Recipe for Fun – Wine + Jazz + Historic Manassas

Hello Friends,

Vine Spot recently attended the 3rd Annual Manassas Wine & Jazz Festival, and much like the past two festivals, it went down as smooth as a fresh fruit, easy drinking Virginia Cabernet Franc. With the seasonal warmth of summer the Virginia wineries in attendance were showcasing a number of their soft reds, light and fruity whites, and country fruit wines. With the soothing and jazzy sounds of Marcus Johnson and other performers, the stage was set for an intimate and relaxing day of sampling some of Virginia’s finest summertime wines. Let’s jump right into the red and white fun!

3rd Annual Manassas Wine & Jazz Festival

Peaks of Otter Winery, which I have not had the opportunity to visit yet, really had the crowd going with good southern hospitality and some rather eye-catching bottles. Peaks of Otter Winery specializes in country fruit wines and had bottles in shapes of guitars, saxophones and even a spicy one in a devil bottle; man that must be some hot stuff! Peaks of Otter makes just about every fruit wine you can imagine, so if you are looking to beat the summer heat check out the dry plum, apple or pear wine. On the other side of Peaks of Otter was one of Virginia’s pioneering wineries, Horton Vineyards, who also specialize in fruit wines – actually, they specialize in a little bit of everything, and offer over 40 wines with no tasting fees at the winery. Horton had a nice pear wine and a cranberry wine that a number of people enjoyed, as well as their tasty and aromatic Viognier 2006, among other summertime selections.

~ I think Neil of Horton Vineyards knew the camera was on him ~

Moving right along, we saw our friends Pearmund Cellars who was pouring the Redmund’s Reserve 2006, an off dry Viognier summertime picnic wine. If you do not know who Redmund is, click here, and be sure to make a trip out to the winery to meet the 1st Virginia dog of wine and taste the wine named after him. Next to Pearmund Cellars was their sister winery, Winery at La Grange, who were pouring a nice off-dry Vidal Blanc and a Pinot Grigio, two wines with summertime written all over them. Pack a picnic basket and enjoy the charm and elegance of the 18th century restored manor house and beautiful surroundings at Winery at La Grange in Haymarket.

Tasting Leo Grande Summertime Selections

In addition, located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Bedford, VA, is a recent addition to the Virginia Wine Trail, Leo Grande Winery. This winery grew and sold their grapes for nearly 8 years before starting their own winery in 2005. Their Sauvignon Blanc 2006 and the Stainless Steel Chardonnay 2006 are top picks for your summertime picnic baskets and cookouts. Another top wine selection to soak up summer is a dry Rosé wine. Wineries who showcased Rosé wines were Naked Mountain, First Colony, Unicorn, and Delfosse, all of which were in attendance and well worth seeking out their special brand of Rosé for your picnic or backyard grilling pleasures.

Summer is here - grab a Rosé

Other local interests Vine Spot found appealing at the festival were Wine Mania – a Virginia based online wine store that specializes in unique wine accessories. Be sure to check out their web page as they have some really neat wine related items.

The fine ladies of Wine Mania !!!

Summer BBQ’s – Looking for a great sauce? Try the local BBQ Brothers who have great sauces for all occasions. Yummy!

Looking for some nice framed local vineyard and farm shots with a rustic touch? Check out Kathy Strauss at Imagewerks. Kathy has a number of really nice wall hangings to spruce up a room.

Based in Pennsylvania, and in attendance at the festival was Pretzel Phoria, and I must say that they have some of the best peanut butter filled pretzel bites I have ever tasted, and one mean wasabi covered peanut. Hot, Hot, Hot!!!

There were a number of other local wineries and vendors that made the day special; these were just some that I noted. Although the Manassas Festival is on a smaller scale than the larger Virginia festivals, it sure packs the good times and excitement without the haste and long lines, and is certainly one of Vine Spot’s favorites. Looking forward to next year already!

