4/30/2010

In Review: DrinkLocalWine.com Conference 2010


Hello Friends,

This past weekend (April 24th-26th, 2010) I had the pleasure of attending the DrinkLocalWine.com conference 2010 at Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Virginia. The focal point of DrinkLocalWine.com is to highlight wines grown and made in North America – especially from states that would you make you scratch your head and say, “They make wine there?” This year the spotlight was put on Virginia wine, and I have to tell you friends – Virginia wine shone back!

Friday Night Pre-Tasting


Getting a one day head-start on the conference, (we) wine bloggers, coined the “Virginia Wine Mafia” by Lenn Thompson, founder of the New York Cork Report, started supporting the local wine cause with a Friday evening pre-tasting. We enjoyed approximately twenty-five labels from states such as Virginia, New York, Texas, North Carolina, Colorado, Utah, and Hawaii. The two big hits of the night among all the bloggers was an Old World-style 2004 Windham Vineyards (now called Doukenie) Cabernet Franc made by winemaker Doug Fabbioli of Fabbioli Cellars. I have come to learn over the past few years that Doug Fab is good for a solid Cabernet Franc wine. The second selection was an elegantly-styled and expressive 2001 Lenz Vineyards Long Island Merlot. This is the type of wine that Thomas Jefferson would call “a wine of distinction.”

Pours of Joy at Breaux Vineyards


The conference provided attendees the opportunity to learn about the Virginia wine industry and sample some of the fine vintages offered by select producers who focus on pushing the quality barometer. During the course of the weekend event, we had the opportunity to visit with Breaux Vineyards and Corcoran Vineyards , two popular Loudoun County wine destinations.

Grandale Farms lunch paired with Breaux Vineyards wines.


Breaux Vineyards was our official “Tweep Up” location and this has a lot to do with Jen Breaux. Even though a lot of Virginia producers sign up to use the social media services of Twitter and FaceBook, very few actually engage their Twitter followers or FaceBook friends. Most will inform you when they are having an event or a wine sale, but very little meaningful social media interaction goes on. Social media is where Jen Breaux shines and we were delighted to tour the Breaux facility, meet with winemaker David Collins to review barrel samples, and enjoy lunch with Paul Breaux, Jen’s father and founder of Breaux Vineyards. I would be remiss if I did not mention Grandale Farms who catered our delicious grilled chicken lunch. Grandale Farms is a big supporter of the farm-to-table concept with an emphasis on “local foods.” The lunch paired nicely with the wide selection of Breaux premium wines we tasted. I personally enjoyed the Reserve Merlot 2002 and Nebbiolo 2001 with lunch.

Wine Education session with Jim Corcoran


Jim Corcoran, owner of Corcoran Vineyards, along with the Virginia Wine Board, was instrumental in the success of the conference. We had the pleasure of visiting with Jim at his winery for an educational tasting that focused on identifying aromatic components in wine and the influence that oak (e.g. French, American, Hungarian) has on wine. After an hour or so of good discussion we opened up a few bottles of Virginia wine, including the tasty Mary’s Cuvee red wine blend, which is a joint effort by Virginia wine superstar Mary Watson and Jim’s wife Lori Corcoran, who is both co-owner and winemaker of Corcoran Vineyards.

Avocado, Mango, and Shrimp ~ Tuskies


On Saturday and Sunday evenings I had the pleasure of attending Virginia winemaker dinners at both Tuscarora Mill and Magnolias at the Mill. Both restaurants are owned by the same family and are restored historic grain mills. Both restaurants also share a commitment of having a large number of Virginia labels on the wine list which are served by glass or bottle. Both wine dinners featured menus that recognized the local farms from which the food was sourced and each course was accompanied by a glass or two of Virginia wine. The winemakers who produced the wines being poured were all present and had the opportunity to speak about their wines – the vintage, style, pairing, etc. At one point during the evening, Chris Pearmund, founder of Pearmund Cellars, and, as one attendee joked, “A half dozen other Virginia wineries”, cited that years ago when no other restaurant carried Virginia wine, Tuskies, as the locals call it, was one of the first to carry Virginia wine by the glass and by the bottle. Today you can stop by Tuskies or Magnolias at the Mill and enjoy a delicious local plate and a glass or bottle of Virginia wine.

