Dezel is back at the Dulles Expo Center to enjoy the last day of the Virginia Wine Showcase. I hope to visit with more wineries and take better notes today. Yesterday I had way too much fun sipping and talking about Virginia wine. Joining me today are local bloggers and good friends, Paul and Warren of Virginia Wine Time.
~~ Dezel, Paul, and Warren ~~
Before setting about to any wine booths I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Rupy, owner of Bluemont Vineyards. Along with Paul and Warren, we all had a good conversation about certain wineries not allowing picnic baskets anymore, and limousine and bus tours. During our chat, we found out that Kevin also practices law, and has started a new blog that all of you should bookmark. Kevin’s blog tackles ‘wine law’, which is a very important issue. Click hear to visit Kevin’s blog.
My first winery visit of the day was to Corcoran Vineyards, which is one of my personal favorites along the Loudoun County Wine Trail. The winery is located in the historic and charm-filled village of Waterford. Winery owner, Lori Corcoran is on hand pouring a rose petal scented Traminette, an easy drinking off-dry Seyval Blanc, and two red wines that are very tasty, in a Malbec and Meritage blend. When you hit the Loudoun wine trail be sure to visit Corcoran Vineyards – it’s a must stop; and be sure to say hi to Corky!
Next stop for me, was to two of my favorite wineries, both operated by one of Virginia’s top winemakers, Chris Pearmund. If you are looking for consistency and reliability from vintage to vintage then Chris Pearmund is your guy. The Winery at La Grange is pouring a very nice full-bodied Tannat, which is very cellar worthy; and Pearmund Cellars is pouring a beautifully scented Viognier 2006 that offers a nice blend of tropical and citrus flavors. These are two grape varieties that do well here in Virginia, and Tannat is on the rise as a varietal wine. These two wineries are about 15 minutes from one another so make plans to visit both sometime soon.
~~ Pearmund Cellars ~~
James River Cellars is attracting quite a crowd at their wine booth. They are located in Glen Allen, VA, and throughout the year they attend, as well as host a number of fun-filled events and festivals. No pretentious sippers here; these people know the drill! 1-2-3, down the hatch!
James River Cellars - 1-2-3 Down the hatch!!!Dezel’s next stop was to Vino Curioso. I first discovered this new winery at the big festival out in Leesburg last year, and they were making quite a buzz among the festival goers. Well, it was not much of a difference this time around as everyone wanted to see what the catchy wine titles and question mark was all about. Outside of the catchy names and logo, Vino Curioso has some wines you should, well, be curious about. Try Franc the Tank, a spicy and tasty Cabernet Franc, and Isabella’s Revenge, a soft, yet enticing Merlot. Visit their web site and see why the locals are curious about Vino Curioso.
?? Meet the smiling faces behind Vino Curioso ??My next stop was to Acorn Hill Winery; a new winery in Madison, VA expected to open doors to the public this summer. Winemaker Frantz Ventre was on hand to discuss and pour his wines. I found favor in the Cabernet Franc 2006, which offered red cherry fruit flavors with touches of spice and a mild herbaciousness. The Merlot 2006 is also a pretty interesting wine for their first vintage. Judging by the Acorn Hill Winery website, this winery appears to be a special place with spectacular views. Be sure to put this winery on your calendar this summer, friends.
Acorn Hill Winery Winemaker: Frantz Ventre
Care to dream for a tad? How about pulling up to your favorite winery in this lovely little bright yellow sports car? You’ll be the talk of the wine trail! As much as Dezel loves this beautiful little car, you would have to agree with me, that you just cannot fit enough cases of Virginia wine in this thing, right? However, if pressed, I would still take one. But a luggage rack would be the first thing I installed! Picture me rolling with 2 cases tied to the top.
This is my type of Yellow!
Click on the short video below to see what these 3 people think about Virginia Wine.
From dreams, let’s talk a little reality, or like Senator McCain says, “Straight Talk”. This indoor event was the first of its kind in the state and was well organized and attended. I heard a lot of positive things from those on both sides of the table (wineries / showcase attendees). That said; I drew the conclusion that some attendees were expecting this showcase to be more festival like, which translates into more festive. Live rocking music, blankets on the lawn, and several open bottles of wine being poured under sunny skies. These are a few things that come to mind when thinking Virginia Wine Festival, right? This was different, and by design was more relaxed, upscale, and like the title suggests, a showcase of Virginia wines. Personally, I thought it to be a pleasant change of pace. The difference in my opinion between festival and showcase; is one is more conducive to the sale of open bottles of wine (oodles of open bottles), and the latter is not. I’m sure a number of wineries did very well, however, I did not notice as many people seated around tables enjoying friendly conversation, laughter, and a bottle or two of Virginia wine. If I could put anything into the suggestion box for next year, I would recommend extra seating and tables in every empty corner of the venue. Just my 2 cents from what I witnessed, especially on Saturday. Other than that, I had a great time, and look forward to this event again next year, and would like to thank the organizers for setting up the bloggers corner – We enjoyed it!
Next is price, yes price, the thing Dezel tries to avoid when talking Virginia wine, but it to is a reality. From conversing with attendees there was a lot of chatter about, you guessed it, price! Wine prices on the east coast in general are slightly higher than what a lot of educated wine consumers expect; especially based on the (QPR) quality to price ratio in the global market. I spoke with a number of people today who were pleased with some winery prices based on QPR, yet taken aback by others. There indeed were some good wines poured today at reasonable prices. For example, take Kluge Estate’s Simply Red 2004 Bordeaux styled blend, specially priced at $12. For that matter, Kluge, Pearmund Cellars, Winery at La Grange, Corcoran Vineyards, Williamsburg Winery, Rappahannock Cellars, Chrysalis Vineyards, Horton Vineyards, Hillsborough, Fabbioli Cellars, and Breaux Vineyards are some of the producers in attendance who I thought had some great pours. Prices vary among these producers, but one thing they share is their ability to produce solid offerings.
I myself made it a point to visit with a number of the new producers at the show and sample their introductory offerings. New wineries are popping up like wild flowers here in Virginia, and coming out to these events are great ways to promote their product. A number of these wines were in my opinion, softly flavored, not overly interesting, flaccid, pizza sort of wines. Let me add, that these young wines are very drinkable, just not demanding of their advertised sticker price based on the QPR for similar styled wines. There were however, a small number of new producers who are coming out strong and I appluad their efforts. The next time you attend an event or festival, try all the Cabernet Franc or Chardonnay wines for example, and note the differences; the results can be quite telling.
Now let’s end on a sweet note, and I’m not talking dessert wine. Dezel is talking the Red Rocker Candy! Sue Charney specializes in handmade toffees and brittles and can be found at just about every local festival. The brittles are excellent, and once you open a bag, it is hard to seal it again. If you cannot make it to a festival and find the Red Rocker Candy booth, then visit their web site and satisfy your sweet tooth! BTW, that is not Sue pictured, I think that is Sue's hubby. All this Sue talk sort of reminds me of an old Johnny Cash song; anybody out there know the name?
- Stay tuned friends ...more to come !!!
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