1/30/2009

Touriga in the Glass!

Hello Friends,

Dezel is willing to bet that you too have had some Touriga in your glass - you just may not have known it. Touriga Nacional, as I have been told, does rather well here in Virginia. It can be found in a number of blended wines with fanciful names such as Ruby (Hillsborough), Sojourn (Grayhaven), and Stone Castle Red (Horton). It’s also added to some varietal wines to add complexity and zest. Additionally, a number of local Port style wines typically have a significant amount of Touriga Nacional in the blend. (I’m sure you have heard of the popular Port styled wine Snort, produced by Winery at La Grange.)

Touriga Nacional Grapes

Touriga Nacional has been a staple in Portuguese viticulture for ages, and is the principal grape used in making Port wines. In the best Vintage Port wines, Touriga Nacional plays an expanded role. Touriga Nacional is said to be the most popular and best grape variety for making quality wines in Portugal. Not only does it serve its purpose in Port production, but it is used in (dry) red wine blends that are readily accessible and satisfying. Touriga berries are small and dark and have a high skin to pulp ratio which lends itself to intense succulent wines in good vintage years. Typically, wines produced from Touriga Nacional are deeply colored, concentrated, and fruit-filled with ripe to firm tannins. Any of these additions may fit nicely into a wine lacking one or more of these qualities, thus it is a favorable option for blending. Luckily, I have a few bottles of varietal Touriga wines to sample to get a hint of what Portugal’s finest red wine grape variety can accomplish here in Virginia.

Keswick Vineyards Touriga 2006

The wine I have just uncorked as I type this blog entry is the Keswick Vineyards Touriga 2006. Unlike the 2005 (87%), this is 100% Touriga Nacional. This wine is a nice dark ruby color with a red fruit, spice, and herbal nose. It is medium bodied with soft fruit flavors and some rustic and earthy charms about it. It’s a smooth wine, an easy drinker, an everyday wine with good acidity that sips well on its own, or try pairing it with red sauce dishes (spaghetti), pizza, light cheeses, etc. Be sure to check your local wine shop for something from the Douro and Dão regions of Portugal and add this one to your alternative red wine list. And let’s not forget Virginia; while there are fewer varietal wines out there, you can find this in a number of blends along the wine trail. Happy hunting, friends!


  • Hope everyone's 2009 is off to a great start !!! Stay tuned ...more to come !!!

    • 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


      Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2007-2009. All rights reserved.

      1/23/2009

      Make a date with the Virginia Wine Showcase – Feb. 7th & 8th

      Virginia Wine Showcase 2009 !!!

      Hello Friends,

      Do you enjoy Virginia wine? Of course you do if you are reading this on my blog, right? Well, on February 7th (11am-6pm) and 8th (11am – 5pm), the Virginia Wine Showcase is back for the first big Virginia wine event of the year. While it’s cold outside, enjoy the warmth of the Dulles Expo Center and indulge in unlimited wine tastings from over 40 of Virginia’s top wineries. That translates into approximately 300 different Virginia wines to sample. Up for the challenge? Sounds like fun, huh? Wait, there is more - enjoy educational and fun-filled wine seminars, local arts and crafts, fine nibbles, entertainment, and much more!

      CLICK HERE
      to get your tickets online and save $10 off the price at the door. This is going to be an exciting event, so start 2009 off right by grabbing a glass and sampling some of the fine wines produced right in your backyard. And don’t forget, swirl, sniff, and sip – every time! By the way, if you find a “favorite” wine, be sure to email me and let me know.


      Website: Virginia Wine Showcase


    • Hope everyone's 2009 is off to a great start !!! Stay tuned ...more to come !!!

      • 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


        Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2007-2009. All rights reserved.

        1/17/2009

        Is it Syrah or Shiraz?

        Hello Friends,

        Let’s take a look at Syrah, or shall we say Shiraz? Are they the same, or are they different? Well, just recently a friend asked me what was the difference between Syrah and Shiraz, so I thought I would blog about it since this one can be a little tricky at first glance. We will keep it short and simple - and the simple answer is location. Locality in this case, lends itself to the style of the wine, and that is where we will find our differences. Read on, as we chat a little more about Syrah, and of course, Shiraz.

        First the name, or shall we say names, Syrah and Shiraz. Legend has it that the name Shiraz is the name of an ancient city in Persia (now Iran), where guess what? You guessed it, Syrah was grown. The grape variety eventually found its way to the Rhone Valley in France, where it has thrived for a very long time – and I mean, a very long time. The French call it Syrah, and the Australians call it by what they perceive to be its native land, Shiraz; which rhymes with pizzazz, which helps in remembering the correct pronunciation of the Aussie’s workhorse grape. Now, all of this is said to be folklore, but it makes for a nice story, right? What is not folklore though, is that Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape variety, but are typically stylistically different, and while the grape has been in Australia since the mid 19th century, it has been grown in the Rhone Valley since the Roman period.

