UPDATE: Munchkin and Pomeroy popped into Fox Meadow on Sunday to give give their neighbors a personal "paws up" and pick up a bottle of the award-winning Le Renard Rouge to taste for themselves.
Fox Meadow Winery
The Virginia Wine Dogs congratulate our Blue Mountain neighbors, Dan and Cheryl Mortland, winners of this year's Governor's Cup for their Fox Meadow Vineyards Le Renard Rouge. The award was announced at the Virginia Wine Expo on Friday Night.
Sixty Virginia wineries submitted 196 entries in this year’s cup competition. Other Gold Medal finishers are Afton Mountain Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Barboursville Winery 2008 Petit Verdot, Cooper Vineyards 2008 Norton, Hiddencroft Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Franc and Keswick Vineyards, 2009 Cabernet Franc.
Fox Meadow is celebrating the Chili Days of February this weekend. Warn up with a bowl of chili, bread and a glass of award-winning wine. The extra "fixings" are provided to make your chili the way you like it. No reservations needed. $14.00.
Les Chiens Vin reviewed Fox Meadow in 2007. Read our review here.
Wine Dogs and other Virginia wine afficionados know Jason Burrus as the skillful winemaker at Rappahannock Cellars. Recently, however, Jason has branched out, launching his own label -- Anghel Wine.
Munchkin and Pomeroy joined a small group of Wine Club members for a special sampling of Anghel's first offering - the 2008 Virginia Red Table Wine - last month.
Jason's stated goal is to produce small lot artisenal wines from Virginia's finest vineyards. In this case, he chose Petit Verdot and Cab Franc grapes from Two Principals Vineyard near Marshall and Willowcroft Winery in Loudoun County, respectively. The wine spent 18 months in oak before bottling in May.
The result is a full-bodied Bordeaux-style wine that exhibits the distinictive cherry and pepper flavors of the best Virginia Cab Francs, with the PV adding a silky richness. Both Wine Dogs give Anghel an enthusiastic four paws up!
Anghel is Russian for angel and is the maiden name of Jason's wife, Natalia. The Wine Dogs were also introduced to the other little Burrus 's anghel, son Maximilian (9 months in barrel), who helped inspire the wine.
There are wine clubs, and there are wine clubs, but the Wine Dogs have found few compare to the Wine Club at Rappahannock Cellars, where Munchkin is in her fifth year of membership.
On Saturday, the Munchkin and Pomeroy joined fellow Wine Club members at the club’s Progressive Soup Party. That's the special thank you that proprietor John Delmare hosts every year for Wine Club members.
Marketing Director Allan Delmare runs the 850-member club, and Kelly Delmare, Rappahannock’s tasting room manager, was responsible for the event. “It’s a great gift to have your son and daughter come back and engage in the business,” their proud papa said, admitting “It is a lot more fun to come to work every day.”
Even the youngest of the 12 Delmare pups (nine girls and three boys) got involved as daughters Grace, Sophia, and Maura saw that check-in ran smoothly and kept tables supplied with bread.
The complimentary wine starts flowing as soon as guests arrive at the soup event (this year’s selections, the Noblesse Blanc and North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon). A four course meal follows, with soup and wine paired to perfection.
The Wine Dogs agreed that the Chardonnay was an excellent complement to the rich Champagne Brie soup (a perennial favorite), and the New World Red balanced nicely with the Spicy Black Bean and Italian Sausage soup. But the Chapelle Charlemange Cab Franc, paired with Wild Rice and Mushroom soup, stole the show, earning a full eight paws up.
Fresh baked pecan cookies and the amber-hued Solara finished the meal.
Wine Club members also get a taste of what’s happening in the vineyard and the barrel room at the soup event.
Winemaker Jason Burrus said the buzz around Virginia this year is excellent grapes courtesy of the drought, producing high-quality/high alcohol wine. He expects the stars of 2010 to be the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Viognier (2009 is definitely the year for Cab Franc, Jason says, and the winemaker says he’s bottling a Glenway Vineyard CF and “it is divine”).
Big wines weren’t the only big news at this year's event. Wine Club members Rob and Lynn had their first date at Rappahannock Cellars two-and-a-half years ago; on Saturday, Rob popped the question (and the cork); Lynn said yes; and the happy couple will probably hold their wedding at Rappahannock as well.
Membership has its privileges, as Pomeroy knows.
Rappahannock has a club room where Members can bring guests for complimentary tastings or a glass of wine (is Munchkin drunk under the table?).
