10/30/2009

Quick Sip: Tarara Winery Long Bomb Edition-Two


Hello Friends,

This week’s quick sip is the Tarara Winery Long Bomb Edition-Two (2008). This delicious wine, now in its second edition, is a tribute wine that celebrates the vision that late owner Whitie Hubert had in creating Tarara Winery - a vision that would blend wonderful people, Virginia wine, and warm ambience, artfully framed in a beautiful setting. For this reason, the Long Bomb was created to be a harmonious red wine blend that celebrates the life and passion of Tarara’s founder – and for sure, it scores a touchdown in the glass.

Get Out and Catch The Long Bomb!

In the glass the Long Bomb Edition-Two is clear medium-garnet in color, exhibiting pleasant red fruit and dark cherry aromas with subtle spice and faint earthy notes. On the taste, this medium-bodied wine is easy-drinking and fruit-forward in style with moderate acidity and a balanced mouth-feel. The wine finishes with a medium-length lingering touch of mocha and spice, heightening the complexity. Enjoy this wine on its own or paired with light cheeses, roasted lamb or grilled chicken dishes. This wine clocks in at 14% alcohol by volume and retails for about $25. You can find Tarara wines in the beautiful tasting room (click here to visit Tarara’s web site), as well as Virginia-friendly wine shops like the Leesburg Vintner and Total Wine. Get out and catch this touchdown and let me know what you think, friends.

Winery Info: Tarara Winery, 13648 Tarara Lane, Leesburg, VA 20176, Phone: (703) 771-7100


Stay tuned friends ...Next winery review: King Family!


Please Click Here to vote Dezel's Vine Spot as your favorite wine blog - You can vote 1x per day! Many Thanks :)

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


Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2009. All rights reserved.

10/26/2009

Pollak Vineyards: Yes, Jefferson Would be Proud


Hello Friends,

Our Next stop on the Monticello Wine Trail was to Pollak Vineyards. Pollak Vineyards, owned by Margo and David Pollak Jr, is located just west of Charlottesville in Greenwood, Virginia. Pollak Vineyards is a fairly new addition to the Monticello Wine Trail, opening its doors for tasting in the spring of 2008. This was my first visit to Pollak, but I was familiar with the name. In the short time they have been open for public tastings, there has been a fair amount of positive Internet & Blogger buzz about their wines and beautiful tasting room.

Arriving at Pollak Vineyards

The tasting room may have opened in 2008, but work began for the Pollak’s in 2003 when the 98-acre farm was purchased and 25 acres of vinifera vines were planted for the future bottling of estate wines. This was not the Pollak’s first brush with the wine and vine business, however - their passion goes back to the late 70’s with several California wine business ventures. It is a good thing that they saw the potential for producing high-quality wines in one of the world’s top five up-and-coming wine regions. And, yes, that would be Virginia, friends.

Pollak Vineyards Tasting Room

As we made our way to the tasting room, the spectacular scenery, vineyard views, and Virginia’s beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains were breath-taking. The new tasting room is comfortable and spacious with a step in the modern direction, offering tall ceilings, an abundance of natural light from oversized windows, a fireplace for the cooler months with comfortable furnishings, and a large tasting bar to accommodate the steady stream of Virginia Wine Lovers that visit. When it’s nice outdoors, enjoy vineyard and mountain views from the expanded front porch, or head to the rear deck that overlooks a serene pond and mature trees back-dropped by distant mountain views.

Tasting Room (Fireplace Area)

We were warmly greeted by the tasting associate as we approached the tasting bar and looked forward to tasting through Pollak wines and learning more about their operation. Looking over the tasting sheet, Pollak specializes exclusively in classic French varieties. Furthermore, upon second glance, Pollak wines are priced competitively. Before we could get to the first pour we were greeted by owner David Pollak Jr, and led to another private tasting area to go through Pollak’s standard wines and library wines that do not appear on the tasting sheet – what a treat.

