of Viognier. Dezel has equally enjoyed nice examples from South Africa , Australia , Washington State , and now California . If you are looking for a nice example of a mouth filling Viognier from California , look no further, Twisted Oak Canterbury Viognier 2005 should be a strong consideration.

Be sure to check their site out and their wine listing. Also check out their blog; they really know how to have a good time!

Stay tuned for the following:

  • Visit to Lost Creek Vineyards.
  • More wine news!
Happy Sipping!



Weekly Sip: Horton Vineyards Viognier 2005

When Dennis Horton first planted the now popular Viognier grape variety in the early 90’s, there was said to be less that 350 acres planted in the world. This rare white wine grape variety could be found namely in the appellation of Condrieu where it was losing acreage to other well behaved and popular varieties. Viognier can now be found in most wine producing regions and has made quite a comeback in France where thousands of acres are now planted with the aid of research and better site selection. Condrieu is indeed the pinnacle of Viognier success, but Virginia also produces some excellent examples. The aromatic and fashionable white wine can be found at a great number of Virginia wineries. Many local drinkers think Viognier to be the flagship white wine of Virginia. May I ask you to guess the red? Hint; I just hosted a wine tasting where this varietal took center stage.

2005 was a good year for Viognier in Virginia and we have tasted a number of noteworthy selections this year. As elegant as Viognier may be, it is not a wine that gains complexity with age. The best are to be drunk young, so find a bottle and enjoy it as I did the Horton Viognier 2005.

Elegant and floral describes Horton’s current vintage. On the nose are nice floral notes with lush honey, vanilla and apricots flavors on the palate. This wine is priced at $20 (at winery) and can be found at the winery, local wine stores and grocers. Viognier generally pairs well with grilled fish, white meats and mild chesses and of course on its own. Has anyone enjoyed any other Virginia Viognier this year? If so please leave a comment or drop me an email.

Stay tuned for the following:

  • Visit to Lost Creek Vineyards.
  • Dezel gets Twisted with a CA Viognier and a rubber chicken.

Happy Sipping!



Willowcroft Farm Vineyards visit

A few Fridays ago, we decided to weather mother nature's consistent down pour and head out to Loudoun County to pay Willowcroft Vineyards a visit. Willowcroft Vineyards is located in Leesburg , VA and sits atop Mount Gilead , offering spectacular views of the Loudoun Valley and surrounding countryside. As a matter of fact, autumn along with her vivid and picturesque colors of red, orange, gold, and brown were just beginning to set in; I bet you she is a wonderful palette of fall colors right now.

The Winery

Willowcroft’s winery is located in an aged, yet charming red horse barn. The dimly lit tasting room also shares the same rustic and enchanting allure. It is certainly the perfect place to sample some of Lew Parker’s single varietal and blended wines. Lew Parker, along with wife Amy Parker, owns and operates the winery and vineyard. Willowcroft wines are estate bottled and have long appealed to Northern Virginian wine lovers.

Tasting bar

Indoor seating area

We were warmly greeted by Marketing Director, Kelly Peck, who would guide us through our wine tasting. At Willowcroft, guests taste 6 wines from the tasting sheet. There are usually between 10 to 12 wines listed on the tasting sheet and guests can select which wines they prefer tasting based on availability.

Dezel at tasting bar

Kelly made us feel very comfortable telling us all about the winery and current offerings. The following wines were to be poured: Chardonnay Reserve 2004, Vidal 2005, Riesling – Muscat Ottonel blend 2005, Traminette 2005, Fitzrada’s Reward (Cab Franc/Sauvignon, Merlot blend) 2003, Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 and for the sweet ending, the Claire Vidal Blanc 2005. All wines poured exhibited good varietal character, and we enjoyed Kelly’s descriptions of each wine and recommended food pairings.

