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!
There's a new trail winding its way through some of the Virginia Wine Dogs' favorite watering holes. The Artisanal Wineries of Rappahannock County is a collection of family-run wineries who have joined together to offer a premium wine tasting experience that is rooted in small lot, handcrafted wines.
When Munchkin heard the wine trail's launch was a festival at Rappahannock Cellars featuring all five wineries, she exclaimed "That's the ticket!"
It was a splendid afternoon under the big tent next to Rappahannock's barn where live music played. Volunteers from Hospice of the Rapidan (who received the proceeds from the successful two-day event) greeted Munchkin warmly as she made her entrance.
She was given her tickets, with entitled her to 15 tastings. Each of the wineries was asked to bring a Viognier and Cabernet Franc (the Virginia anchors), as well as an off-dry or sweet wine. The Cab-loving canine appreciated the opportunity to taste and compare her favorite grape (is that vertical or horizonal, or just sideways?).
Festa Rappahannock brought together a Who's Who of the Virginia wine elite.
Sudha Patil of Narmada Winery bringing a taste of India
Fellow blogger John Hagarty of Hagarty on Wine, serving up the good stuff from Rappahannock
As Munchkin retired to the patio to enjoy a delicious burger catered by the Marriott Ranch (complemented by a glass of Claret), she was able to engage Allan Delmare for a quick interview about the event and the trail.
Allan explained that the trail was conceived by the five owners, who reached a mutual conclusion that they needed a way to unite their wineries -- all family-owned, all focused on producing artesinal wines, and all located in Rappahannock County. He added that the county had been very supportive.
The Festival goes back to the the Delmare's California roots, where they used to host similar events at their winery twice a year.
While plans are still in the works, Allan did promise there would be a second annual Festa Rappahannock and that it would be "in the county." Check back with the Wine Dogs for future details for next year's winning tickets.
Sunset Hills Vineyard
Munchkin and Pomeroy first rode into Sunset Hills following orders from the Generals' Wine Trail. They discovered a beautiful setting where great hospitality complements quality wines.
Mike and Diane Canney bought the 40-acre farm because they loved the rural feel of the land. They got bit by the wine bug after a romantic trip to Napa. Recognizing Virginia's growing reputation as a wine region, they planted their first vines on a cold and rainy day 12 years ago. Today, the Canneys run the 4th largest of the 25 wineries in Loudoun County. Sunset Hills has 20 acres in vines, producing about 5,000 cases a year.
During the Wine Dogs' initial visit to Sunset Hills, Mike poured out the wine -- along with stories of the tangled trail that led him from spy satellites to NASCAR raceways to Virginia vintages.
A physicist by training, Mike compared making wine to a science experiment. You can't just follow a recipe because the main ingredients -- the grapes -- are different each year. So you experiment, seeing what works well and what does not.
Mike and winemaker Nate Walsh have done an admirable job figuring out what works well at Sunset Hills. Although the winery only opened in November 2008, Sunset Hills already has racked up a healthy collection of medals.
Among them are "Best of Category" from the 2009 Atlantic Seaboard Competition for the and Gold medals at the Virginia State Fair for both the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (a wine that grips and relaxes you) and the 2007 Reserve Cabernet Franc (a delicious example of Munchkin's favorite varietal, darkened with a touch of Petit Verdot to produce a full-bodied, complex wine). The Wine Dogs were fortunate to taste these jewels before they sold out.
Munchkin and Pomeroy watched with fascination as the first five tons of 2009 Cab Franc grapes to come off the vine were carefully hand-sorted to remove stems and ensure the highest quality. It was relatively early in the fall but, Mike explained, at Sunset Hills the harvest is based on the flavor and soundness of the fruit. With Cab Franc, Mike finds that the longer the grapes hang on the vine, the less the distinctive pepper finish.
To further intensify the flavor, Mike planned to bleed off juice and make a Rose. The Wine Dogs discovered the result this summer as server Lindsey Christensen poured the 2009 Sunset Rose, which earned two paws up from both Munchkin and Pomeroy -- and a Silver Medal at the Virignia State Fair (as did the Viognier, which Munchkin also considered worth barking about).
Sunset Hills wines are served in an impressive tasting room. Diane told the Wine Dogs how six Amish brothers came down from Pennsylvania to transform the dilapidated barn into a showroom, complete with gleaming wood bars and 2,500 square feet of decking to showcase the spectacular views. It took the craftsmen over a year to perform their magic -- they returned recently to restore the stone pavillian outside. (Amish specialties also figure prominently among the light fare offered to accompany the wine).
The Wine Dogs rode into Sunset Hills for their second visit with a violent thunderstorm at their tails. Fallen trees cut off power to the winery and blocked the roads. Diane, ever the gracious hostess, made the rounds to ensure all her guests were comfortable and content. Munchkin and Pomeroy had no complaints as they enjoyed the delicious 2008 Merlot on the deck with photographer Bob Burkhart (whose photos can be found on the Sunset Hills Red label as well as the poster for the Generals Wine and History Trail).
