On a cold and nippy weekend day, Vine Spot set out to Loudoun County to revisit some of our favorite wineries and enjoy the beautiful Loudoun countryside. Our first stop was the Cajun themed Breaux Vineyards, which if readers recall, Vine Spot visited last summer for the lively annual Harvest & Lobster Festival that was a blast of a time.
After warming up a tad in the elegant and spacious tasting room and looking over some wine related gift items and books in the gift shop, we made our way to the tasting bar. We were warmly greeted by Shelly, who informed us of the newly released Madeleines Chardonnay 2005. We enjoyed the Madeleines Chardonnay 2003 with our lunch selections at the aforementioned festival last year, so we were eager to try the 2005 vintage. Shelly was very informative and told us all about Breaux Vineyards upcoming events and wine dinners that we are sure to make room for on the calendar.
Moving onto the tasting, we began with Breaux Vineyards white wines which for the most part are dry and refreshingly bright wines. The white wine offerings were as follows: Jolie Blond 2002 (Seyval Blanc), Viognier 2005, Madeleines Chardonnay 2005 and last but not least the Barrel Select Chardonnay 2003. The red wines offered were the Lafayette 2002 (85% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot), Merlot 2002 and the tasty Cabernet Sauvignon 2002. Breaux Vineyards dessert wines range from off dry to pleasantly sweet and started with the Chère Marie 2004 (Vidal Blanc), then the Sweet Evangeline (NV blend), and finished up nicely with the Alexis 2004 (late harvest Vidal Blanc).
Breaux Vineyards Merlot 2002
The newly released Madeleines Chardonnay 2005 was well received, offering an inviting bouquet with ripe pear, candied fruit and tropical notes on the palate. This wine would be a nice accompaniment to grilled chicken, marinated pork roast, or enjoyed on its own. The Viognier 2005, Virginia ’s flagship white wine, offers an abundance of tropical and perfumed aromas with lush tropical fruit flavors, namely pineapple, dominating the palate with some nice subtle nutty notes. The Cabernet Franc based medium bodied Lafayette 2002 is one of Vine Spot’s personal favorites and offers cherry and raspberry flavors with a nice lingering and peppery finish. Adding to the personal favorite list is the Merlot 2002 which displays a nice deep garnet color with an inviting dark fruit and toasted bouquet that follows through on the palate with friendly tannins and good balance. The sweet ending was superb and the 3 dessert wines Breaux produces are all nicely done and well balanced and not overly sweet, but fruity, candied and refreshing.
Pleasant Scenery through the Looking Glass
It is no secret after tasting through Breaux Vineyards full spectrum of red and white wines that their wines are some of Virginia ’s finest estate bottled wines. Following our tasting, we toured the Breaux Vineyards winemaking facility with Jody, a highly knowledgeable staff member at Breaux Vineyards. The facility is state of the art and shows very well. It was too cold to tour the vineyard to see where the winemaking process begins, but we were able to get a nice view of the vineyard and countryside while keeping comfy and warm on the inside.
The Stainless Collection
We later moved to what I moniker the 'stainless collection' where several temperature controlled stainless steel vats are housed. This is where the majority of wines are fermented and for whites the stainless steel helps preserve their freshness and fruitiness. In addition, one benefit of being able to control the temperature is being able to control the period of fermentation; does the winemaker want the fermentation to finish and produce a dry wine, or halt fermentation before it finishes and produce a wine with some residual sugars.
We later moved to the barrel room where oak barrels are nicely stacked wall to wall and our beloved wines are slowly gaining maturity and picking up flavor nuances and complex aromatics. In a nutshell, oak aging influences texture, aroma and imparts flavors into the wine and that is a very broad stroke, as oak barrels and their influence on wine is a book of its own. We do however like the influence oak aging has on Breaux Vineyard wines. Yummy!
The next room visited was the bottling room. This is a rare find in Virginia because many of the states wineries are small farm wineries and there are more cost effective solutions like hiring a mobile bottling truck to come out to you. This is the dressing room so to speak, where bottles are filled, given attractive labels and sealed. Again, this is a broad stroke as there is much more detail involved here. The only thing these bottles of joy should need after leaving this room is a new owner, and of course that is where people like us come in; always willing to adopt a fine bottle of wine!
As with all good things Vine Spots time spent with the friendly staff at Breaux came to an end, but we promised to return soon. Be sure to check Breaux Vineyards web site as there are some exciting events scheduled this month and even more fun events as we move into spring. Being a New Orleans native, Dezel will be celebrating Mardi Gras at Breaux Vineyards on February 17th, where crazy Cajun food, music, Mardi Gras beads and King Cakes will be the focal-points of a fun filled day. Breaux Vineyards is located in northwestern Loudoun County off route 9 and is a must visit on the Loudoun County Wine Trail. When readers visit, be sure to sport your Mardi Gras beads and let the friendly staff know you read about them here on Virginia Vine Spot!
Happy Sipping friends!