  • Check out the new issue of Virginia Wine Lover here.
  • Did you know Dezel had a corner? Click here to find out more!
  • Stay tuned, Dezel visits Kent Marrs of Village Winery.

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    Happy Sipping Friends - Thanks for your support and kind emails !


    Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2007. All rights reserved.


    Summertime Sensations at Doukenie Winery

    Hello Friends,

    This past weekend Vine Spot saddled up and rode into one of our favorite counties - you guessed it - Loudoun County, to visit the family farm shops and antique stores. Well, let’s just say we were detoured by one of those darn Virginia Wineries Tour signs and never quite reached our planned destination. After-all, it was those Virginia tour signs that jump-started this fun-filled hobby, and, speaking of fun-filled, lend an ear, well, an eye, as Dezel tells you all about our fun-filled day!

    Pointing you in the right direction...

    The day started off with a visit to our friends at Doukenie Winery, which was formerly known as Windham Winery. The name might have changed, but rest assured that the welcoming hospitality and great wine remains unchanged.

    We are here!

    Additionally, Doukenie Winery was hosting a Fathers Day Pig Roast, thus we were in for a pulled pork - barbeque sort of day. Yummy! I did take a picture of the unfortunate pig that lay upon the grill, but as seeing how he was not exactly in a favorable position, or his Sunday best, I decided to withhold the photo and savor the flavor instead.

    Doukenie Winery

    Once inside the attractive renovated red barn where tastings are held, we were pleased to find out that there were several new wine releases on the tasting sheet, which were just perfect for the seasonal warmth. For starters, I highly recommend the Sauvignon Blanc 2006, which is done in a Fumé Blanc style with exceptional fruit character, tropical notes, spice and a refreshing crisp acidity, making it an ideal choice for seafood and grilled chicken dishes. Another new selection, the Riesling 2006, is perfect for summer time picnics, backyard grilling, or just plain sipping, and offers a lot of zest and zing with honeysuckle and light pineapple notes, braced by a racy acidity and clean and crisp finish.

    Cabernet Franc 2005 and BBQ - Yummy

    With summer’s warmth and humidity the two aforementioned young wines are just what the doctor ordered, friends – fresh, fruity, good acidity, and pairs well with summer salads, seafood and chicken dishes. How about those reds, you ask? Well, reds (namely light to medium bodied, fruity and dry styles) can work with summer fare also, especially barbeque, so read on, friends, to see which Doukenie red accompanied that pulled pork meal!

    Picnic out by the relaxing pond and feed the ducks...

    In 2004, Doukenie made one heck of a Cabernet Franc that garnered a number of awards and attention. The newly released 2005 Cabernet Franc follows in its path with exuberant fruit character and a toasty red fruit nose with hints of herb and spice and good balance, making it a nice match for many foods, including the tasty barbeque that was being served.

    Enjoy views and wine from the shaded veranda

    When visiting Doukenie this summer you will want to pack a picnic basket, and enjoy your favorite Doukenie pond by the relaxing pond. If you find the sun a tad overbearing, you can find comfort on the shaded veranda that overlooks manicured green, horse farms and distant vista views.

    Lastly, for the sweet ending try Hope’s Raspberry Merlot, this is made from the farm’s own homegrown raspberries and blended with oak aged Merlot. 2x Yummy! The Raspberry Merlot pairs nicely with rich chocolate desserts, and Hop’s homemade baklava, which is sometimes served in the tasting room and is the best baklava on east coast. When you decide to visit Doukenie Winery please let the kind folks know that you read about them here in Dezel’s Virginia Vine Spot!

    • Stay tuned! Dezel reviews the 3rd Annual Manassas Wine Festival and talks with the innovative Kent Marrs of Village Winery.
    • Did you know Dezel had a corner? Click here to find out more!

    Click Here to vote VA Vine Spot as your wine favorite blog - You can vote 1x per day!