Pollak Vineyards Tasting Bar

Joining us was General Manger Jake Busching who also oversees vineyard management and wine-making duties. Jake and David went over their wine-making philosophy with us, and as with any good Virginia producer who finds the success of their wines in consistency and quality, everything pointed towards the vineyard – for that is where high-quality wine is made. Backing up a bit, it all goes back to site selection, which is a very important decision considering the challenges faced by Virginia wine grape growers. Hey, we have clay, humidity, pest, and the list goes on. The Pollaks worked with Virginia viticulturist Chris Hill in finding the best possible site to produce high quality fruit from vitis vinifera grape varieties. Based on what I have heard about their wines, I think it is safe to say they were successful in their choice.

Tasting through Pollak's Wines

Pollak’s current offering consists of a Durant White 2008 (Viognier-based blend), Viognier 2008, Chardonnay 2008, Rosé 2008, Merlot 2007, Cabernet Franc 2007, Meritage 2006, and the Petit Verdot 2007. Their popular Pinot Gris 2008 and Durant Red 2007 (Cabernet Franc & Merlot blend) are both sold out. The reserve wines we tasted were the Cabernet Franc Reserve 2007 and the Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown 2007. While all the wines we tasted were delicious, expressing good varietal character from the grapes they were made from, my personal favorites of the lineup started with the aromatic Viognier 2008. The Viognier 2008 offers generous stone fruit (apricot & peach) and hints of tropical notes with moderate acidity and a round mouth-feel. The bright acidity and nice lingering and crisp finish keeps you wanting to swirl, sniff, and sip this one. My favorite in the red category was the Cabernet Franc Reserve 2007, which is one of the best I have tasted of the 07 Virginia vintage. The Cabernet Franc offers ripe red fruit (cherry) and mixed berry (blackberry & blueberry) fruit with a dash of cracked black pepper framed in lite toast with a smooth mouth-feel and silky lingering tannins.

Tasting what the future holds...

We were later led to the wine-making facility and were treated to barrel and tank samples. This is particularly fun and enlightening for me and something I’m fortunate to find myself partaking in so often with Virginia winemakers. Often times you hear about great Virginia Vintage years like 2002, 2005, and more recently 2007. But that can be tricky since Virginia has a wide range of soils and micro-climates. I have received a mixed bag of responses about the 2008 and 2009 vintage, but I can say that based upon the developing wines we tasted in barrel and tank I believe Pollak Vineyards can at the very least claim those to be good vintage years for their respective vineyard and wines. The 2009 Chardonnay (very tropical, touch of banana too) and Viognier (intense apricot and very aromatic) tank samples were promising, as were the two barrel samples of 2008 Merlot we sampled, and a young and beautifully scented (red fruit, faint floral note) 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. We later moved to a Petit Verdot whose future “finishing act” is still being determined (remember, these are developing wines). This is a power-house wine, or what some may refer to as a “Big A^&^ wine”. It’s chewy, meaty, and assertive with streaks of dark currant and brambly fruit and pinches of cocoa – for sure, it’s destined to be a big tasty red meat wine. Lastly, we tasted a sample of what will be Pollak’s first dessert wine. It is 100% late harvest Viognier and offers ripe tree fruit flavors (pear & Asian pear), an unctuous and round mouth-feel, and adequate acidity to balance the sugars. Not sure when it will be released, but you if you are looking for a well-made and elegant dessert wine, I think this is what this is destined to be.

Enjoy the Beautiful Views at Pollak Vineyards

In closing, I can say that the internet and blogger buzz was right on target based on what I experienced during my visit. There is no doubt that Thomas Jefferson who aspired to grow and produce Monticello-grown wine would definitely be proud with the current state of the Virginia wine industry, and particularly, with producers like Pollak Vineyards, who along with select others are proving that Virginia can produce high-quality wines that are just as good as wines from other popular wine regions. For a fairly new winery, I left impressed with the overall operation. They have a friendly and knowledgeable staff, relaxing atmosphere, and offer delicious wines in a beautiful and picturesque setting. This is a strong “must visit” on the Monticello Wine Trail, friends. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. Cheese platters and other lite fare are available in the tasting room, so grab a glass of your favorite Pollak wine and waste the day away in the Virginia countryside. When you visit, tell the kind folks at Pollak you read about them on Dezel’s Vine Spot Wine Blog.