Virginia Wine Panel Discussion - Everyone's Tweeting!


The conference also featured three informative discussion panels that focused on the Virginia wine industry. One discussion dealt with which grapes work best for Virginia. That’s always an interesting topic and one I have had with other Virginia wine lovers. I always say that winegrowers have to target varieties that have market viability and Virginia climate survivability. Two varieties I was glad to hear the panel mention were Petit Verdot and Petit Manseng. Petit Verdot is all the buzz nowadays because it is Virginia’s answer to those looking for a wine with size. I look for Petit Manseng to increase in both vine planting and popularity in the near future as the variety is well adaptable to our overall hot and humid climate.

Twitter Taste-Off!


Other panels discussed how Virginia wineries can brand build using social media and why restaurants that support local food don’t always have local wine selections. I have only seen a few Virginia wineries use social media to engage consumers and push their brand. I’m not sure why Virginia producers have had such a slow start with social media. My best guess is that many producers are fortunate enough to be situated on popular wine trails and their tasting rooms are filled with Virginia wine lovers every weekend. Based on what I know and what I have heard, I think social media is just a matter of time for local producers who have not subscribed yet.

Wine Bloggers aka Virginia Wine Mafia at Lunch


Another fun-filled event was the Twitter Taste-off. A number of Virginia producers and a handful of Maryland producers poured their best red and white wine selections. Participants reviewed and scored the wines and posted tweets to Twitter that were identifiable by hash tags (e.g. #DLW10VA, #DLW10MD). A big Twitter screen was on display so everyone could track the tweets of others. There were many good Virginia wines poured and enjoyed and to my delight I also found several solid red and white wine selections coming out of Maryland -especially the Black Ankle Vineyards Syrah 2007. At the end of the Twitter Taste-off the winner in the white wine category was the Chrysalis Albariño 2008 and the winner in the red wine category was the Breaux Vineyards Reserve Merlot 2002. I have enjoyed both of these fine wine selections in the past and I highly recommend them if you have not tried them yet.

Jim Corcoran receives an award from Jeff Siegel & Dave McIntyre


In closing, a special event like this would not be possible without the awesome Virginia wine industry people, the bloggers, Jim Corcoran of Corcoran Vineyards, The Virginia Wine Board, Visit Loudoun, Executive Director Katy Bothum, and the Washington Post's Dave McIntyre and wine blogger Jeff Siegel of the Wine Curmudgeon, who are co-founders of DrinkLocalWine.com.“Thank You” to all of you and to whomever I may have missed.

PS. Big shout-out to all my wine blogging pals too; check these blogs out folks: Virginia Wine Time, NewYork Cork Report, Cellar Blog, The Other 46, Swirl, Sip, & Snark, Caveman Wines, Wine Ophelia, HR Junkyard, Empty Bottles, Drink-What-U-Like, Anything Wine and the Washinton Wine Report ~ Great hanging out with you all!

Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com, and as always, Happy Sipping!

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4/22/2010

DrinkLocalWine Conference 2010: Spotlight on Virginia Wine


Hello Friends,

From April 24th to April 26th, Lansdowne Resort, the beautiful retreat in Leesburg, Virginia, will play host to the 2nd annual DrinkLocalWine.com conference. This year’s focus is the Virginia wine industry - including, but not limited to, its winegrowers, unique terroir, farming practices, and the award-winning limited production wines produced. Virginia wine lovers, bloggers, writers, industry professionals, and supporters of DrinkLocalWine are embarking upon DC’s Wine Country to mingle, learn, enjoy, explore, and swirl, sniff, and sip regional wines. There will be seminars, panel discussions, a Twitter Taste-off, winemaker dinners – too much to list. What’s really awesome is this is taking place right in our backyard and an up-and-coming wine producing region like Virginia is getting a much deserved spotlight shined its way!

Make Mine Virignia Wine!