      Happy Sipping Friends - Thanks for your support and kind emails !


      Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2007. All rights reserved.


      Old House Vineyards – A Glass Full of History, Hospitality & Fine Wine!

      Hello Friends,

      Vine Spot recently saddled up and rode into the historic and charm-filled town of Culpepper to pay a visit to a young - yet blossoming Virginia winery. Located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and situated upon a 75 acre former alfalfa farm, sits Old House Vineyards.

      Old House Vineyards

      Old House Vineyards is a small family run farm winery owned by Patrick and Allyson Kearney that produces a limited production of estate bottled, hand-crafted wines. Winemaking duties are assumed by former Afton Mountain's winemaker, Matthieu Finot, who also consults with First Colony Winery and newcomer Potomac Point, which I am quite eager to visit.

      Elegant Tasting Bar

      The tasting room is housed in an attractive multi-leveled 19th century restored farm house that exudes early Victorian appeal. Surrounding the attractive home are beautifully manicured greens and a garden area with picnic tables & chairs complimented by a relaxing babbling fountain. Tranquility! From vintage Victorian on the exterior, you step into a tasting room that boasts elegance and modernity with fine detail and tasteful décor. Be sure to tour the house before or after your tasting, and do not forget to stroll past the gift shop where the “Wicked Bottom” shorts appear to be a popular summertime item. Speaking of tasting, let’s try Old House wines friends.

      Vidal Blanc 2005

      Old House Vineyards has no tasting fees, with the exception of $1 for guests who wish to sample the Artica – a rich ice-styled dessert wine made from late harvest Vidal Blanc grapes. Tip: This delicious wine is definitely worth the $1 dollar fee to taste, and should be considered as a sweet ending to a savory meal. During our tasting, the Chardonnay 2004 proved a nice selection with good fruit flavors heightened by oak aging. The off-dry Vidal Blanc 2005, which we enjoyed over lunch, offers stone fruit and soft tropical aromas that carried through to the palate with a slight sprinkling of sweetness. The popular Clover Hill selection, a dry Vidal Blanc, was sold out, but the 2006 vintage is expected in the tasting room in a few weeks. Also expected, just in time for the dog days of summer is an off –dry Cabernet Franc Rosé wine, which I have been told is an excellent warm weather sipper, and versatile enough to pair with lite picnic fare. Looking for a nice local bargain red to pair with pizza or even a Five Guys Burger? Try the An’ Samhradh, a fruit forward and easy drinking blend of Chambourcin, Cabernet Franc and a splash of Vidal that is reasonably priced at $12.99. What’s more popular than a pair of ladies “Wicked Bottom” shorts? None other than the Wicked Bottom wine friends! The Wicked Bottom 2005 is 100% Chambourcin displaying the grape’s trademark deep color with inviting aromatics and dark cherry and berry flavors that are rounded out nicely by barrel aging. Also, offered are a 2002 and 2003 Merlot, which will be the last offerings of this popular French grape variety at Old House. These selections were grown and made by former winemaker Doug Fabbioli of Fabbioli Cellars in Loudoun County; for a fuller, richer example go with the 2002; however, if your palate lends itself to softer reds, the 2003 is for you.

      Great Views from the Country Porch

      Following a tasting of Old House wines guests can purchase lite gourmet fare to pair with their favorite wine selection(s), or opt to pack a picnic basket and enjoy breathtaking views of the vineyard, nearby pond, and Blue Ridge mountains from the welcoming country porch. There are also picnic tables located on the common lawn area, as well as several pleasant indoor rooms, from sun-filled and bright, to cozy and dimly lit, suited for enjoying a glass of wine and friendly conversation.

      View of Old House Vineyards & Pond

      Play a game of Chess on the front lawn - Checkmate!