Winery Location: 330 Newtown Rd, Greenwood, VA 22943, USA , Phone: (540) 456-8844


Stay tuned friends ...Next winery review: King Family!

Please Click Here to vote Dezel's Vine Spot as your favorite wine blog - You can vote 1x per day! Many Thanks :)

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


Dezel's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2009. All rights reserved.

10/21/2009

Mountfair Vineyards: Where Bordeaux-Style Blends Take Center Stage

Hello Friends,

This past weekend I hit the Monticello Wine Trail with fellow wine bloggers John & Megan Witherspoon of Anything Wine and Frank Morgan of DrinkWhatULike. The Monticello Wine Trail consists of twenty-four wineries, and this time of year, autumn's colorful brilliance, combined with narrow and twisty country roads and spectacular mountain scenery, makes this one of the most popular wine destinations in Virginia. Our plan was to visit three wineries per day so we could spend some quality time at each talking to the winemakers and staff, tasting their wines, and learning more about their respective operations.

Country Roads Leading to Destination

Our first stop, or shall I say our ‘Inaugural’ stop, leads us to a new winery I discovered at last month's 34th Annual Virginia Wine Festival. I was fairly impressed with their red wine blends, Bordeaux in style, as well as a nice sipping Virginia Riesling they were pouring. After the group of wine bloggers I was with all came away purchasing the exact same two bottles (Composition 07 & Stick Dog Riesling 08), we said, “Let’s go check them out sometime soon.” So a few weeks later we found ourselves in the tasting room of one of the Monticello Wine Trail’s newest members – Mountfair Vineyards.

MountFair Vineyards


Mountfair Vineyards is located on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains just outside of Charlottesville in Crozet. The winery and tasting room is housed in an old horse barn, which is currently a work in progress that is coming along nicely. The ride leading to the tasting room, if you decide to take the scenic route as I did (Thank You GPS), takes you through lush rolling greens, horse and dairy farms, and rural country back roads dotted with tall shade trees.

Mountfair Vineyards Inaugural 2006

We were warmly greeted by winemaker Fritz Repich in the tasting room and were eager to talk a little wine, as well as to taste. Talking to Fritz we learned that he is a full-time IT professional who is living out his passion of being a Virginia winemaker. Fritz draws inspiration from both Virginia and California’s popular Paso Robles wine region. It is no secret that Paso Robles is well known for Bordeaux-style blends, and this is where Mountfair really shines in the glass. Mountfair specializes in Bordeaux-style blends - that is all they do. The exceptions on the tasting sheet are two white wines, the Stick Dog Riesling 2008 (very good example) and Virginia Chardonnay 2008 (nice apple, pear, and spice flavors), that are made by well-known Virginia winemaker Brad McCarthy and carried in the tasting room.

At the Tasting Bar with Winemaker Fritz Repich

Mountfair currently has five acres of red wine Bordeaux varieties under vine and also source fruit from nearby vineyards. One vineyard in particular where fruit is sourced is Mount Juliet in Albemarle, which is an established and sought after fruit source for a number of Virginia producers. After enjoying samples of the two white wines, we moved on to the tasty Bordeaux- style blends. We started off with the Inaugural 2006, a Cabernet Franc-based red wine blend with percentages of Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. This wine is silky smooth with inviting red fruit, spice, cracked pepper and lite toast aromas. The Inaugural was followed by the Composition 2007, my personal favorite, which is a Cabernet Sauvignon based wine with percentages of Merlot and Petit Verdot, offering delicious dark cherry, plum, and spice aromas with a soft tannin structure in a medium-bodied wine. The next wine, the Wooloomooloo 2007 (try saying that fast), is a Petit Verdot-based wine with percentages of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. This wine offers crushed berry fruit (blueberry & blackberry) and earthy aromas and round medium tannins that fill out the palate with a nice lingering finish. The Petit Verdot definitely gives this wine an attractive deep purple color too. Conclusion: Mountfair Vineyards is making some pretty delicious Bordeaux-style blends with depth and complexity - no doubt. Additionally, it is good to see a fairly new winery, unique in personality (Bordeaux red blends only), come out the gates with a number of delicious wines.