For the next three days, starting tomorrow, I will be joining wine friends, bloggers, tweeps, etc. to celebrate and support the DrinkLocalWine cause. The focal point of the conference, led by the Washington’s Post Dave McIntyre and wine blogger Jeff Siegel of the Wine Curmudgeon, is to put a bright spotlight on wines made in the other 47 states (sans CA, OR, and WA) and Canada. This is not because they have something against the wines produced in the other three sates, it’s because the other 47 states do not get the exposure or media coverage that they deserve. I’m excited about the conference and even have several wine friends who are bringing selections from Colorado, North Carolina, New York, Texas, Maryland, Florida, and Utah. Is that cool or what? If you have not signed up for the conference yet, visit the DrinkLocalWine.com website and come out and support the cause. It’s going to be a really good time and I look forward to seeing you and sharing a swirl, sniff, and sip! Feel free to hit me up on Twitter, FB, or text me if you are in the area. Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com, and as always, Happy Sipping!

Click Here to visit conference event page.

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4/21/2010

Quick Sip: Horton Vineyards Viognier 2008


Hello Friends,

The week’s quick sip is the Horton Vineyard’s Viognier 2008. For my friends who aren’t in the know, the history of Viognier here in Virginia begins with Horton Vineyards. Dennis Horton first planted the important Northern Rhone variety in the early 90’s, but it was Horton’s 1993 vintage that put Virginia on the wine map and influenced other local producers to jump on the bandwagon. Prior to Horton’s success, Viognier was not a household name in Virginia tasting rooms as it is now. As a matter of fact, if you ask most Virginia wine lovers which grape variety is most likely to put Virginia on the world’s wine map - most will say, “Vee-on-Yay!”

Horton Vineyards Viognier 2008


Founded in 1983, Horton’s list of firsts does not stop at Viognier. Horton was also the first to popularize important varietals that are keys to Virginia’s wine industry success, such as Cabernet Franc, Norton, and Petit Manseng – I really look for the latter to explode in the coming years as it gains acreage and popularity. Horton is one of the pioneering winegrowers in Virginia, who through trial and error, planted, pulled up, and planted again to see what would work in Virginia’s overall hot and humid climate and diverse soil types. I have always found Horton's Viognier to be well-made and consistent in both quality and style from vintage to vintage. The 2008 is made in a fresh, easy-drinking style with inviting floral, citrus and peach aromas. The Horton Vineyard’s Viognier 2008 is medium-bodied with good acidity and sips nicely on its own or would pair well with white meats or seafood dishes. The wine clocks in at a moderate 13.5% alcohol by volume and can be found anywhere from $13 to $20. If you are able to find this wine at the lower end of the price spectrum, snatch it up quick! In closing, Virginia Viognier is good anytime, but with spring here and summer ahead, be sure to pack a bottle of Horton Viognier in your picnic basket and call it an enjoyable day! Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com, and as always, Happy Sipping!

Winery Info: Horton Vineyards, 6399 Spotswood Trail, Gordonsville,VA

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Viognier on FoodistaViognier

Dezel's My Vine Spot © 2006-2010. All rights reserved.

4/16/2010

Wine Facts: Virginia First in Wine


Hello Friends,

Did you know Virginia was first in wine? Virginia colonists are on the books as being the first in the United States to attempt to make wine. It all started in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia. Growing grapes and making wine was actively pursued by the colonists, but the end results were less than favorable. Even by Thomas Jefferson’s time, some two hundred years later, growing wine grapes, especially the European varieties that we are accustomed to today, yielded little to no success.

Thomas Jefferson's Wine Cellar at Monticello


Nearly two centuries later Virginia would emerge with a small group of passionate winegrowers who found success with French-American hybrid varieties and some classic European varieties. This group’s efforts and introduction of new viticulture practices and techniques during the mid-1970’s served as a strong foundation for the successful wine industry we see blossoming nowadays. If you are a Virginia wine lover, and I know you are, raise a toast to those who paved the way for the great Virginia wine we are experiencing today! Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com, and as always, Happy Sipping!


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Dezel's My Vine Spot © 2006-2010. All rights reserved.

