1/27/2010

Quick Sip: Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling 2008


Hello Friends,

When I think of Canadian wine, I typically think of rich and delicious Ice Wines; and I emphasize and highlight the delicious part. A few years ago my trip to Vancouver opened up my eyes to the warmer climate Okanagan Valley red wines that are difficult to find here. My eyes were recently opened up again when I had the opportunity to taste a few hard-to-find Riesling wines from Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula wine region. It is nice having a Canadian wine friend nearby, who has access to these wines, and also enjoys swirling, sniffing, sipping, and pontificating about wine. If it were not for such friends, this gem of a wine would never have made the “Quick Sip” section of the wine blog. Additionally, I would never have experienced some of the tasty wines Canada is producing outside of the Ice Wine selections that the wine world has come to enjoy.

Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling 2008

Making the My Vine Spot “Quick Sip” is the Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling 2008 [VQA]. Featherstone is a small family-run (husband & wife team) operation, making estate-grown wines with a production level of 4,000 cases per year. Featherstone has some of the oldest Riesling vine plantings in Niagara – dating back to 1978. In the glass, the Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling 2008 displays a pale straw color with green hues. The swirl & sniff offers inviting green apple, peach, and apricot aromas with subtle minerality notes. On the sip, the wine is sleek and racy with good natural acidity. The aromas extend to the palate with a peachy mid palate backed by a dab of sweetness. The wine ends in a bright, clean finish. The wine clocks in at 10.5% alcohol by volume and makes for a nice aperitif wine. It would also pair quite nicely with Asian cuisine. I have been told that this producer is near impossible to find here. That being said, I savored the flavor and experience and hope my Canadian friend can obtain future vintages. We also enjoyed offerings from Flat Rock Cellars and Tawse, but the Featherstone topped my list. This wine retails for $16.95 and you can visit the Featherstone web site by clicking here.

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1/25/2010

Lovingston Winery: Nestled in Nelson


Hello Friends,

I recently jumped on the Monticello Wine Trail to pay a visit to Lovingston Winery in Nelson County, VA. Lovingston is a boutique-styled, family-owned and operated winery located about 35 miles south of Charlottesville in the picturesque countryside of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Lovingston is owned by Ed and Janet Puckett. Ed serves as the vineyard manager, maintaining the family’s five acre estate vineyard. Winemaking duties are headed by South African winemaker Riaan Rossouw, formerly of Oakencroft Vineyards, with assistance from the Puckett’s daughter, Stephanie Puckett Wright.

Arriving at Lovingston Winery

During my visit, I had the pleasure of meeting with Stephanie and learning more about their family farm operation, as well as tasting through their wines. Before making Virginia their home, the Puckett family maintained a small vineyard in Georgia, selling their fruit to local producers. After deciding that their site in Georgia was not ideal for the wine grapes they wanted to grow, the family moved to Charlottesville where both Ed and Stephanie had previously attended the University of Virginia. In 2003, the family planted a five acre vineyard consisting of four acres of Merlot and one acre of Cabernet Franc. Lovingston Winery opened its doors in 2006 and has since added vine plantings of Pinotage and Petit Verdot, with future plans of planting other grape varieties suited to their site. To note, Georgia is currently making great strides with producers like Montaluce Winery and Black Stock Winery, as well as a number of other passionate producers in the rolling hills of Dahlonega leading the way towards raising the wine bar.

Lovingston Wines (a pretty nice line-up of sips!)

Lovingston Winery specializes in small lots of hand-crafted wines. Being a small producer (2,000 cases) allows the winery to have an intimate, hands-on approach from vineyard to bottle. In the vineyard, a dense-planting configuration is used, which limits the number of grape bunches per vine and results in improved fruit quality. Additionally, Lovingston Winery uses a gravity flow design, which is a gentler system for handling the wine. One thing I really liked about Lovingston was their business approach and overall attitude. They really push competitive pricing, establishing strong customer relationships, and brand building through customer satisfaction.