Wines to note during our tasting were the Chardonnay Reserve 2004, which displayed nice tree fruit on the palate with toasted notes. Done in a fuller and oaky style, this wine would pair well with grilled chicken or fish and white cream sauce dishes. Following the Chardonnay, we enjoyed the Traminette 2005, a white wine hybrid grape produced from Gewurztraminer and Seyval Blanc. This wine displayed pleasant aromas and an abundant of fruit on the palate with mild sweetness. This wine would do quite well on its own or accompaniment to light hors d’oeuvres. Moving onto the reds, the 2003 Fitzrada’s Reward, named after a horse that once graced Willowcroft's grounds, is a light styled red blend. This wine can be served at room temperature or slightly chilled and displays berry fruit flavors on the palate, and much to Kelly’s recommendation, would pair nicely with a tasty New York style pizza. The next satisfying red selection was Willowcroft’s award winning Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, which is blended with 10% Petit Verdot and 13% Chambourcin. The Cabernet displayed a nice dark color with dark berry and cherry flavors on the palate. Supple tannins and a solid structure makes this wine the perfect match to red meat and hearty red sauce dishes.

Outdoor picnic area at Willowcroft

As with our first visit, we had an enjoyable time at Willowcroft Vineyards and also secured our final sticker to complete our Loudoun Wine Trail 2006 booklet. Kelly informed us of several upcoming special events hosted at the winery, so be sure to check out and bookmark their web site. Next Saturday, October 29th Willowcroft is hosting a Cabernet Franc tasting that sounds like a great opportunity to taste, have fun, and learn about the ancient Bordeaux grape variety that does quite well here in Virginia.

Willowcroft Farm Vineyards

In closing, I recommend readers pay a visit to the Parker’s wonderful farm winery and enjoy some of their fine wines for yourself. When you do visit please let them know you read about them on Virginia Vine Spot.

Happy Sipping!



Taste panel discoveries: Australia

A few Sundays ago, I was faced with a somewhat difficult decision. Stay at home in classic Al Bundy fashion and watch NFL football, or visit Unwined, a wonderful wine shop in Alexandria, where I would sit amongst a tasting panel of colorful characters to taste, sample and discuss wines from Australia. The panel's input would have some significance in assisting the store with purchase trend and decision since these were wines they did not currently stock. Needless to say you see where my decision guided me.

Not knowing what to expect when I arrived, I must comment that Vanessa, wine consultant and managing partner at Unwined, did a wonderful job setting up for and hosting this tasting. It was an enjoyable and pleasant experience sitting amongst other people in a focused round table discussion who valued the appearance, aroma, and taste of our favorite healthy beverage. Although we did not agree on all wines tasted, there were two that were overwhelming favorites amongst the tasters that I wish to tell you about. Not only are they reasonably priced, but they are nice wines as well.

The first, RIP Snorter 2004, an Australian Shiraz (60%) / Cabernet (40%) blend has worked its way into my weekly sip rotation. Everyone, including myself enjoyed this selection, and for under $10 there are no wrong turns made here. The RIP Snorter displays a deep ruby color, boasting exceptional fruit of ripe Shiraz grapes, with Cabernet Sauvignon providing a nice backing. Supple tannins, blackberry fruit, and nuances of sweet oak and vanilla drive this nice blend. The Shiraz was matured in American Oak barrels for 14 months and Cabernet aged in French Oak barrels for 12 months. Australia produces a great many of these well suited blends for very reasonable prices; this is just one out the pack that I recommend you try. It can be found at Unwined for $9.99.

Now for the sweet ending, the Lilly Pilly Noble Blend 2002; an attractive name or what? I served this at our Cabernet Franc tasting and everyone enjoyed her golden and lush fruit delights. The Lilly Pilly is a Sauternes styled Australian wine made from botrytis affected Semillon grapes and Sauvignon Blanc for a kick of acidity. This rich golden colored wine fills the mouth with lush flavors of honey, apricot and tropical fruit flavors, with hints of vanilla. This dessert wine pairs well with cheesecake, pastry type desserts, Crème Brûlée, or on its own as an after dinner sipper. This noble blend can also be found at Unwined for $15.99 (375 ml).

Stay tuned as I also sat in on a Spanish wine tasting panel, and have visits to Willowcroft Vineyards and Lost Creek to report.

Happy Sipping!



