When Notaviva Vineyards announced their Host a Wine Show last year I was intrigued. I have never been a big fan of "wine shows" like the Traveling Vineyard, but this is completely different.
I finally got to host one of their shows in July and it was an incredible event. The Notaviva "Host a Wine Show" brings Notaviva wines to your home or business along with Stephen or Shannon to tell you about the wines.
The cost is only $15 per person and not only do attendees get to taste the wonderful wines that Notaviva produces, but they get to hear about the wines and the winery from one of the owners. For those interested, they can even by wines (which a lot of people did).
Notaviva is a beautiful winery and worth the trip, but it is hard to beat the intimacy of an in-home wine tasting with a winery owner, it makes for a great event.
One of my favorite local events, Vintage Crystal is returning tomorrow and the weather could not be any better for this outdoor event:
Vintage Crystal: A Taste of Wine and Jazz – This Weekend
A convenient, metro-friendly addition to the Virginia wine festival scene, enjoy sips of wine provided by Jaleo and tempting tastes from local restaurants. Free Salsa dancing lessons from The Salsa Room, Latin Jazz from Trio Caliente and wine tasting classes from the Washington Wine Academy round out the sixth installment of this local favorite.
When: September 16, 2pm – 6pm.
Where: Courtyard at 220 20th Street, Arlington, Va.
METRO access via blue and yellow lines to Crystal City.
Admission: Tickets available day of event. $20 – food and wine (includes a tasting glass), $10 – food only.
"Gun Shy" is the word that appears to be defining the 2012 harvest in Virginia. I have heard that phrase from more than a dozen winemakers and vineyard managers around the state. After the difficult 2011 vintage many wineries are concerned about the September rains and their potential impact on the harvest. In fact, many wineries started their harvest a few weeks early in order to avoid a repeat.
The 2012 growing season started in 2011 with what turned out to be the mildest winter in recent memory. The mild winter lead to longer than usual growing season, and unfortunately, also lead to several frost scares. While there was some minor frost damage across the state, it was not nearly as bad as the damage from frost in 2010.
2012 was a dry year with only 14.43 inches of rain between April 1st and August 31st in Loudoun County and 17.82 inches during the same period in Charlottesville. Compare that to an average rainfall of 18.73 inches during the same time period over the previous 5 years in Loudoun and 16.94 over the same period in Charlottesville.
Loudoun County experienced 36 90+ degree days between April 1st and August 31st. Down from 42 and 46 in 2011 and 2010, respectively. This meant that in Loudoun there was a longer growing season that was dry an warm, but not too hot.
Charlottesville had 46 90+ degree days between April 1st and August 31st, including a stretch of 5 strait 100+ degree days between July 4th and 8th. This is also down from 47 in 2011 and 59 in 2010.
While it is never a good idea to make predictions about the wines from a harvest, this is definitely shaping up to be a good year for Virginia wines; provided we avoid the deluge of rain we experienced in 2011 and wineries don't jump the gun and harvest too soon.
Good luck to all Virginia wineries!
Summer is almost over and most wineries expect to do booming business over the weekend. If you are looking for a great way to close out the summer you should try the Loudoun Valley Vineyards Lobster Bake on Sunday.
Reservations are required, you can email Zan Dial with your RSVP.
Looks like a really great time!
Over the last few years the popularity of Rosé has grown in Virginia with good reason. Even in an off year, like 2011, winemakers can produce a quality Rosé. The Sunset Hills 2011 Rosé is a prime example of that. The wine is a blend 85% Cabernet Franc with 15% Merlot and it has bold red fruit flavors of strawberry, cherry and a hint of cranberry.
The wine hints at sweetness, but has very low residual sugar. The bright fruit and acidity make it very refreshing, and while I would consider it a summer wine the body is enough that you can drink it well into the fall.
You can't throw a rock in Virginia without hitting a Virginia Wine Festival, but Craft Beer Festivals are much rarer. Fortunately, that is changing. One of the most promising festivals I have seen is the first annual Virginia Craft Brewer Festival, which is being held Saturday August 25th, from 2:00 to 8:00 at Devil's Backbone Brewery in Nelson.
The list of breweries who will be in attendance is impressive and it should be a great event.
We were out with wine friends on Monday; during the evening one of our dinner companions mentioned that they had been out to DelFosse Vineyards & Winery over the weekend and the pourer mentioned that DelFosse had purchased Piedmont Vineyards.
If the rumor is true it would be great to have Claude DelFosse's elegant style of winemaking in Northern Virginia. It would also be a huge turn around for DelFosse, who almost lost the winery two years ago.
We are still researching the story and will update as we find out more information.
Wine About Virginia suggested that the "Virginia Wine Mafia" gather for the opening weekend of a new winery, I jumped at the chance to cross at least one of the new wineries off my list. We gathered at The Barns at Hamilton Station, and entered the 102 year old barn for our tasting.
As readers of this blog know the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors is considering legislation that would seriously restrict activities in which Farm Wineries are able to engage.
The Fauquier County Board of Supervisors is planning to vote on the legislation this Thursday, July 12, 2012, at 6:30 PM. The BoS holds its meetings at:
Warren Green Building
10 Hotel Street, Suite 208
Warrenton, VA 20186
While we believe that much of the proposed ordinance is illegal under State law, it is clear that the intent of the Board is to harm or possibly even eliminate the wine industry in Fauquier County.