      Old House Vineyards is also a child friendly winery, as noted by the oversized chess board and pieces that guests can literally play on the front lawn. So bring the family and enjoy the leisurely country atmosphere. In addition, some of Old House wines can be found in a number of local wine and gourmet stores, as well as several local restaurants, including the Inn at Little Washington, and your better Bed & Breakfasts. Also, check their special events page for fun-filled wine activities throughout the year. For a winery that is a mere 5 and some change years old, Old House appears mature beyond its years. When you visit the Kearney’s delightful farm winery, please be sure to let them know you read about them here on Virginia Vine Spot.

      Old House Vineyards - 18351 Corkys Lane - Culpeper, VA 22701 - 540.423.1032 (p)

      Click Here to vote VA Vine Spot as your wine favorite blog - You can vote 1x per day!

        Happy Sipping Friends - Thanks for your support and kind emails !


        Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2007. All rights reserved.


        Reminder - Manassas 3rd Annual Wine and Jazz Festival - June 17th

        Hello Friends,

        On June 17th the Historic town of Manassas will host their 3rd annual Wine and Jazz Festival from 11am to 6pm under Loy E.Harris Pavilion. We have attended this festival for the past two years, and although smaller than your typical Virginia wine festival, it is more intimate and packs the excitement without the long lines and the feeling of being hurried as you sample through wines and chat with the local producers.
        Photo from our 2006 visit

        Last year was certainly fun-filled – we had the opportunity to learn about a then new local winery that hadn’t yet opened, Winery at La Grange, and visit with our friends from Corcoran Vineyards (formerly Waterford), as well as chat about Virginia wine with tireless supporter and promoter, Gordon Murchie, of the Vinifera Wine Growers Association. There were also some great local craft and food vendors on hand, and a delightful mix of traditional and contemporary jazzy sounds to enjoy.

        This year’s line-up promises to be just as enjoyable with 11 Virginia wineries featured, 3 local jazz musicians and local craft vendors, along with several eateries ranging from casual to gourmet fare. Of course there will be much more and most importantly, a number of Virginia wine lovers such as you!

        Wines from 11 Virginia producers to sample ...

        Advanced tasters tickets are available for $15 up until June 11th at the Visitors Center or by phone (credit cards only). Tickets at the gate for tasters are $20 and includes a souvenir glass, and for non-tasters and those under 21, the price of admission is $10. For kiddies under 5 years old admission is free, so grab all the cookies and grape juice you can get your hands on!

        Visit the Historic Manassas calendar of events , or call 703.361.6599 for further details and ticket information. Lets hope Mother Nature serves up a nice weather day - Dezel is putting his order in now for sunny, 80's and low humidity!

        Click Here to vote VA Vine Spot as your wine favorite blog - You can vote 1x per day!

          Happy Sipping Friends - Thanks for your support and kind emails !



          Dezel hits the Wine Trail with Loudoun Magazine!

          Loudoun Magazine - Summer Edition

          Hello Friends,

          Did spring pass in a blink of an eye or what? We were certainly blessed with some beautiful weather days to visit Virginia wineries, and I’m counting on summer to be just as kind. If you recall, Dezel tagged up with Loudoun Magazine this past spring to taste and tour through the heart of Loudoun wine country on the Route 9 Tour. Hopefully, you had an opportunity to pick up a copy of the spring edition and get a taste for the wineries that make up that enjoyable tour.

          Grab your corkscrews friends as we navigate our glasses along the Route 15 tour in the summer edition of the Loudoun Magazine, which is now in stores. In the summer edition you will also learn about 2 new Loudoun County wineries that are scheduled to open doors for tasting in the near future, as well as the expansion of one of Dezel’s favorite wineries on the Route 9 Tour. Loudoun Magazine offers an open window into Loudoun lifestyle, history, fine dining, and other engaging and entertaining subject matter.

          So where can you find a copy of the Loudoun Magazine? You can find the Loudoun Magazine at major bookstores (Barnes and Noble, Borders, Books a Million) and grocery stores (Giant, Food Lion, Wegmans Dulles) in the Northern Virginia area. You can also contact the Circulation Department at 703.771.8800 to secure a copy.