The Wine Dogs love the special Members-only section of the deck, where the paw-ty never stops. You never know who is going to pop up (or pop out, as this Wine Club member did to hear Robbie Limon play).
Wine Club members get discounts on wine and first notification to all events held at Rappahannock Cellars. Munchkin and Pomeroy highly recommend the Barrel Tastings with Jason and Vineyard Manager Tom Kelly. That’s where the Wine Dogs’ began to train their sensitive canine noses and sophisticated little palates to fully appreciate the great grape.
So how can you join the club? Just buy two bottles of yummy Rappahannock Cellars wine every month at a 15 percent discount, and you're in. That's right. No membership fees, and unlike a cellphone contract, you can cancel whenever you like with no penalty.
The club is exceptionally flexible. If like Munchkin your palate runs to reds, you can go red-only - or just swap out the white when the mood strikes you (a woman's prerogative and all). Don't like sweet wines - substitute.
Rappahannock will ship your monthly selections, but why pass up an excuse to visit Virginia Wine Country and pick up your wine personally. Perhaps you'll run into your favorite Wine Dogs there.
Philip Carter Winery of Virginia
It was like homecoming when the Wine Dogs dropped by Philip Carter for an impromptu visit during the winery's fall festival. They spent an enjoyable autumn afternoon catching up with old friends and sipping fabulous wine.
Dick Zweber welcomed Munchkin and Pomeroy warmly as they hopped out of the jeep, letting them know that fellow wine dogs Cortoman (American Mastiff) and Fairfax (Shih Tzu) were waiting by the fire pits.
Owner Philip Strother treated the thristy travelers to a glass of Cab Franc and filled them in on the program, which included the moon bounce, a book signing by Counterfeit Farm Girl Susan McCorkingdale, and barrel tastings by winemaker Rob Cox.
Pomeroy was tempted until Munchkin learned that the one and only Robbie Limon was performing downstairs(she swears she didn't know). So the Wine Dogs opted for Cleve Hall and a bottle of Cleve (a lush, velvety blend of Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Sauvignon which earned Platinum at the Virginia Wine Lovers Classic in June).
As they whiled away the afternoon, they caught up Karen and Amanda and PC Event Coordinator Donna Johnson, who shared photos of weddings at the winery as well as First Lady Maureen McDonnell's visit in August. Munchkin is thinking sunset ceremony...
More than 100 wines competed in the Towne Point Wine Competition over the weekend. Pomeroy notes that juice for the Meritage winner (Pearmund's 2007 Ameritage) fermented in his dad's barrel.
The Wine Dogs congratulate the all the #VAWine winners:
ChardonnayGold - 2009 Cross Key Chardonnay
Silver - 2009 New Kent Chardonnay
Bronze - 2008 The Winery at La Grange Fletcher's Chardonnay
Gold - 2009 Cooper Viognier
Silver - 2009 Pearmund Viognier
Bronze - 2008 Chateau Morrisette Viognier
Gold - NV Prince Michel Sparkling
Silver - 2008 Delfosse Reserve D' Oriane
Bronze - 2009 Cardinal Point A6
Gold - 2009 First Colony Zephyr
Silver - 2008 James River Cellar Vidal Blanc
Bronze - 2008 Democracy Declaration
Gold - NV Cooper Noche-Noche
Silver - 2008 Cross Key Ali D'Oro
Bronze - 2009 The Winery at La Grange Snort
Gold - 2008 Davis Valley Autumn Red
Silver - 2008 Chateau Morrisette Chambourcin
Bronze - 2008 Cooper Norton
Gold - 2007 Rockbridge Syrah
Silver - 2008 Prince Michel Syrah
Bronze - 2009 Holly Grove Sunset Rose
Gold - 2009 Keswick Merlot
Silver - 2007 Lovingston Merlot
Bronze - 2007 Rockbridge Merlot
Gold - 2008 the Winery at La Grange Cabernet Franc
Silver - 2009 Keswick Cabernet Franc
Bronze - 2009 Sugarleaf Cabernet Franc
Bronze - 2009 Lovingston Cabernet Franc
Gold - 2009 Willowcroft Petit Verdot
Silver - 2008 Cross Key Petit Verdot
Bronze - 2008 Chateau Morrisette Petit Verdot
Gold - 2008 Pearmund Cabernet Sauvignon
Silver - 2008 Sugarleaf Cabernet Sauvignon
Bronze - 2007 Barboursville Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
Gold - 2007 Pearmund Ameritage
Silver - 2008 Cross Key Meritage
Bronze - 2008 Cooper Coopertage
Munchkin and Pomeroy outside Outer Barks with Barker and one of owner Kevin and Robin
Carey's pet Keeshondens (they have four).
