Blenheim Vineyards

Virginia Wine Country: Washington Post Travel Feature

Today’s Washington Post Travel section is all about Virginia Wine Country! What a treat to see, and about time in my opinion. If you still have the chance, grab it as the photos are beautiful and there’s lots of great info. If not, here’s a list of the articles with links to enjoy online.

The articles calls out many of the great ones, including some of my favorites…

And here’s a handy chart they included to help in your Virginia Wine Country exploring.

Cheers to all the great things Virginia Wine Country has to offer!

It’s Regional Wine Week: Drink Local!

This week marks the fifth annual Regional Wine Week. It’s a week put together by Drink Local Wine encouraging wine writers to write about wines from the Other 47 States (wines that aren’t from California, Washington or Oregon…the biggest wine producing states in the country) to encourage you readers to drink wines from the Other 47!  With wine now produced in all 47 states, everyone has options.

Drink local for me means Virginia. If you’re looking for some Virginia wine to explore this week, here are some of my recent posts for recommendations.

There’s also a great event this Saturday, the Thomas Jefferson Wine Festival at Mr. Jefferson’s personal retreat Poplar Forest, where you can sample from fourteen Virginia wineries and meet Gabrielle Rausse, the father of modern Virginia wine.

Cheers to the other 47! What’s your favorite?

It’s Virginia Wine Month: Recommendations from the Locals

It’s October which means it’s Virginia Wine Month! With 210 wineries and 31 days in the month, there’s lots to explore.

To celebrate this 24th annual event, I’ll be sharing Virginia wineries and their wines with you throughout the month.

Let’s start with recommendations from ‘local winos,’ including myself, as collected by Northern Virginia Magazine for their October issue, all about Virginia wine. Check out all the others in the magazine and online.



Cheers to Virginia Wine Month!


July 4th Red, White & Blue Wine Line Up

It’s July 4th! Here in the U.S. that means a holiday for bbqs and celebrations!

Here’s the Red (okay pink), White & Blue (ok blue on the label) American wine choices for our festivities. AND had to add a sparkling that isn’t American but one of my favorites.

  • The RED: King Estate 2011 Pinot Noir Signature Vin Gris from Oregon. Strawberry and orange notes with crisp acidity. Perfect for cooling off in the late day sun!
  • The WHITE & The BLUE: Blenheim Vineyards 2011 Viognier from Virginia. It’s full of pineapple, mango and pear with honey and vanilla notes. Perfect with the bbq!
  • The Sparkler: Baby Prosecco from Italy. Fruit and floral aromas followed by green apple and tropical flavor with a crisp refreshing acidity. Perfect pairing for the fireworks!

Happy Birthday America! Cheers!

Taste Camp 2012: The Wine Stand Outs, Part 2

In The Wine Stand Outs, Part 1, I covered five of the eleven stand out wines from Taste Camp 2012, focusing on wineries I was tasting for the first time. Now let’s take a look at the six wines from wineries I’ve tasted and/or covered before.

Boxwood Winery Boxwood 2007

  • Variety: 42.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42.5% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot
  • Aroma: Dark red fruit with hints of spice
  • Taste: Nice concentrated spicy cassis
  • Price: No longer available
  • My thoughts: 2007 was a very good year for their signature wines, Boxwood and Topiary. I like this Left Bank Bordeaux-style blend (Topiary is a Right Bank style). Adam McTaggart told us this was a huge turning point vintage for them…it set their style for going forward. I loved the big fruitiness of this wine. Rachel told us there may still be a few bottles out there to find. For more on Boxwood and our time Taste Camp visit, see Loudoun County, DC’s Wine Country.

Blenheim Vineyards Rosé 2011

  • Variety: Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Mourvedre
  • Aroma: Big bouquet of strawberry, honey and a touch of cinnamon
  • Taste: Refreshing red fruits with a watermelon finish
  • Price: $14
  • My thoughts: Regular readers know I love Rosé and I love Kirsty Harmon, the fabulous winemaker at Blenheim. I’m always thrilled when I see Kristy and Greg Hirson, assistant winemaker, pouring their wines at events or in their gorgeous tasting room in the country outside Charlottesville. Every wine they make is approachable, easy to drink and delicious. On by BEST of Virginia wine list!!

Veritas Winery Vintner’s Reserve Meritage Blend 2010

  • Variety: 42% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 25% Petit Verdot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Aroma: Cherry, chocolate and cedar
  • Taste: Cherry with a hint of pepper finished with vanilla and caramel
  • Price: $35
  • My thoughts: I tasted this 2012 Virginia Governor’s Cup Gold winner back in late February at the Virginia Wine Expo and it was even better this tasting! It’s really opened up nicely…a great Meritage blend with chocolate, red fruit, vanilla and caramel hints. What more could you ask for! This again is one of my Virginia winery favorites… Emily is a fabulous winemaker and she is doing amazing work at her winery in red and white! Located outside of Charlottesville.

Breaux Vineyards Nebbiolo 2007

  • Variety: 100% Nebbiolo
  • Aroma: Red fruits with hints of tobacco
  • Taste: Spicy dried red fruits
  • Price: Coming 2014
  • My thoughts: Another 2007 wine shaping up very nicely and it’s not even bottled yet. We were lucky enough to have a barrel sample during our Friday evening dinner at Breaux. They will bottle it this year and then hold for two years before selling. This was a grape Paul Breaux really wanted to grow after his visit to Piemonte, Italy. As Jen Breaux Blosser told us over dinner, “it’s a hard grape to grow and always changing.” Breaux is another one of my Virginia favorites…with their breadth and variety, they have a wine for everyone and their 475-acres are worth the visit for a sip on their patio. For more on our time Taste Camp visit, see Loudoun County, DC’s Wine Country.

Tarara Winery Petit Manseng 2011

  • Variety: 100% Petit Manseng
  • Aroma: Pineapple & citrus
  • Taste: Refreshing crisp citrus and pineapple notes
  • Price: $20
  • My thoughts: This grape is becoming a specialty of Virginia. Most versions I’ve tasted are sweet but this one was perfect! As we boarded the wagon at the winery for a ride into vineyards with winemaker Jordan Harris, he poured us a glass of this. It hit the spot…crisp and refreshing…as we rode in the sun! Jordan said they don’t usually do this wine but with the conditions of 2011 (cloudy & wet September), they decided to try it. Great results! I brought home a bottle and its chilling in the fridge. You can buy it on their website. Located in Loudoun County.

Linden Vineyards Avenius Chardonnay 2009

  • Variety: 100% Chardonnay
  • Aroma: Tropical bouquet with hint of oak
  • Taste: Peach, pear with hints of white pepper
  • Price: $28
  • My thoughts: We had the great pleasure of tasting five wines with Jim Linden, owner/winemaker and one of Virginia’s greats, on his crush pad after our vineyard walk. They were all fabulous and really demonstrate the terroir in which they are growing. I really like this Chablis-style, nice balance of fruit with hints of pepper which Jim said is due to the Avenius vineyard it comes from. Bottled August 2010. This wine should plateau from 2013 to 2017. Guess I’ll have to cellar the bottle I bought. 🙂 Located in Fauquier County.
  • Cheers to some of Virginia’s best wineries and winemakers showing Taste Camp writers everything Virginia wine has to offer!