Pours of Joy at the Tasting Bar

Now let’s get to the red and white delights. The wines I tasted through started off with an off-dry and refreshing Petit Manseng 2008. Next, we moved to a deep, almost opaque - colored Cabernet Franc 2007 that offered rich black cherry and currant aromas. Stephanie commented that this would be the last vintage of Cabernet Franc for Lovingston. While the Bordeaux grape variety generally does very well in Virginia, it has not been a consistent performer in the vineyard. That being said, the '07 is going out with a bang due to a good vintage year, so try some before it’s all gone. We moved on to a smooth sipping Rotunda Red 2007 (%80 Chambourcin %20 Tannat) red wine blend, followed by a nicely done Merlot 2006 that is 100% estate grown, offering red fruit, spice, and soft toasty aromas with a lush mouth-feel. Next up was a Merlot Reserve 2006 - produced from the best fruit in the vineyard and refined with velvety tannins and a soft lingering finish. The tasting ended with a Pinotage 2007. Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut and is native to South Africa. The Lovingston example does not share the varietal characteristics of a typical bottle of South African Pinotage, but is a nice wine, offering cherry, spice, and violet-like aromas with a good balance of structure and flavors.

With Stephanie at the Tasting Bar following a very nice tasting

Lovingston is another young up-and-coming small family-run operation in Virginia that is getting it right. In my humble opinion, Lovingston offers some of the best QPR (quality-to-price ratio) wines in the state, with several nice everyday wines priced from $12 to $14. There are also no tasting fees associated with your visit – simply taste, listen, ask questions, enjoy, and buy if you like the wine. You have to like the fact that there is a strong emphasis on product quality, customer satisfaction, and brand building through community and establishing consumer relationships. Lovingston operates by appointment only, so when you visit plan ahead by calling them at (434) 263-8467. Please be sure to let the kind folks at Lovingston know you saw them here on Dezel’s My Vine Spot wine blog. Enjoy your tasting experience, friends!


Info: Lovingston Winery, 885 Freshwater Cove Lane, Lovingston, VA 22949, Tel: (434) 263-8467


Stay tuned friends ... Quick Sip at Kluge Estate Vineyard & lot's more!

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1/24/2010

Twitter #CheapWineChallenge Recap

Hello Friends,

Last week I participated in the Twitter Cheap wine challenge where wine bloggers were asked to submit and write about their favorite wine for under $10. This challenge was sparked by the fact that in today's volatile economy many people are seeking good quality-to-price ratio wines for everyday consumption. It must be true, because since the challenge, I have been asked for the cheap wine listing by several friends who are interested in seeking out some of these value wines. The entire list of 15+ bargains for under $10 can be found here on Wine Ophelia's wine blog. I was able to find several of these value wines and wanted to share three selections that I enjoyed.

Some of the value wines I enjoyed!


  • Dezel gives "two Riedel stems up" to the two sassy sisters known as the Wine Harlots for submitting the Ravens Wood 2007 Zinfandel. This is a good value wine, priced at $6.97, which offers good varietal character with black berry, spice, and currant notes. Try this with pizza, enjoy it on its own, or pair it with a grilled burger & steak fries like the Harlots suggest.


  • Next up is the smooth sipping St. Francis Red 05 blend submitted by Brain Wines. This red wine blend (58% Merlot, 25% Syrah, 9% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet
    Sauvignon, and 2% Zinfandel) is fruit-forward and easy drinking with red fruit & dried cherry aromas. For $8.99, this is a nice evening sipper, no doubt.


  • Last, but not least, is the Garnacha de Fuego 2008 submitted by the Grape Vine. This wine is full & lush with dark cherry and mixed berry aromas with spice and peppery undertones. I found this wine for $7.99 and it would pair nicely with grilled meats.

In closing, don’t forget about my four-time blind tasting award winner, the Honey Moon Viognier from Trader Joe’s for $5.99. Get out and try some of these picks, friends, and let me know what you think. If you have a favorite under $10 wine that was not on the list, be sure to drop me a line and let me know what it is. I found all of these wines at Total Wine in Springfield. If you are closer to the Richmond area, give the Wine Cellar in Midlothian a try.


Stay tuned friends ... Quick Sip at Kluge Estate Vineyard & lot's more!