Cabernet Franc tasting results

~Ready for the tasters~

Saturday evening Vine Spot hosted its first wine tasting event. Cabernet Franc was the varietal, and in attendance were our friends Paul and Warren of Virginia Wine Time, Jon and Megan of Anything Wine, and friends Pete, Karen, and Tasha. We would taste 8 Cabernet Francs in total, 2 - Virginia , 2 - California , 2 - New York , 1 - Washington State and 1- France . Outside of tasting these wonderful wines, there was a little work involved. Everyone would be taking notes and giving their total assessment of the wines based on a 100 point scoring system. At the end Dezel would average the scores up to see what the tasting group preferred based on a price to palate ratio.

The lineup prior to guest arriving

Certainly the outcome would be easily predictable, as five of the taster’s blog on their fondness of Virginia wines. A twist was thrown in before the guests arrived; Vine Spot would host a blind tasting where only the price would be revealed, which for some is revealing in itself.

The lineup in costume

After some talk about Cabernet Franc, its characteristics virtues and origin, etc. and friendly chatter, everyone put their wine tasting face on and the festivities were under way. Here are the results from the Cabernet Franc tasting, accompanied by a summary of notes taken by the tasters:

1. Dom Semellerie Chinon Cabernet Franc 2005
Fruit driven wine displaying a nice garnet color with an inviting bouquet of cherry, earth, rose petals and eucalyptus. Clean and pure with mixed berry and cherry flavors on the palate, nuanced with vanilla and earthy tones. Comfortable tannins and a nice balancing act made this wine from the Village of Chinon a group favorite. Overall great bargain for an enjoyable, layered, and nicely balanced Cabernet Franc from the Village of Chinon, which is said to be the birthplace of Cabernet Franc.
SCORE: 72 PRICE: $10.99

2. Waterford Vineyards Cabernet Franc, Waterford , Virginia – Vintage 2002
This nicely aged selection is brick red in color, with pleasant aromas of plum, cinnamon and cherry. On the palate are flavors of cherry, blackberry and plum followed by hints of white pepper and spice. Harmonious with a spicy lingering finish made this a top selection amongst the tasting group.
SCORE: 71 PRICE: $18.00

3. Bridgman Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley , Washington State – Vintage 2001
Medium garnet in color with an inviting bouquet of clove, cherry, raisin and flutters of chocolate. On the palate are flavors of dark berries, currant, raisin and cocoa. This selection was nicely balanced with a black peppery and lingering finish.
SCORE: 66 PRICE: $14.99

4. Clos Pegase Cabernet Franc 2004 Northern Napa Valley, CA – Vintage 2004
Ruby to purple in color with a floral, dark fruit and tobacco nose. Layered dark fruit flavors on the palate, nuanced by hints of vanilla and spice. Would have scored higher, but several tasters felt this selection was overly big for a Cabernet Franc and mildly hot. If this was a double blind tasting this voluptuous fruit bomb could be mistaken for Cabernet Sauvignon, its big.
SCORE: 66 PRICE: $23.00

5. Edgewood Cabernet Franc Napa , CA – Vintage 2000
Medium garnet in color with nice fruit on the nose, but muted on the taste. Flavors that did shine through on the palate were red and dark fruit flavors, framed in oak, with hints of leather. Several tasters found this selection a tad biting, and more of a food pairing wine; with such likes as steak and green peppers.
SCORE: 60 PRICE: $16.99

6. Seneca Shore Cabernet Franc Finger Lakes , NY – Vintage NV
This selection is ruby in color with an earthy, green olive and dark fruit nose. Flavors on the palate were of red fruit, but slightly muted, with pleasant hints of honeysuckle peeking through. This wine would have scored higher but several tasters were turned off by the nose and lack of fruit. Medium in body, with medium tannins and a solid finish makes this selection a good buy at ten dollars.
SCORE: 57 PRICE: $10.00