As a special treat, Diane took the Wine Dogs downstairs for a candlelight tour of the cellar. Pomeroy was impressed with the aptly named Chandelier Room. Stone walls, beamed ceilings, and antique furnishings offer a distinctive setting for a private tasting or dinner, such as the one Sunset Hills hosted for the Congressional Wine Caucus last year (perhaps a rehearsal dinner, Munchkin hinted).
Through the stained glass doors is the barrel room, where next year's fine wines are gently aging. With their passports stamped thanks to Mike, the Curious Canines appreciate Diane giving them the perfect excuse for a return to Sunset Hills to see how the wines turn out.
Yip yip yippee! Governor McDonnell issued the official announcement today, barking out the exciting news. The bloggers are coming to Virginia for the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference -- the first time this usually sold-out event will be on the East Coast. Munchkin and Pomeroy look forward to meeting fellow bloggers from across North America when they come to Charlottesville July 22-24. Organizers noted the full support of the Virginia Wine Board, Virginia Tourism, and the Charlottesville community in sealing the deal.
Governor Robert F. McDonnell: News: "Governor McDonnell Announces National Wine Bloggers Conference to be Held in Virginia
– Charlottesville Selected as 2011 Location for National Conference; 300 Attendees Expected --Premier National Event for Wine Bloggers-- –"
CHARLOTTESVILLE- Governor Bob McDonnell today announced that the national 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference will be held in Charlottesville. The conference is expected to bring at least 300 attendees to the area for the 3-day gathering.
Commenting about the selection, Governor McDonnell noted, "Virginia wineries are garnering lots of attention across our country and around the world. By hosting the Wine Bloggers annual conference in Charlottesville, interest will continue to grow thus attracting more visitors to Virginia and its wineries. Since taking office, we have been looking at new and innovative ways to promote Virginia wines both domestically and internationally. In addition to announcements of major national conferences choosing Virginia, our major initiatives supporting tourism and the wine industry took effect last week on July 1st. Virginia is now the nation's fifth largest wine producer and seventh largest commercial grape producing state, and we are committed to growing this important, job-creating industry in the years ahead. I look forward to welcoming the Wine Bloggers Conference to the Commonwealth next July."
George Washington's Distillery
Mt. Vernon, VA
Munchkin took a paws from wine-tasting to visit George Washington's Distrillery and Grist Mill today, as Washington's whiskey went on sale for the first time in almost 200 years!
The Father of our nation was not only "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen," it appears he was also first in the distilling. Washington was the only Founding Father to operate a commercial distillery, dating to 1797.
The Distillery burned in 1814, but knowledge of the operations were preserved in Washington's writings.
The Distillery has been reconstructed and reopened in 2007; however, a lot has changed since George Washington's time. In the 18th Century, you could bring your own jug directly to the Distillery and they'd fill it up for you. Try to get that approved by the ABC.
Thanks to a change in Virginia law that went into effect today, however, Mt. Vernon is allowed to offer tastings and sell whiskey directly to the public -- the first such tasting since Prohibition.
Munchkin was among the first in line, sampling two versions. While there was much ado about the Rye Whiskey made according to the General's own recipe, Munchkin found it a bit too ruff for her refined palate, preferring the smoother Whiskey blend available at Mt. Vernon in commemorative sets.
What a wonderful way for a patriotic pup to kick off America's 234th Birthday Celebration weekend! Munchkin left full of patriotic spirit as she rushed home to tell Pomeroy about her audience with President Washington.
Munchkin also recently met with Thomas Jefferson at Philip Carter Winery's 2nd anniversary celebration.
And both Wine Dogs enjoyed a pleasant morning exchange with George Mason during the Cherry Blossom festival.
King Family Vineyards
Virginia Wine Dogs - NBC29
Munchkin and Pomeroy visited the King Family Vineyards and it was easy to see why David and Ellen King's boutique winery won the coveted Governor's Cup. While there, the Wine Dogs ran into the Pup-arazzi, and were featured on the evening news.
King Family Vineyards
While visiting the King Family Vineyards, Munchkin and Pomeroy had a private meeting with Virginia's Secretary of Agriculture, Todd Haymore (pictured above with the Wine Dogs).
Secretary Haymore told them how much he appreciated the Wine Dogs' role as spokespuppies for the industry, and filled them in on the many, many things he and Governor McDonnell are doing to help promote Virginia's wines and wineries (see Secretary's memo below).
Munchkin and Pomeroy are barking for joy at the prospect of the Wine Bloggers Conference coming to Virginia next year (they already have the Wineries Unlimited trade show on their calendar for March 30-31). The Wine Dogs look forward to catching up with Secretary Haymore, Governor McDonnell, and First Lady Maureen McDonnell and her FLITE Tour on the wine trail ahead.
Secretary of Agriculture & Forestry
Todd P. HaymoreThis ...has already been an incredible year for the Virginia wine industry, both in terms of business and state support. As promised in his campaign and in visits to wineries and farms across the Commonwealth, the Governor has made the promotion of Virginia wine a signature piece of his Jobs & Opportunities agenda. It has also been my pleasure to support this industry from my first days as VDACS Commissioner and, now, as Secretary.
With kind regards,