Chatham Vineyards

Virginia Wine Expo: Some Old Favorites

For the last year, I’ve been exploring Virginia’s burgeoning wine industry, now over 200 wineries strong. My journey started at last year’s 4th Annual Virginia Wine Expo. The neat thing about attending this year’s Expo is I had favorites to visit. In the next two articles, I’ll share my favorite wine each was tasting at the Expo.

Breaux Vineyards 2010 Sauvignon Blanc

  • Varietal: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
  • Aroma: Crisp citrus
  • Taste: Honeydew melon and green apple with hint of goat cheese
  • Price: $15
  • My thoughts:  Really like this wine! As a Sauvignon Blanc fan, I like that it’s familiar yet with a hint of something different…I got goat cheese. 🙂 There Viognier, Virginia’s official grape, was named to Oz Clarke’s Top 250 Wines of 2012 list. Fun to see Jennifer and introduce Breaux to friends.

Chatham Vineyards Late Harvest Dessert Wine

  • Varietal: Cabernet Franc and Merlot
  • Aroma: Nuts and spice
  • Taste: Brown spice, hazelnut, tobacco
  • Price: $25
  • My thoughts: This is a yummy dessert wine…not too sweet with lots of layers! It would be perfect with a cheese plate. Unfortunately it was sold out so I couldn’t take it home. These grapes are naturally dehydrated on the vine and produce a wine with only 3% residual sugar (typical ice wine is 9%). Great to meet Jon and taste through his wines with him. I discovered Chatham at last spring’s Mount Vernon Wine Festival.

DuCard Vineyards 2009 Petit Verdot

  • Varietal: 100% Petit Verdot
  • Aroma: Big spice and red fruit
  • Taste: Dark red fruit, silky smooth with a hint of anise
  • Price: $30
  • My thoughts: I discovered DuCard at least year’s event. It was great to taste this lovely wine with their talented winemaker, who unfortunately after five years is headed back to Bordeaux.

Barren Ridge Vineyards 2008 Meritage

  • Varietal: 50% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 20% Petit Verdot
  • Aroma: Red fruit and spice
  • Taste: Silky combination of red berries, vanilla and spice
  • Price: $32
  • My thoughts: First met French winemaker Pauline Dubier at last summer’s Wine Bloggers Conference (she too is headed back to France). This lovely wine won Silver in the 2011 Virginia Governor’s Cup.

Next…wines from my other old favorites at the Expo. Click here for additional discoveries from this year’s Expo.

“Napa is for auto parts and Virginia is for wine”

That’s what Virginia’s Governor Robert McDonnell said at Thursday night’s Virginia Wine Month celebration hosted by the Virginia Tourism Office and Virginia Wine Board at Lincoln Restaurant in Washington, DC. 🙂

Unfortunately I was out of town so couldn’t attend but luckily Virginia Wine TV covered it so I was able to catch the highlights thanks to their great coverage!

The event featured four great wineries you can put on your list for this last weekend of Virginia Wine Month…

The Governor’s remarks also included…

  • Virginia wine sales increased +13% last year and this year already up +11%.
  • Virginia is taking it internationally not only with sales in the UK but shows in Europe last year, Asia this year and India coming up.
  • The newest vines in Virginia are in his backyard with 10 Chambourcin vines.
  • Even though Virginia is #5 in the country in wine production, look out #1 California here we come!

All in all a fun evening celebrating the continued growing success of Virginia wine now up to 200 wineries.

Virginia is for wine lovers. Cheers!

Virginia Wine of the Month Club

Just in time for Virginia Wine Month (starts tomorrow Saturday 1 October), I received my first shipment from the Virginia Wine of the Month Club!

I discovered this convenient service at the Virginia Wine Festival a few weeks ago. They’ve been delivering monthly shipments of Virginia wine to members for 22 years! Each month they hand-select one or two bottles of wine from around the state through their expert tasting panel. They seek out hard-to-find wines, especially those not widely distributed.

How does it work? There are no membership fees or obligations, just the cost of the wine and shipping each month. The prices are great…$15.95 for one bottle or $26.95 for two + shipping! You can chose one or two bottles each month then all reds, all whites or a variety. I went with two bottles, one red and one white.

Each shipment comes with The Virginia Wine Journal featuring in-depth information on the featured vineyard, the featured wines and recipe pairings with the wines. It also lists upcoming wine events and this month included several flyers on the events.Shipments are made the 4th Monday of every month.

This month’s offering? Chatham Vineyards 2009 Church Creek Steel Chardonnay and Church Creek Merlot. Ironically I have a bottle of this Chardonnay on my wine rack already…discovered this Eastern Shore winery in May at the Mount Vernon Wine Festival and really liked their Chardonnay. Looking forward to enjoying both!

Visit their website to place your own order (or as gifts). And each month I’ll share my wine arrival and tasting notes with you here.

Coming tomorrow…details on Virginia Wine Month.


Wine with our Founding Father

This weekend George Washington’s home in Alexandria, Virginia hosted the Mount Vernon Spring Wine Festival & Sunset Tour. You can enjoy candlelit tours of the Mansion including a peek into the rarely seen cellar where Washington stored his wine, live jazz music and the main feature of the evening… samplings from Virginia wineries.

Under the big tent in Washington’s backyard, we worked our way around this social event talking to vintners and tasting little samples. I tried sixty wines from twelve wineries (there were seventeen total) including seven I hadn’t tried before (Rockbridge Vineyard, New Kent Winery, Hiddencroft Vineyards, Gray Ghost, Fabbioli Cellars, Chatham Vineyards, AmRhein, Château Morrisette). My favorites from the night?

  • Chatham Vineyards Steel Chardonnay: This was a really nice wine! Made from French Dijon grape clones grown on the Eastern Shore, this white wine is fermented in stainless steel which brings out a nice tropical fruit flavor and crisp acidity. I even bought a bottle to bring home.
  • DuCard Vineyards Rosé: Happy to have another glass of this great Rosé I discovered at the Virginia Wine Expo! Classic dry French style with hints of strawberry.
  • Barboursville Vineyards Viognier Reserve: A new try for me from this vineyard… juicy, bright and tropical white! It was even served by the British Embassy at their Royal Wedding event a few weeks ago.
  • Horton Cellars Sparkling Viognier: The first sparkling Viognier in the world! More on that later this week.

Wine is available for purchase by the glass or bottle to enjoy that evening from each winery (or buy a bottle to take home).

Sitting on the lawn sipping a glass of wine with a fruit, cheese and a baguette baskets as we enjoyed beautiful views of the Potomac River … it was a perfect evening. Especially after our toast with George and Martha on the Mansion’s piazza. 🙂 Cheers!