7. Willowcroft Vineyards Cabernet Franc Loudoun , Virginia – Vintage 2004
This garnet colored blended Cabernet Franc contains 9% Merlot and 3% of Petit Verdot and 3% Chambourcin. This selection displayed a herbaceous and subdued dark fruit nose. On the palate are soft flavors of dark fruit, green peppers and plum. This Cab offers firm tannins with a medium finish and would suit a red meat dish well.
SCORE: 56 PRICE: $18.57

8. Dr Franks Salmon Run Label Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes , NY – Vintage 2003
This wine is garnet in color with a nice bouquet of strawberry, red fruit and tobacco. Countering the nose, were vegetal flavors that shadowed the fruit. This is a simple light bodied wine with soft to medium tannins that tasters noted was a decent value.
SCORE: 56 PRICE: $12.99

After a couple of hours of tasting, taking notes, and table talk, who knew one of the least expensive wines from a small village named Chinon would delight the palates of all; and of course, our local Waterford Vineyards was close to follow with their aged 2002 selection. Below are a few images from the event.

Men at work - Swirl, Sniff, Sip

Group just spotted the CA Cabernet Franc, big and revealing

Pete confirming his thoughts on the other big CA wine

After our tasting, we enjoyed a tasty Turkish meal consisting of beef and lamb kabob, dolma, green beans, eggplant, rice and pita, with all the spicy and mouth filling sauces that accompany. To pair with our meal was the Michael Shaps Cabernet Franc 2005, compliments of Paul and Warren, and another Cabernet Franc 2005 blessing from the Village of Chinon, compliments of Pete and Karen. Everyone enjoyed pleasant conversation and the fine wine selections, which paired nicely with the tasteful dinner. Forwarding to dessert was a delicious NY Cheesecake with a heavenly Dulce De Leche with pralines drizzle from Kluge Estate Winery. Pairing with that in superb fashion was a Lilly Pilly Noble Blend 2002, a Sauternes styled Australian wine made from botrytized Semillon grapes blended with Sauvignon Blanc grapes for a kick of acidity. Simply delicious, from not only my lips, but everyone in attendance; apricot, honey and vanilla describes this liquid gold glass of pure yummy.

Dinner, wine, conversation & friends; there is nothing better

In closing, we would like to thank our friends John and Megan (and for making the drive), Paul and Warren, Tasha, Pete and Karen for attending our first tasting event and making Saturday an ever so pleasant and ‘Wine-der-ful’ evening.

Happy Sipping!



Weekly Sip: Veritas Cabernet Franc 2004

Review: This is a nice light to medium bodied wine that displays a pleasant ruby color. Cherry and mocha scents are followed by ripe fruits on the palate with nuances of herbs. Soft tannins, with a nice medium finish makes this fruit driven selection the perfect accompaniment to poultry, red meats and most chesses.

I picked this selection up for $15.99 at Total Wine, and like most Virginia Cabernet Francs I enjoyed it. I do plan on visiting the winery sometime soon, as I have heard some very good things about Veritas Vineyards.

Tomorrow marks Vine Spot’s first tasting event and 8 Cabernet Francs will be tasted, so stay tuned for a lot more Cabernet Franc talk and some familiar faces!

Happy Sipping!



Revisiting Linden Vineyards

While visiting Berryville , VA for a wine event last weekend, we decided to revisit Linden Vineyards to secure a bottle of their Cabernet Franc 2004 for our upcoming Cabernet Franc tasting. Unfortunately, Linden was completely sold out of their Cabernet Franc. Since we had a little time on hand, we decided to sample some of their offerings and find a selection to sip while enjoying their wonderful glass enclosed dining area and spectacular views of the Virginia countryside.

Our table and view

We had visited Linden Vineyards in July for our 1st time and had a pleasant experience. Again, our timing was off to take advantage of the special cellar tasting offered where several aged wines and reserve wines are poured during a more intimate and in-depth tasting. We did however do a complimentary tasting which consisted of Linden ’s Seyval Blanc 2005, Red 2004 (Cab Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Cab Franc blend), Claret 2003, and the Vidal Riesling 2005. Everything on the list was exceptional and our tasting associate was very informative in telling us about the wines poured.