Up Close & Personal

In closing, I recommend a scenic drive to Mountfair Vineyards if Mother Nature delivers another sunny autumn weekend. Enjoy the fall foliage, charming country setting, and tasty wines. Tastings are complimentary and the staff is friendly and Mountfair is in close proximity to other wineries on the Monticello Wine Trail. While the tasting room is not currently set up for indoor seating, if the weather is nice you can pack a picnic and sit on the patio that overlooks the pond and vineyard and waste the day away. When you visit Mountfair Vineyards please let Fritz and company know you read about them here on Dezel’s Vine Spot Wine Blog. Happy Sipping!

Enjoy the Views at Mountfair Vineyards!



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's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2009. All rights reserved.

Wine Geek Speak: Brix


Hello Friends,

Have you ever been in a tasting room and heard the term ‘brix’ tossed out? I recall when I first got into wine and a tasting room associate commented that their Cabernet Franc came in at 24 brix, I was like, what the heck do ‘bricks’ have to do with the wine I’m about to taste (LOL). Nowadays, I’m always curious to find out the brix levels of the grapes at harvest. I guess you can say I’m a little ‘geeky’ when it comes to wine.

The Riper the Berry the Higher the Brix

So what is brix and why do we care? Brix refers to the measurement, in degrees, of the sugar content in grapes on the vine or in grape juice. Sugar in wine grapes is essential since it ferments with yeast to produce alcohol. Alcohol in wine is an important element too. Yeah, it inspires mirth (lol), but it also affects the weight, taste, texture, and body of the wine. So the higher the brix (or percentage of sugar in the grapes), the higher the potential alcohol in the finished wine will be. Brix also tells us something about the ripeness level and quality of the grapes. For example, a Cabernet Franc picked on the low side of ripeness (low brix) may taste green (vegetal), whereas a Cabernet Franc picked when the grapes are ripe (nominal to higher brix) results in more desirable and developed flavors in the wine. As the sugar levels in the grapes increase, the acidity decreases, so balance is critical too – after all, nobody wants a dull, flat wine, right? The next time you hear someone toss out 22, 24, or 25 brix, you can take that number and estimate what is known as the 'potential alcohol'. For every degree brix there is 1 gram of sugar per 100 grams grape juice. A typical brix reading is about 18 to 25 at harvest and about 55 percent of the sugar will be converted to alcohol. Therefore, if our Cabernet Franc comes in at 24 brix then we have a shot at a little over 13 percent alcohol (ex. 24 x 55% = 13.2). At the very least, if you have never heard this term before at least you won’t get it confused with "bricks” like I did a few years ago (LOL). Now get out and enjoy some good wines and as always, Happy Sipping!


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's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2009. All rights reserved.

10/12/2009

Quick Sip: Chrysalis Vineyards Albariño 2008


Hello Friends,

I recently jumped on the Loudoun County wine trail to attend the 9th Annual Norton Wine and Bluegrass Festival at Chrysalis Vineyards. Chrysalis is located in the small, charm-filled town of Middleburg and is the largest grower / producer of Norton here in Virginia, as well as the east coast. Anyone who has ever visited Chrysalis knows they are passionate about Norton. After all, Norton is ‘America’s grape’ and the mission of Chrysalis Vineyards is to restore Norton to the prominence it once saw in the 19th century when a Norton wine from Missouri won a gold medal at the 1873 Vienna World Exposition. Some would call that a stiff, uphill climb, but based on what I saw at the festival, Chrysalis has been hugely successful in educating the public and marketing Norton to Virginia wine lovers – they just love the stuff!

