10/31/2008

Weekly Sip: Willowcroft Vineyard Merlot 2001

Hello Friends,

This week Dezel is going back-to-back with two Merlot-based wines: one is the Chateau La Fleur Montage Saint-Émilion 2005 and the other is Virginia’s own Willowcroft Vineyard Merlot 2001. The 2005 Bordeaux is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. At $13.99, this is a good example of a satisfying 'everyday' drinking wine. It is smooth and balanced with soft red fruit flavors and hints of spice (clove and cinnamon) and vanilla. With the cooler autumnal temperatures it is a nice value wine to partner with grilled dishes, light chesses, or to sip by itself while reading a book (or my blog…lol) next to a toasty fireplace.

Willowcroft Vineyard Merlot 2001

The Willowcroft Vineyard Merlot 2001 is a selection that I actually forgot that I had in my collection. It was mixed with the 2004 bottles, so I was glad to have found it. Those who seek this vintage out may have difficulty finding it since I do not think it is being carried in the tasting room or in local wine shops that carry Virginia wines. The winery currently offers their 2004 vintage. I will be honest with readers and admit that it was not my intention to lay this wine down and let it age. Not to knock the local wines, but the reality is very few are age-worthy. I have been disappointed with some 2003’s, and even 2004 wines that after 3+ years went down hill. Now, understand, most local wines, as well most everyday, easy drinking, fruit-forward wines are made to be consumed young – and are highly drinkable upon release. Bottle aging will not necessarily improve this style of wine or make it more interesting. What will likely happen is that the wine will lose the very thing that made it desirable in the first place – the fruit.

With that said, the Willlowcroft Vineyard Merlot 2001 is drinking surprisingly well; however, if you have some in your personal stash, I recommend consuming it sometime soon. From what I recall, this wine is blended with a splash of Petit Verdot, and won several awards in 2005. On the palate are dark cherry and light plum flavors with hints of pepper and herbal nuances. The body is on the lean side of medium and the finish is medium length. Overall, the Willowcroft Merlot is an easy drinking wine with soft tannins that would be a nice addition to your Thanksgiving Day wine list. It still has good acidity and the soft flavors will not overwhelm anything on your Thanksgiving day table or similar foods. This wine retailed at the time for about $17.00. If you cannot find the 2001, try the 2004. It has also won numerous awards and is a comparable Merlot that would partner with a number of food dishes.

Click Here to visit the Willowcroft Vineyard website.


Stay tuned friends ... More to come !!!



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    Dezel


    Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2008. All rights reserved.

    10/25/2008

    Stadium Sip: Miracle Valley Vineyard Merlot 2006

    Hello Friends,

    The Redskins moved onto 5-2 last Sunday with a win over the Cleveland Browns. Not only are the Redskins on course to make the playoffs, but Clinton Portis is the leading rusher in the NFL - Great news for Redskin's fans, right?

    Now, a wine making a comeback of its own is Merlot. If you remember, Merlot was caught off-guard by an opponent in 2004, titled Sideways. This movie left Merlot with what is known as the ‘Sideways effect’, where sales of Merlot really took a big hit (and not in a good way), while Pinot Noir sales went into overdrive. Merlot is now starting to make a bit of a comeback, which may have a lot to do with simple economics. You see, for less than $20, Merlot is a safer bet for casual drinking, while Pinot Noir is one of the few varietal wines where you get what you pay for. And for those adventurous enough to explore Burgundy, which I highly recommend, you will no doubt find a number of satisfying rewards, but it will come at a price, no doubt.

    Making a Merlot Comeback!


    In Virginia, I have found that Merlot can really shine in good vintage years. What I have not found is much consistency in quality amongst producers. From tasting on the wine trail, the Breaux Vineyards 2002 and the Ingleside Vineyards 2005 are examples I recommend seeking out. A newer winery in Delaplane, Miracle Valley Vineyards, also makes a nice Merlot, which made it to the tail-gate party with us and is this week’s stadium sip.

    Miracle Valley Vineyard Merlot 2006

    The Miracle Valley Vineyard Merlot 2006 is a medium bodied wine done in a more fruit forward, easy drinking style. It displays a nice garnet color and offers red fruit and cedar hints on the nose. On the palate are soft cherry, raspberry and spice flavors with a medium length finish. This wine retails for about $18 and the only place I know to find it is the tasting room, so plan a trip out to Miracle Valley Vineyards sometime soon.

    I would be remiss if I did not mention Bordeaux when talking about Merlot. Merlot dominates the right bank wine districts of Pomerol and Saint-Émilion. These two areas are the height of fashion in Merlot, producing wines of finesse and elegance. If you are still under the spell of the ‘Sideways effect’, I suggest finding your cure here.

    Click Here to visit the Miracle Valley Vineyard website.


    Stay tuned friends ... More to come !!!



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

      Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about the blog and thanks for your support and kind emails !

      Dezel


      Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2008. All rights reserved.

      10/17/2008

      Stadium Sip: Chamarré Tradition Jurançon 2003

      Hello Friends,

      Tell me something Redskin’s fans: How does your team go on the road and kick the cork out of the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles, and then fall short to a winless St. Louis Rams team - mind-boggling to say the least, huh? One thing not mind-boggling, or palate-boggling for that matter, was the half bottle (375 ml) of sweet nectar enjoyed in this week’s Stadium Sip.