Please show your support for the wineries of Fauquier County by writing to the Board of Supervisors and the Zoning Administrator listed to the left. We have provided suggested content for your message that you may copy directly into your email if you so choose.
Fauquier County is trying to put Fauquier wineries out of business!!
Like many wine bloggers, when I started writing about wine I had dreams about owning a winery. I even had the brilliant idea of blending two cultures by owning a small winery in Virginia and another in Saint-Èmilion.
Now that I am older and wiser I know better, but I still see a lot of people out there who think they want to own a winery. Let me tell you why you don't:
5. Weather is a bitch
Last year was a difficult year for Virginia Wineries because of weather. That was followed by a mild winter which lead to early flowering and then BAM, frost! Once Virginia Winemakers made it through the frost scare we hit extremely warm temperatures and last week a freaking Derecho Storm swept through the vineyards. Only two people in Virgnia had ever heard of a Derech Storm prior to last week, now it is all everyone can talk about it.
The point is, if you own a Vineyard, your life revolves around weather a mis-timed hailstorm, a dry hot summer or a wet autumn can ruin your crop for a year and you don't have a lot of control over any of that.
4. With Yelp, Twitter, CellarTracker and other forms of social media everyone is a critic, most of them are stupid.
Social media has made it easy for everyone to be a critic, and there has been a lot written about the democratization of wine critiquing. The fact is, most people don't know what they are talking about, which makes their wine and winery reviews worthless. But, it doesn't change the fact that they are out there for every one to see right alongside the reviews from people who know and understand the wine.
For example, this is from the first review about Breaux Vineyards on Yelp (emphasis mine):
But then they veer off with high priced (and well known) varietals like Cab Franc, Merlot, and Cab Sauv as well as the lesser known Nebiollo. They high priced and, IMHO, not that good and VERY expensive.
I was lucky enough to be invited to the Wine Spectator Grand Tour by Château Brane-Cantenac (more on that later). At the end of the evening there were a few bottles left. Corinne graciously allowed me to take them, with the understanding that I would share them with the wine club.
While the 2009 vintage is phenomenal, the truth is Brane-Cantenac has a long history of producing great vintages and I thought sampling those vintages would make for a more fun evening.
In addition to the 2009 vintage we also poured the 2008, 2005, 1995 and 1982 vintages.
The 2009 vintage continues to impress. For Americans who are used to big Napa Cabernets this wine actually drinks well right now, but it has a complexity that Napa Cabernets usually lack which will serve those who age it well.
The 2008 vintage is elegant and, to me, quintessential Margaux. It combines dark floral aromas with black fruit and well-structured but subtle tannins to make a wine that you can drink now, but that will really shine in 4-5 years.
The 2005 vintage was the one that worried me the most. Undoubtedly, 2005 is a great year but there have been reports of 2005 being in a dormant state recently. That was not the case at all. Luscious blackberry, plum and dark cherry fruits combined with Indian spices flowed from the bottle and overwhelmed the palate, filling the mouth with flavor and blending with the powerful tannins. The 2005 vintage is just starting to hit its stride, I cannot wait to see where it goes.
The 1995 vintage was the only disappointment of the evening. Clearly, the wine had not been properly aged and while it was not vinegar, it had a musty taste that turned everyone off.
The 1982 vintage is not as reliably great as it was a few years ago. Now that the wine is pushing 30, there are still some great bottles out there, but not as many. I was concerned when I removed the foil and there was some evidence of seepage, but my concerns were unfounded. The 1982 vintage was almost all fruit, with very soft tannins that still provided structure. Notes of blackberry, cassis, and violet on the nose and beautiful red cherry, pepper, dark fruit in the mouth. Still beautiful and elegant, but without the same power of a few years ago. It was also an excellent match for the dark chocolate Hershey's Kisses with which we ended the tasting.
It turned out to be a great evening and a lot of fun, many thanks to Corinne for the wine and the inspiration!
In a move that surprised no one, Trump Winery has severed its relationship with Patricia Kluge:
At the time of the takeover, Kluge was offered the role of vice president of operations, but the one-year transitional contract has officially expired.
“We gave her a transition contract for the first year, and that has ended. We are still working with her a little bit, and we still have a good relationship with Patricia,” Donald Trump told the New York Post.
In a move that I would normally consider odd, but in this case it makes perfect sense, Notaviva Vineyards has hired 92.5 WINC-FM radio personality Paula Kidwell, as their tasting room manager.
Notaviva, who's tag line is Wine paired with music. Pour. Listen. Believe.®, has always been as much about great music as great wine. It makes sense that they would want a tasting room manager who is well-connected in the local music scene. It also helps that Paula has been working in the tasting room since 2011.
From the press release Notaviva distributed:
"This is an exciting time for Notaviva Vineyards," says Stephen Mackey, co-founder and wine composer. "With our globally unique brand identity of pairing wine and music, Paula's vast experience and talent brings an entirely new dimension to our operation. In addition to managing the tasting room, Paula will oversee our wholesale and restaurant sales channels as we aggressively expand those opportunities."
"Most encouraging however," Stephen continues, "is the potential that Paula brings as Notaviva strategically pursues new media initiatives with our other company, creative agency Mesh Multimedia. The wine industry is rapidly embracing social networking and multimedia technologies to build brand loyalty and create differentiation. With our in-house audio and video production capabilities we are well positioned to exploit cutting-edge technologies for enhanced customer experiences."