        Syrah / Shiraz Grapes

        The Australians call it Shiraz, and quite proud of it, as it is their most popular, best selling, and widely planted variety. While there are some pricey examples, most consumers clamor to the moderately priced Shiraz wines that are full bodied and rife with rich, ripe, and intense fruit flavors (plum, blackberry, cherry, etc) and hints of spice. These fruit driven wines are usually made in an easy drinking style and are good everyday wines. Names like Yellow Tail, Lindeman, and Gumdale, have quite the following at $7 per bottle, and while not overly complex or elegant, it’s difficult to complain given the quality to price ratio of these wines. Shiraz to me reflects a certain style; even some California producers are calling their Syrah wines Shiraz, to hint to the consumer that their wine is made in the New World fruit-forward style. Generally, only the Australians call their wines Shiraz, but non-Australian producers are using the name to define the style, as well as marketability- the name is pretty catchy, right? Remember, pizzazz, Shiraz, pizzazz, Shiraz.

        On the other-hand, Syrah plays a big role in the Rhone Valley, its home, where it flourishes and produces wines that are generally (slightly)leaner than the Aussie style, yet more complex (spice, cherry, tar, smoke, cassis, plum, etc), earthy, lively (more acidity), tannic, and typically capable of short to long term bottle aging. Syrah dominates the Northern Rhone, and wine producing regions such as Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, and Côte Rôtie, are great places to look for tasty Syrah wines. The name Syrah is generally used for all other Syrah wines in the wine producing world, and as you can see in the picture, I enjoyed a Keswick Vineyards Syrah 2006, so Syrah can readily be found here in Virginia.

        Shiraz and a Virginia Syrah

        In closing, if you are looking for a medium to full bodied, bold and spicy wine, give Syrah or Shiraz a try. Yes, they are same grape, but two different styles of wines. Syrah and Shiraz wines generally pair well with beef, lamb, game, venison, and red sauce pasta dishes, etc., and can be just as satisfying on their own. Both Syrah and Shiraz are made in a wide range of styles, from fresh fruit and easy drinking, to highly concentrated and intense. If you find an example that really wows you, send me an email about it so I can be wowed too.


        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 © 2006-2009. All rights reserved.

          1/06/2009

          Corcoran Vineyards: The Tale of Two Cabernet Francs

          Hello Friends,

          With a harvest deemed “The best since 2002” by some local growers, you would expect to find some very nice Virginia Cabernet Franc 2007 wines, right? Well, while traipsing along the wine trail during the holidays, I stumbled upon two very nice examples, and get this, at the same winery.

          Corcoran Vineyards, located in Loudoun County, is expected to release their Corcoran Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2007, as well as a Benevino Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2007. Now, for those not familiar with Benevino Vineyards, chances are you have had their fruit in a glass of wine before. Benevino Vineyards has been a successful grower in Virginia for over a decade, and have sold fruit to wineries that went on to win numerous awards and high accolades. Benevino is now producing their own estate wines, which will be available at Corcoran Vineyards for your tasting pleasure.

          Corcoran Vineyards & Benevino Cabernet Francs 2007

          Tale of the taste: The Corcoran Vineyards Cabernet Franc is done in a classic Chinon style, and much like the soft and fruity red wines of the Loire Valley, it lends itself to bright raspberry and red cherry aromas, complemented by faint notes of cooking spice, with an easy drinking, crisp and clean palate. With soft tannins and a harmonious balance of fruit and acidity, this wine is delicious to the finish. Enjoy the freshness of this fruit driven wine and drink now.

          On the other-hand, the Benevino Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2007 is a more substantial and firmer-structured wine, boasting dark cherry aromas with subtle hints of black pepper and clove; others who tasted the wine detected cassis and ceder notes. The palate is medium to full with fine but firm tannins that beg to be accompanied with food, such as beef dishes, lamb, venison, etc. This wine would also be a good candidate for aging because of its tannic structure and acidity, so grab a few bottles upon release, as it might get more interesting with a little bottle age, much like the Corcoran Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2002.

          Guys out tasting with Winemaker Lori of Corcoran Vineyards

          So there you have it, two very nice 2007 Cabernet Franc varietal wines that were produced from two distinct vineyards within Virginia and crafted differently by the winemaker, and available at one place – Corcoran Vineyards. Be sure to visit the tasting room and compare and contrast the two varying styles of the Cabernet Franc wines. Perhaps you will be compelled to write your own tale! Be sure to check the Corcoran’s website or call the tasting room for release information.

          Winery Info: 14635 Corkys Farm Lane • Waterford, Virginia 20197 • 540-882-9073

          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 © 2006-2009. All rights reserved.

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