      Chamarré Tradition Jurançon 2003

      The Chamarré 2003 is a blend of Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng, both of which are from the Manseng grape family. The latter is the more popular, and one you can find in some Virginia tasting rooms. This grape variety does very well here, and each year I’m seeing more Virginia wineries produce a varietal Petit Manseng wine, opposed to using it in blends.

      Petit Manseng is widely planted in south west France, namely in the small village of Jurançon, where this delicious evening sipper comes from. This wine is rich and complex with tropical fruit flavors and a wonderful apricot and honey character. A touch of caramel and good acidity to balance the sweetness makes this wine a nice bargain at $13.99. I found this bottle at the Leesburg Vintner in Loudoun County, and wish I would have gotten more. Now, to be honest, I have had better examples from Jurançon, but for $13.99 this is an excellent QPR (Quality-to Price-Ratio) wine. Try this wine as an after- dinner dessert or with spicy ethnic foods, like Indian or Thai, given that it is balanced and not sugary sweet. For a Virginia twist, try the off-dry example offered by White Hall Vineyards and the late harvest dessert wine offered by Chrysalis Vineyards. In closing, perhaps the Redskins will have as sweet an ending against the Cleveland Browns this Sunday.

      Stay tuned friends ... More to come !!!


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

        Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about the blog and thanks for your support and kind emails !

        Dezel


        Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2008. All rights reserved.

        10/10/2008

        Learn More about Wine: Wine Captain’s Course

        Hello Friends,

        For the past six months I have been religiously attending a weekly wine tasting at Whole Foods Market with wine educator and sommelier, Rob Stewart. Outside of this weekly tasting, which consists largely of tasting and talking about a global selection of exceptional wines from great vintages, Rob provides a high quality wine educational opportunity to the public and trade. This course, titled “Wine Captain’s Course”, has been offered by the Sommelier Wine and Food Society since 1976.

        Over the past 2 years, I have purchased and read a number of wine books, used tasting and aroma kits, and most importantly, tasted…tasted, and tasted. These are the learning tools that work for me – not only to discern what is in the glass; but, where this all started, where it is headed, and where we are in the world of wine today. Needless to say, wine is a great hobby where something new and exciting awaits each vintage year – wouldn’t you agree?

        Wine Captain’s Course

        This brings me back to the Wine Captain’s Course; I’m all about wine education and have heard many positive things about the Wine Captain’s Course from other wine enthusiasts in my weekly tasting session. Thus, I decided to enroll in the class myself. If you are curious about wine and want to learn more, I highly recommend this course. Rob is a great instructor who is very knowledgeable in the subject area. He is also full of fanciful food & wine recipes, and is very personable and engaging. So, what are some of the things you will learn you ask? You will learn the wine basics, the important wine producing regions in the world today, fundamentals of winemaking, how to speak the “wine” language, component tasting, aromas, as well as a number of advanced topics. There is a lot more, and rest assured, that after this class you will be able to talk the wine talk and not feel intimated or lost in a wine store or restaurant. Additionally, you will receive a comprehensive text book and taste 12 wines per class, most of which are sought after, hand-picked selections from excellent vintages. So who should attend? Wine lovers, new and old, those in and out the trade, hobbyists, enthusiasts, and I highly recommend this 9 week course to anyone working in a Virginia or Maryland tasting room. Class is every Monday from 7:30pm-9:30pm at L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington D.C. and there are three sessions per year so you can always make up a class. I have been told that this is the best wine course for the buck and most comprehensive in the tri-state area of VA, MD, and DC. For more information regarding price and enrollment, send Rob Stewart an email at winehead@earthlink.net or call 703.685.7970.


        Stay tuned friends ... More to come !!!


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

          Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about the blog and thanks for your support and kind emails !

          Dezel


          Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2008. All rights reserved.

          10/03/2008

          VA Wine Festival 2008: When it rains, Virginia Pours!

          Hello Friends,

          This past Sunday, Mother Nature’s intermittent showers did not keep Virginia Wine Lovers away from the Prince William County Fairgrounds to enjoy the 33rd Annual Virginia Wine Festival. The Virginia Wine Festival is one of the oldest running wine festivals on the East Coast, and I can attest - it always delivers and is a well organized tasting event. If you missed this event, let me tell you what to expect so you can mark your calendar for next year.

          Let the pours begin!

          Under several tasting tents you will find over 60 of Virginia top producers, ready to talk about and pour a diverse selection of their award winning wines. Additionally, enjoy wine seminars where industry professionals will educate you on everything from Virginia wine history to wine aromas, and how to taste wine like a wine tasting professional. Also, savor great food from local eateries paired with your favorite Virginia wine, and check out the local fine arts and artisan craft vendors. And if all that is not enough, friends, shake, move, and bounce to toe tapping, finger- snapping live entertainment – again, brought to you by some of the state’s top local musicians. Now, I just gave you a quick summary, but there is a whole lot more! Again, mark your calendars and make a date with this long running two day fun-filled festival next year! Hope to see you there in 2009.

          Some of the wines poured

          Stay tuned friends ... More to come !!!


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

            Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about the blog and thanks for your support and kind emails !

            Dezel


            Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2008. All rights reserved.

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