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1/20/2010

Quick Sip: Chehalem Dry Riesling Reserve 2007


Hello Friends,

When I seek out Riesling wines, I usually look to the wine producing regions of Germany, France (Alsace), and Washington State to satisfy my sipping needs. In Virginia, there is not a lot of Riesling for the picking, even though it was far more popular twenty years ago than it is today. In my humble opinion, like Pinot Noir, Riesling is a cool climate grape variety that doesn’t generally do well here. It may make a decent overall wine, but the varietal character typically is not there. There are a few exceptions, like the Brad’s Stick Dog Riesling, but the true test is consistency from vintage to vintage. For cooler climate varieties, I look to cooler climate wine producing regions, such as the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The Willamette Valley is one of my top spots for delicious Pinot Noir wines. I have also taken a liking to some Riesling wines coming out of Willamette Valley, even though Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are the areas leading white wines today. That being said, the Willamette Valley produces some very nice Riesling offerings and the Chehalem Dry Riesling Reserve 2007 is this weeks quick sip.

Chehalem Dry Riesling Reserve 2007

The Chehalem Dry Riesling Reserve 2007 displays a lemony-yellow color in the glass. The swirl & sniff offers citrus and tree fruit aromas with a soft hint of minerality. On the sip, the wine is mouth-filling, yet soft on the palate, with bright acidity and lemon and mild grapefruit flavors. The wine ends with a medium length finish with crisp subtle mineral notes. Now for my wine friends who buy this wine because of this review, don’t expect Germany in the glass. While very good, it lacks the stone fruit and elegant charms I have found in some well made German examples. However, the Chehalem Dry Riesling Reserve 2007 is nicely done and reflective of the unique soils and climate of the Willamette Valley. If you have not tried an Oregon example, this is a very good start. This wine clocks in at 12.7% alcohol by volume, has a screw top enclosure, and retails for about $20. You can find it online at Wine Library or at the winery’s website. Enjoy this wine with seafood and poultry dishes or on its own. To visit the Chehalem website click here.

Buy wine online and get 50% off shipping of 6 or more bottles with coupon code "twojan" .

Stay tuned friends ... Quick Sip at Kluge Estate Vineyard & Lovingston Winery!



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My Vine Spot © 2006-2010. All rights reserved.

1/14/2010

Twitter #CheapWineChallenge

Hello Friends,

A few days ago on Twitter, Raelinn of Wine Ophelia wine blog, came up with the idea for all wine tweeps to blog about one of their favorite wines for under $10. This idea came out of the reasoning that in this finicky economy a lot of wine consumers are shopping for good QPR (quality-to-price ratio) wine selections. Let’s face it - most people cannot pony up $20 or more on an every night bottle of wine. The good news is that nice every day wines can be found for under $10. The Twitter Cheap Wine Challenge has made it easy for you to search for those wines by using the hash-tag #cheapwinechallenge and there is a good chance you can find these wines at your local wine shop. So search on Twitter and follow the fun to see what other wine bloggers are enjoying for under $10.

Honey Moon Viognier 2008 (CA) $5.99 @ Trader Joe's

The wine I chose, the Honey Moon Viognier 2008, is a wine I selected as sort of a joke to enter into a Viognier blind tasting I was hosting in 2007. The vintage then was the 2005. Since that time, I have entered this wine in 3 other Viognier blind tastings and it has come in first place each time. Other winners have been the 2007 and 2008 vintages. Three of these blind tastings are recorded on this wine blog, so I will leave links for you to review the scores and competition. This serves as proof that just because this wine is $5.99, yes, I said $5.99, this wine should not be considered lesser quality than a $15 Viognier of like style.

Let’s get to the wine: The Honey Moon Viognier is a Trader Joe’s exclusive wine. What I like about this wine is that it remains fairly consistent from vintage to vintage and offers good varietal definition. It is made in an easy-drinking, fruit-forward style and boasts stone fruit aromas with ripe peach, subtle apricot, and honeysuckle undertones. On the sip the wine has a balanced mouth-feel with citrus-like acidity and finishes with delicate tropical and soft honey notes. If you have enjoyed this wine I would love to hear your impression. If you have not, what are you waiting for? Get out and grab a bottle and let’s hear what you think. Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com.

Review the three blind tastings below where the Honey Moon Viognier came in 1st place:



Stay tuned friends ... Quick Sip at Kluge Estate Vineyard!

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My Vine Spot © 2006-2010. All rights reserved.

