Sunday, September 17, 2006

Weekend of wine tasting

Last Saturday we decided to meet our friends Stephanie and Russell out in the Afton mountain region for a fun day of wine tasting.

First on the day was Afton Mountain Vineyards which Megan and I had not been to. Driving up they have a beautiful setting, with great views of both the mountains and the vineyard. They have 12 acres of vines and grow everything they produce except for the Riesling. On the white side our favorites were the unwooded Chardonnay showing flavors of tropical fruit and coconut and was nicely crisp and tart, also the Gewurztraminer was very impressive with a rose and apricot aroma with a rich, smooth and barely sweet finish. On the red side our favorites were the '05 Sangiovese with chocolate, raspberry, nice tannic structure and a great finish, as well as the 04 Cabernet Sauvignon displaying raspberry, cherry, slightly vegetal on the taste and a nice smooth finish. Afton was great, beautiful setting, nice wines and a informative staff. If you haven't been I definitely recommend it.

Second on the day was Cardinal Point, always a favorite of ours. In the past our favorite has been the Barrel Select Chardonnay and the Cab Franc this time we found a new favorite, the A6. A6 is a perfect blend of Viognier and Chardonnay combining the floral fruity nice with tart crisp fruit of chardonnay, with hints of toasted oak on the finish. The tasting room was bustling with activity and we discussed the harvest which was weighing heavy on their minds with recent rains that have struck the area, ending an almost perfect season of weather. Cardinal Point always has good wines and we always recommend this one as well.

Third, and last on the day was King Family Vineyards who was also a bustle of activity setting up for a polo match later that day. All of us we very excited to tasting the new vintages since it had been a year since we last visited King Family. The 2005 Viognier was great, slightly effervescent with floral notes on the nose and apricot and honeysuckle on the taste. The 2004 Meritage was also great with raspberry, chocolate, cinammon and earth on the nose with raspberry and bell pepper preceeding the long finish. The 2004 was definitely different from the 2003 but still delicious. Something else that we found great was the Late Harvest Cab Franc with 3% residual sugar and 17% alcohol. The Late Harvest is not fortified, and the high alcohol is acheived from hand selecting and raisining the grapes. Very yummy!! For lunch we decided to have Cab Franc to start and finished up with the Viognier. The Cab Franc went great with our rosemary manchego, pita, hummus and mixed nuts along with a nicely toasted baguettes.

Check out the pictures below of the wonderful day of wine tasting with our friends Stephanie and Russell.

John at Afton with Chardonnay in the background

Megan at Afton with a beautiful of the Mountains and of the Vineyard

Tasting the reds at Afton Mountain

Tasting at Cardinal Point

Stephanie and Russell discussing the wine

Getting an explanation of this years harvest and how it was going.

MMM, that is some fine Viognier

Enjoying some fine cheese, hummus and pita

James River Harvest Moon Festival

Saturday September 9th we attended the James River Harvest Moon festival. This time our attendance was a little different, we did not only attend as patrons but we attending as "pourers" with Woodland Vineyard. We (Woodland Vineyard) particpated along with James River Winery, Cooper Vineyards and Belle Mount. It was a blast, Megan and I along with a volunteer (John Paul) worked the booth the 1st half of he day. It was great exposure for Woodland being primarily a Richmond crowd, most of which had no idea there was a winery in Midlothian Virginia.

After we worked the tasting table for a few hours Megan and explored the festival for ourselves. It was great fun, we tasted from all the other wineries even sampling some of Coopers famous Sangria that they were giving tastes of, very yummy on the warm Saturday. We also picked up a bottle of their Viognier which was also really good. (Look back at my reveiw from Cooper a few weeks ago) We also really liked James Rivers Vidal Blanc which we picked up a bottle of to take home. Jackie from Cooper gave us a couple of complimentary glass of Sangria that we sipped on and explored some of the jewerly vendors and listened to the band Summerhaven.

Megan pouring at the Woodland Vineyard booth
Eric, Melissa and Megan working the Woodland tasting booth

The Cooper tent, pouring good wines and lots of Sangria

Belle Mount Vineyards

Megan explaining Woodland Vineyad wines to some thirsty patrons

We all had a great time enjoying the wine and the other vendors, it was a great fun small festival I recommend you all trying next year.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

On a recent business trip to New Brunswick, New Jersey, I had the opportunity to dine out 2 of the nights I was there. Since my colleague and I enjoyed wine with both dinners I figured I would write about the 2 restaurants as well as the wines we enjoyed.

First up was Makedas, an Ethiopian restaurant in the heart of downtown New Brunswick. The restaurant was very nice with an art gallery adjacent that you had clear view of through the glass wall that enclosed one side of the restaurant. After my 1st two choice for wine this evening were out of stock I settled on Glen Carlou Grand Classique 2001.

Nose: Black Raspberry, blueberry, slight Coffee
Taste: Blackberry, Raspberry, Cinnamon
Mouthfeel: medium to full body with silky smooth tannins
Finish: Really long

This was a great wine, really impressive. Classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. I am not sure if it was the best wine to go with our selection of Ethiopian cuisine but was good none the less, as was the food at Makedas. If you are ever in New Brunswick looking for a great atmosphere with fun exotic food, give it a try.

The second restaurant that we we to (not in the same night of course) was The Frog and The Peach. The restaurant had an amazing wine list that being on the company tab I had to be careful. We went with a Benziger Cabernet Sauvignon 2002.

Origin: Sonoma, CA

Nose: Black Currant, Plum, blueberry

Taste: Rich Dark Fruit, Leather, Coffee

Mouthfeel: Rich and full bodied; chewy

Finish: Long and Lucious with slight pepperiness

This Cab was great showing excellent fruit up front with layered complexity of coffee and minerality on the finish. It was paired beautifully with our dinner. For our appetizer we had a black truffle gnocchi with a Local Spinach Chiffonade,Tomato Concassé, and Toasted Pine Nuts. The entree was magnificent as well with both of us choosing the Summer Mushroom and Goat Cheese Agnolotti with Local Greens, Sweet Corn Fondue, and Toasted Breadcrumbs. A side of sauteed asparagus accompanied the meal nicely as did the wine washing down every bited beautifully. The entire dinner was great, our server Amy, the meal, our Riedel stemware and of course the fabulous wine. The only thing missing was my wife.
Again a great restaurant if you are ever in the New Brunswick/Rutgers area.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Delfosse Meritage 2004

Origin: Albermarle County, VA

Nose: Earth, Cherry, Mocha, Crushed Blackberry

Taste: Plum, Cherry, Clove, Green Olive

Body: Medium body, very smooth mouthfeel

Finish: medium in length with a spicy/peppery smooth finish

We purchased this back on memorial day weekend on a trip around Monticello. Delfosse has a beautiful setting that Megan and I enjoyed lunch and a glass of Cab Franc and Meritage. This Meritage was great, we enjoyed with Veggie Pizza which complimented the wine greatly. The earth and cherry came through very nicely on the nose and cherry came through again on the taste with a nice touch of green olive. I definitely recommend this as a fine example of a great RED done right in Virginia.