          Dezel again, would like to send a sincere “Thank You” to the Loudoun Magazine for allowing me to share my wonderful hobby and enthusiasm for Loudoun Wine with the many readers of your select publication.

          Click Here to vote VA Vine Spot as your wine favorite blog - You can vote 1x per day!

            Happy Sipping Friends - Thanks for your support and kind emails !



            Weekly Sip: Michael Shaps Viognier

            Hello Friends,

            A few weeks following our blind Viognier tasting, Dezel finds himself still on a Viognier kick. The once near extinct French white wine grape variety is experiencing a resurgence worldwide in both acreage and popularity with a legion of producers and numerous styles to taste. So let’s jump right into the glass and talk a little about Virginia’s alternative white wine grape.

            Viognier Grapes

            Viognier is a French white wine grape variety of the northern Rhone appellations and the principle grape used in the esteemed Condrieu and Château Grillet wines. Viognier produced from these areas, although pricey, are exclusively sought out by Viognier lovers around the globe and considered the most exceptional examples in the world.

            This exotic French white wine grape variety appears to have taken a liking to Virginia’s soil and climate type, and the consumers, in turn, are excited about its offerings and potential in peak vintage years. So are all Virginia Viognier examples the same or similar? No. The examples I have tasted have been anywhere from lightly flavored with subtle aromatics to crisp and complex with an inviting bouquet and intense stone fruit and/or citrus flavors with tropical hints. Since Viognier can be on the pricey side, it literally pays to go with your top producers for the style of Viognier you prefer and to count on them for consistency. TIP: 1 of the 80 wines on tap at the Whole Foods - Fair Lakes Enomatic hosted tasting room is a $50 Condrieu that can be tasted for $2 per 1 ounce pour; always good to try before you buy! As of last week, Virginia’s own Breaux Vineyards Viognier 2005 is aligned right next to it and tasting for $1 per 1 ounce pours. Try them side by side and note the differences.

            Kings Family Vineyards – Michael Shaps Viognier 2005

            Virginia’s style of Viognier for the most part is similar to the acclaimed examples found in Condrieu, light to medium in body with good racy acidity and complex aromas of peach and apricot with similar flavors. In California, where the sugar levels at harvest are higher, Viognier is usually done in a lush, more full-bodied style with concentrated tropical fruit and honeysuckle flavors that are also very desirable. It was indeed that style that took 1st place in our blind Viognier tasting a few weeks ago.

            One Virginia Viognier that gets high praise from Dezel is the Kings Family Vineyards – Michael Shaps Viognier 2005. In my humble opinion, the Michael Shaps Viognier 2005, along with Rappahannock Cellars Reserve Viognier 2005 are some of the best of the 2005 Virginia vintage. Unfortunately, the 2005 vintage is sold out in the King Family tasting room, but I have been informed that the 2006 is equally as good, if not better. Since Viognier does not age particularly well, I will be consuming the last of the 05 vintage that I have very soon and moving to the 06 vintage. Generally, Viognier is good for 2-3 years, but at its best when consumed young. So let’s check out the Michael Shaps 2005.

            Review: The Michael Shaps Viognier 2005 is a pale straw color, clocking in at 13% alcohol by volume with a real cork enclosure. The bouquet is as exquisite as it is inviting, offering bright grapefruit and stone fruit aromas with subtle tropical notes. On the palate intense full-flavored fruit impressions of peach and apricot integrate with citrus hints and a refreshing racy acidity, ending in a lingering stone fruit finish. Yummy! This wine sips well on its own, or you can try it with seafood or spicy ethnic dishes. Price: $25.99

            Producer: King Family Vineyards, 6550 Roseland FarmCrozet, Virginia 22932

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              Happy Sipping Friends - Thanks for your support and kind emails !


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