1/08/2010

Wines of Virginia at Trummers On Main

Hello Friends,

Trummers On Main is a relatively new upscale restaurant in Clifton, VA that specializes in contemporary American cuisine. Trummers, as they are more commonly referred to, also has a large and lovely wine cellar that is stocked with thousands of hand-picked food friendly wines from all over the world. The wine cellar and wine list is overseen by Sommelier Tyler Packwood, formerly of the Inn at Little Washington.

Wines of Virginia Tasting

Just about every Thursday, the restaurant offers a themed wine tasting that is led by Tyler. The wine tastings are held in a private wine-tasting room on the first floor, which offers a great view of the wine cellar through a large picture window. This Thursday was a treat for me in particular because the theme of the tasting was “Virginia Wine Country”.

Private Tasting Room w/ View of Cellar

We poured and tasted through the following Virginia wines: first wine in the glass was the refreshing and lively Barboursville Sparkling Brut NV, followed by the clean and crisp (unoaked) Trummer's Virginia Chardonnay (more on this selection later), and then we moved to the smooth and flavorful Pearmund Cellars Lisa’s Merlot 2007, and ended with the robust and earthy Kluge Estate New World Red 2004. The Trummer’s Virginia Chardonnay is made exclusively for the restaurant by award-winning winemaker Luca Paschina of Barboursville Vineyards using Barboursville estate-grown fruit. Barboursville also makes a Cabernet Sauvignon for Trummers from estate-grown fruit and these wines serve as the restaurant’s house wine selections.

The Surryano Melts in the Mouth!

Chef Clayton Miller paired sliced [Virginia] ham and warm bread (made in-house w/ a side of soft butter) with the wines – a simple, yet delicious meal. I found the Surryano (play on Serrano from Spain) dry-cured ham from Surry Farms in Surry, Virginia to be absolutely pleasing in the mouth. It also paired nicely with the wines. Many of the tasters in attendance were not familiar with the wines of Virginia and the tasting confirmed that Virginia is producing high-quality wines and the region has the potential to make world-class wines. In closing, be sure to check the Trummers On Main website for future events and if you have not dined there yet, I encourage you to make reservations soon. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is aesthetically pleasing and the restaurant has a very good wine list. Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com.

Info: Trummers on Main , 7134 Main Street Clifton, VA 20124, (703) 266-1623

Stay tuned friends ... Quick Sip at Kluge Estate Vineyard!

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1/04/2010

Sweet Ending: A Delicious Duo


Hello Friends,

My mother was up visiting for the holidays, and for those who do not know my mother, she is from New Orleans and loves to cook classic Cajun dishes, usually with a bit more cayenne pepper than the recipe calls for. Because of the snow-filled evening, we had no choice but to stay in and cook, so I opted to fix dessert. Now I could have made a mess in the kitchen and baked a chocolate cake or fudge brownies, but why even bother, when I already had two key players in the house, that when paired, makes for a pleasurable sensory experience.

A Delicious Duo!

The two key players I’m referring to are Sauternes and Stilton. I won’t lie though; when I first got into Sauternes, the thought of pairing Sauternes with blue cheese didn’t quite sound good to me on paper. But in the mouth, it was a much different story and one that I reach for often. If you are not familiar with Sauternes, it is the sweet botrytis wine of Bordeaux, named after the famous appellation where it is produced. These golden-colored wines are typically rich, honeyed, and sweet, but balanced with good natural acidity and easy to get addicted to. On this particular evening, I went with a 2003 Castelnau De Suduiraut Sauternes and Stilton cheese. The sweetness and richness of the wine works in contrast with the potency and saltiness of the cheese to produce absolute splendor in the mouth - trust me. I also tossed in a cup of glazed pecans, dried cranberries, and unsalted cashews to complete the serving tray. If you have not tried this pairing, give it a try, friends, and let me know how it works for you. For a Virginia twist, I would say substitute the Sauternes wine for a wine like the Gray Ghost Adieu or try a Port-styled wine like the King Family Seven; Port & Stilton is a classic pairing too. If you cannot find good Stilton, look for Roquefort, which is another blue cheese that pairs well with Sauternes and Port wines. Have a question about this post? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com.

Stay tuned friends ...We close out for a Quick Sip at Kluge Estate Vineyard!

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