Chrysalis Vineyards

While Norton gets its fair share of hype, Chrysalis produces several other very nice varietal wines that should not fall short of your palate radar. As a matter of fact, one thing I really respect about Chrysalis is that they plant grape varieties, popular or not, that are best suited for their site (soil, climate, etc.). Therefore, you won’t see any Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot. But you will see Viognier, Tannat, Petit Manseng, Petit Verdot, and last, but not least, a rare Spanish variety named Albariño. The focal point of this quick sip is the Chrysalis Vineyards Albariño 2008.

Albarino Grapes

You will not find too many Albariño varietal wines when visiting Virginia tasting rooms. So, when I say Chrysalis makes one of the best in the state it is not because too few wineries produce it, it is because they make a very good example of Albariño. If you are familiar with Albariño wines then you know some of the best examples come from Spain’s Galicia region, specifically in the wine producing region of Rías Baixas - a [D.O]. area in Northwest Spain that has put the thick-skinned, low-yielding white wine grape variety on the world wine map. Albariño is also grown in Portugal’s Vinho Verde region where it is known as Alvarinho. Not too many other places in the world of wine cultivate this grape variety, but in a new up-and-coming wine region like Virginia where myriads of different grape varieties are being planted to find out what works and what does not, you never know what you may discover on a tasting sheet. Luckily for Virginia wine lovers Chrysalis Vineyards has a nice Albariño on theirs.

Enjoying the Chrysalis Vineyards Albariño 2008

Moving on to the quick sip: The Chrysalis Vineyards Albariño 2008 is light lemony yellow in color with bright and inviting tree and stone fruit aromas - green apples and ripe peaches really stand out. On the taste, this wine is rich, dry, and medium-bodied (lighter side of medium) with a rounder mouth-feel, good balance, and a nice lingering and satisfying finish. This is a limited production wine that sells for $24 in the tasting room. If you are new to Albariño, I strongly suggest visiting your local wine shop and getting a Spanish example from Rías Baixas, as well as this fine local example in your rotation. This wine sips well on its own and should be a treat with almost any type of seafood dish (i.e. oysters, fried shrimp, and sushi). Be sure to send me an e-mail and let me know about your Albariño experience. As always, Happy Sipping!

Click below for Virginia Wine Month Deals & Info:

Virginia Wine 48-Hour Guilt-Free getaways to wineries found here:
http://www.virginia.org/fall/FallSubPage.asp?featureid=630


Virginia Wine Month:
http://www.virginia.org/pressroom/release.asp?id=149


Virginia Wine Travel:
http://www.virginia.org/site/features.asp?featureID=211



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's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2009. All rights reserved.

10/05/2009

October is Virginia Wine Month!


Hello Friends,

In case you haven’t heard it through the grapevine yet, no pun intended, October is Virginia Wine Month! The sunny, cool, crisp days of October are the perfect time to spend a day or a weekend winery hopping on the Virginia Wine Trail. Did you know? Virginia has over 150 wineries, twelve wine trails, and was recently named one of the top five up-and-coming wine regions in the world – need I say more? If I do need to say more, I can. Combine relaxing atmosphere, beautiful scenery, and friendly people with limited production award-winning wine and you will enjoy a much needed respite this fall.

Celebrate Autumn on the Virginia Wine Trail


In celebration of Virginia Wine Month, your favorite producers will host and participate in a number of fun-filled local events and festivals. So take advantage of autumn’s stunning color spectrum of brown, red, yellow, and orange foliage as you meander along scenic routes through Virginia wine country. Below, I have attached a few links provided by the kind folks at the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Wine Marketing Office to assist you in your planning. Get out and raise a toast to the Virginia 2009 harvest and have an exciting and safe time out there, friends. Send me an e-mail and let me know where you go and what you enjoyed.


HOT!!! (My personal pick ->) http://www.oldtownwinefestival.com/


Virginia Wine 48-Hour Guilt-Free getaways to wineries found here:
http://www.virginia.org/fall/FallSubPage.asp?featureid=630


Virginia Wine Month:
http://www.virginia.org/pressroom/release.asp?id=149


Virginia Wine Travel:
http://www.virginia.org/site/features.asp?featureID=211


As always, Happy Sipping!

Dezel

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's Virginia Vine Spot © 2006-2009. All rights reserved.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...