4/12/2010

By the Glass: The Goodstone Inn & Estate


Hello Friends,

I recently had the pleasure of sitting on the selection committee for Loudoun County’s “Destination Restaurants” program. This program is run by The Loudoun Convention and Visitors Center. Participating restaurants were evaluated on specific criteria for consideration as an official Loudoun County Destination. This assignment gave me a chance to visit a few establishments I had already dined at to reconfirm that they were still doing things right. It also gave me the opportunity to explore some dining destinations I had not previously been to. One of those destinations was The Goodstone Inn and Estate.

The Goodstone Inn's Restaurant


The Goodstone Inn and Estate is located in Middleburg, Virginia, a stone’s throw away from downtown Middleburg. The Goodstone Inn and Estate is situated on 256 acres of rolling countryside, offering a relaxed atmosphere and picturesque country views. The Goodstone Inn and Estate is an ideal location for fine dining and/or an overnight stay, especially if you plan on making a weekend out of visiting the nearby wineries and attractions.

Beautiful Interior


The Goodstone Inn and Estate’s restaurant is housed in a 1930’s circa carriage house with picture windows that overlook Goose Creek. We visited the restaurant on a Sunday afternoon for their three-course Sunday brunch. The meal was absolutely delicious and the service was great. Executive Chef William Walden is doing good things in the kitchen and I personally like the focus they place on local foods with their farm-to-table push. The restaurant’s wine list features over 250 labels with 23 Virginia wines, of which 10 are from Loudoun County producers. Therefore, you can go local in the plate and in the glass. The Goodstone Inn and Estate makes this week’s “By the Glass” feature because you can get local wine by the bottle, even half bottle, and by the glass. I hope that you will visit soon - you will not be disappointed.

My Farm Fresh Eggs Benedict & Hollandaise Dish (Yum!)


Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com, and as always, Happy Sipping!

Info: Goodstone Inn and Estate, 36205 Snake Hill Road, Middleburg, VA 20117-3645

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4/07/2010

Vine Spot Visuals: Breaux Vineyards


Hello Friends,

Spring is in the air and the fresh colors, blooming trees, and warm sunny days keep getting better and better. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for more of this beautiful weather. Spring is also a great time to get out and experience Virginia wine country. This week’s Vine Spot Visual’s feature highlights another popular wine destination in DC’s Wine County (a.k.a. Loudoun County) that’s known for award winning wines, spectacular views, friendly faces, and southern hospitality.

A Beautiful day at Breaux Vineyards


The above picture was recently taken at Breaux Vineyards, located in Purcellville, Virginia. Breaux Vineyards is situated on a picturesque 400-acre estate with over 100 acres of vine plantings, making Breaux one of the largest grape growers in the state. Breaux specializes in producing small lots of hand-crafted estate wines and offers a wide selection that would appeal to any and every palate preference – trust me. Enjoy the day on the welcoming patio or find a spot on the green manicured lawn and waste the day away with friends, good conversation, laughter, your favorite Breaux Vineyard’s wine, and sweeping vineyard views back-dropped by the Blue Ridge and Short Hill Mountains. Breaux is a wine destination that’s easy to get to, but hard to leave, so keep your watch at home and swirl, sniff, and sip the day away!

Info: Breaux Vineyards, 36888 Breaux Vineyards Ln, Purcellville,VA 20132

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4/05/2010

Wine Geek Speak: Fat


Hello Friends,

This week’s wine geek speak term is ‘fat’. Now this has nothing to do with wine making you overweight. Quite the contrary! Wine is far too healthy for that, right? After all, about 85% of wine is water – and you know the good doc says to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Yes!

What's a "fat" wine? Perhaps a big, buttery, toasty Chardonnay?


The term ‘fat’ in wine geek speak is a positive descriptor used to describe an overly generous wine that is full and rich on the palate. One that is mouth-filling, round, and generally very ripe. This style of wine is usually concentrated and high in alcohol with low to moderate acidity. Additionally, these types of wines usually receive “fat” scores in popular wine publications and are typically quite lip-smacking. With that being said, sometimes these types of wines can be too ripe and lack acidity. This may result in the wine coming across as dull, or in wine geek speak, flabby. The term ‘fat’ can apply to both red and white wines. In closing, let’s hear what your favorite ‘fat’ wine is. Is it a big buttery Chardonnay or perhaps a mouth-coating, luscious and round Shiraz.

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

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