It was a rather cool and damp day, thus red was on the mind, and would soon be on the palate as well. During our complimentary tasting, Niki enjoyed the Red 2004 blend, and Dezel selected the aged Petit Verdot 2002, which the tasting associate spoke quite highly of. We moved onto the enclosed dinning area that overlooks the picturesque green countryside and ordered some fresh baked baguettes and one of the many local cheese selections offered.

Enclosed dining area

The Red 2004 blend can best be described as rich and full with red fruit flavors, cocoa notes and a pinch of black pepper that finished nicely. Much like a voluptuous styled Pinot, this wine can be paired with a wide variety of food dishes. The Petit Verdot 2002 displays nice fruit and herb aromas with red fruit and spice on the palate. It has a full mouth feel and is nicely balanced with supple tannins. Petit Verdot is traditionally used to add color, depth and tannins to blends, this Petit Verdot however, is of a lighter style and could easily find merry matrimony with lamb, veal and other red meat dishes.

Great views !!!

As with our last visit, we had another wonderful time at Linden Vineyards and look forward to returning for a scheduled cellar tasting of Linden ’s aged and reserve wines. A non subscriber to festivals and advertisements, make no mistake, Linden is making some of Virginia's finest wines. If you have yet to visit, I strongly suggest you visit the web site and make a day of it and enjoy both the complimentary and cellar tasting. Light fare, a knowledgeable and friendly staff, fine wine and spectacular views, are all provided; do let them know you read about them on Virginia Vine Spot when you decide to visit.

Dezel enjoying a glass of Linden's Petit Verdot 2002

Stay tuned for visits to Willowcroft, Lost Creek Vineyards , Wine dinner at Veramar and a backlog of wine reviews.

Happy Sipping!


Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc

This weekend, Vine Spot will host its first tasting get-together with a small group of friends and wine enthusiast alike. We hope to have a nice experience as we learn about and taste an ancient Bordeaux grape variety. You can find a description of the grape variety we will taste below; do stay tuned this weekend for the results.

~Cabernet Franc~

Cabernet Franc is a red wine grape of the vitis vinifera family that is primarily used for blending in the Bordeaux region of France. The Loire Valley and Bordeaux region of France is home to the Cabernet Franc grape variety. Cabernet Franc thrives in cooler climates and ripens fairly early which explains why this grape is a popular selection for Virginia and other east coast growers.

When done correctly you can count on Cabernet Franc to display a violet and raspberry bouquet with pleasant red fruit flavors, hints of pepper and spice with mild nuances of fresh herbs on the palate. Compared to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc lacks the fullness, body, acidity and tannins, and is usually approachable young, but can also age well pending style. Where Cabernet Sauvignon can be described as King of the European Reds, Cabernet Franc is the tasteful Prince who has won many a palate over.

Virginia and the Finger Lakes region of Upstate NY are popular havens for Cabernet Franc production. Fine examples can also be found in the Loire Valley and Saint-Emillion regions of France. In contrast to climate, California does not widely plant Cabernet Franc since their growing season is longer and soil primed for the growth of high quality Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. France holds claim to having the most Cabernet Franc plantings of any other wine producing nation in the world.

Pending style, Cabernet Franc can be served slightly chilled (fruit forward styles) or at room temperature. Cabernet Franc is food friendly and can be paired with foods such as poultry, turkey, pizza, lasagna and roasted lamb dishes amongst others. One can usually find Cabernet Franc priced quite reasonably, but in Saint-Émilion the Prince holds noble court. Cabernet Franc is the primary grape used in Cheval Blanc, and these sought after elegantly structured wines of Château Cheval Blanc can fetch a pretty penny. Cabernet Franc was recently linked as one of Cabernet Sauvignon's parent grapes (crossed with Sauvignon Blanc). Although not as big or bold as child, the Prince overwhelms in expression and attracts the palates of many.

** A new column will be placed to the right documenting 'grape varieties' and will be populated accordingly as we learn and try new things in the near future.

Happy Sipping!



Tarara Winery: Great Grape Festival

Below is a short slide show of our visit to Tarara Winery Great Grape Festival. Click on the play button to initiate show.

Happy Sipping!


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