An absolute must for every pampered pup's OBX beach vacation is the weekly Yappy Hour at the Outer Barks. It takes place each Wednesday from 4-5:30.
Munchkin and Pomeroy adored the chicken and potato casserole with a touch of cheddar that hostess Robin prepared last week.
On clear days, Yappy Hour takes place in the big yard behind Scarborough Faire, with pools for pups to splash in and hoops and agility rings to jump.
A favorite Yappy Hour activity among the four-legged crowd is the art.
This year's colors were peppy orange and pink (water soluable for easy cleaning).
Both Wine Dogs left with full tummies and full confidence that their new masterpieces are destined for the walls of the Petropolitan Museum of Art.
Aqua S Restaurant and Day Spa
The Wine Dogs arrived in Duck on Saturday, just in time to enjoy a fabulous wine tasting on the inlet at Aqua S Restuarant. Munchkin and Pomeroy were thrilled to have their tasting personally hosted by their good friend -- owner and sommelier Lynette Sumner.
Lynette guided the Wine Dogs through a tasting of four of her favs. First up was Blue Ocean, a Vinho Verde from Portugal with a subtle effervescence -- not unlike Lynette herself. In honor of Munchkin's mom's trip to France this spring, Lynette followed up with the Domaine Cordier Pere Macon Aux Bois d' Allier 2006, with a lovely nose and a rich golden color.
Outer Banks, NC
Even on vacation, Munchkin and Pomeroy continue their wining ways. En route to the Outer Banks, the Virginia Wine Dogs stopped at Morris Farm Market on Highway 158 to pick up fresh produce for the week.
The roadside market has come a long way since 1982, when Walton and Ginger Morris started selling sweet corn out of the back of their old Ford pick-up truck. But in one since, it hasn't moved at all; it can still be found under the shade of the same two old pecan trees.
Inside is an array of fruits, ciders, jams, fresh baked pies and breads, and ice cream churned by a tractor.
As he rode up the aisles in his wheelbarrow, Pomeroy made a lunch out of the samples. Munchkin (who isn't much of a fruit and veggie fan), was sulking until she discovered Morris Farms also stocks -- and tastes -- North Carolina wines.
The Wine Dogs' new best friend Sophia poured them samples of several fruit wines, including a refreshing peach. There was also a pleasant Chardonney among the offerings.
Most interesting were the muscadine and scuppernong wines, made from native grapes that thrive in the sandy soil and hot climes of the Carolinas. Indeed, these grapes were said to have nourished the settlers who landed on Roanoke Island.
Munchkin and Pomeroy were quite distressed to learn that they could be enjoying the last of the scuppernong -- a sweet white just made for the beach. It seems the power company was overly zealous in May and sprayed the 400-year-old Mother Vine with a nasty herbicide. These are thought to be the oldest vines in North America.
The Wine Dogs did a little more research and are able to report that, with much TLC, it looks like mama's coming back. See related story.
Ah, the Dog Days of Summer. Thanks to our friends at Narmada (via Wikipedia), we know that the name "Dog Days" (Latin: diēs caniculārēs) comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, was somehow responsible for the hot weather.
Munchkin and Pomeroy like to think of these hot, sultry days as "Uncle Jeff weather." For those less than fond of soaring heat and humidity, the Wine Dogs suggest escaping to Virginia wine country and chilling out with a refreshing glass of wine.
The previous weekend, Barrel Oak Winery really put on the dog, offering free tastings to anyone bringing a donations of dog food. The generosity of BOW patrons wowed Munchkin, as they delivered enough food to fill 30 wine boxes (they were only 2/3 of the way done when she posed with the stash).
Although the donations went to the Fauquier County SPCA, Munchkin didn't leave hungry. She enjoyed a generous array of treats from her friends at Chow Now.
This coming Saturday offers two more Dog Days events for pups and people alike. There's a Dog Days of Summer BBQ at DelFosse Winery starting at Noon.
From 1-4, Three Fox is hosting the Fauquier SPCA and their “Paws for Refreshment” event.
Munchkin and Pomeroy regret they are unable to attend. Virginia's favorite wine-loving doggie duo will be doing beach-time in North Carolina. It's a dog's life!