Tasty Treats from the Virginia Wine Festival

Before we get to the Virginia Wine Festival, here is a question for the readers. I have read a lot lately about age-worthy white wines, in particular Semillon from the Hunter Valley in Australia. I want to try a good example of one of these wines, but I have had a little trouble finding one. Can anyone recommend a good Hunter Valley Semillon and tell me where I might be able to find it in the Washington, D.C. area?

Now, on to the Festival. I only had a few hours at the Virginia Wine Festival this year, so I was not able to visit every winery’s booth and take extensive notes. In fact, at the risk of looking like a complete nerd, I used a tape recorder to chronicle my thoughts. Since I could not visit every winery, I skipped the ones I knew well, such as Hillsborough Vineyards and some other Northern Virginia wineries (you can read more on some of these in a recent Wine With Dinner entry), in favor of places that I have less experience with. Below is a list, in alphabetical order by winery, of some of the best wines of the Festival. Included in the list are a couple of wines that Mrs. Wine with Dinner and I tasted on a weekend trip to Charlottesville in celebration of our first anniversary.

Afton Mountain Vineyards 2006 Gewurztraminer: wonderful spicy aroma that almost makes the palate disappointing by comparison, 3 Stars1/2, $19.00 per bottle.

AmRhein Wine Cellar Aglianico: a Greek varietal, dark fruit and plum notes, possibly a hint of tobacco, good acidity, medium bodied, with a clean finish, 3 Stars3/4, $14.95 per bottle. (AmRhein’s website does not contain the vintages of its current releases.)

AmRhein Wine Cellar Chambourcin: medium bodied, pine cone and red fruit on the nose with plum and red fruit on the palate, moderate tannins, 3 Stars1/2, $14.95 per bottle. (AmRhein’s website does not contain the vintages of its current releases.)

AmRhein Wine Cellar 2005 Melange: Bordeaux style red, red fruit, chocolate, and earthy notes, 4 Stars1/4, $19.95 per bottle.

AmRhein Wine Cellar Petite Verdot: red fruit, spice, and oak notes, a bit tannic — could sit in the bottle for a while, good acidity, 4 Stars, $19.95 per bottle. (AmRhein’s website does not contain the vintages of its current releases.)

AmRhein Wine Cellars Traminette: floral aromas with pineapple and grapefruit notes, crisp with good acidity, 4 Stars, $14.95 per bottle. (AmRhein’s website does not contain the vintages of its current releases, but this was likely the 2006, possibly the 2005.) NOTE: While AmRhein obviously had some very good wines, their Traminette was the only one of their whites that I really enjoyed. In particular, I found their sauvignon blanc and viognier to be a little disappointing.

AmRhein Wine Cellars Veranda: mellow, smooth blend of cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and petite verdot, the grapes used to make this wine were three weeks older than those used in the Melange, 4 Stars1/2, $34.95 per bottle. (AmRhein’s website does not contain the vintages of its current releases.)

Belle Mount Vineyards Cabernet Franc: barnyard aroma, palate of red fruit and pepper, though neither was really distinctive, 3 Stars1/2, $22.00 per bottle. (Belle Mount’s website does not contain the vintages of its current releases.)

Cooper Vineyards Noche: outstanding, smooth chocolate and raspberry, made from frozen Norton grapes, 5 Stars, $15.00 per bottle.

Corcoran (Waterford) Vineyards 2005 Meritage: good Bordeaux-style blend, 3 Stars3/4.

Corcoran (Waterford) Vineyards 2006 Viognier: crisp and clean, very nice, 4 Stars1/4.

Delfosse Vineyards and Winery 2005 Deer Rock Farm: 1% residual sugar red blend, approachable sipping red that is not too sweet, 3 Stars1/4, $14.00 per bottle.

Delfosse Vineyards and Winery 2006 Deer Rock White: 2% residual sugar blend of chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, unique sipping wine, 3 Stars1/4, $14.00 per bottle.

Delfosse Vineyards and Winery 2005 Grand Cru Olivier: medium bodied red blend, 3 Stars1/4, $21.00 per bottle. NOTE: Delfosse was not tasting its best wines at the Festival. For example, I was disappointed that, at least on Sunday afternoon, they did not have either of their viogniers available for tasting.

Doukenie (Windham) Winery 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon: raspberry, cherry, and chocolate notes, might benefit from a year or two in bottle, 4 Stars, $23.00 per bottle.

Doukenie (Windham) Winery 2006 Sauvignon Blanc: citrus and passion fruit notes, 3 Stars1/4, $18.00 per bottle.

Gabriele Rausse Winery Nebbiolo: light, dry, red fruit, very drinkable, 4 Stars.

King Family Vineyards 2006 Cabernet Franc: aroma of strawberry ice cream with cherry and black pepper on the palate, subtle and nice, 3 Stars3/4, $21.95 per bottle.

North Mountain Vineyards Claret: full-bodied reds blended with late harvest vidal to create a light to medium bodied off-dry red, 3 Stars1/4. (North Mountain’s website does not contain the vintages of its current releases.)

North Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Franc Reserve: this cabernet franc has subtle peppery undertones, 3 Stars1/2, $22.00 per bottle. (North Mountain’s website does not contain the vintages of its current releases, and it does not list the cabernet franc that I tasted at all.)

Rockbridge Vineyards 2005 DeChiel Reserve Pinot Noir: ruby color, strawberry, cherry, vanilla, and bread notes, soft tannins and high acidity, develops hints of chocolate if decanted for a while, 4 Stars1/4, $17.00 per bottle.

Rockbridge Vineyards 2006 DeChiel Reserve Riesling: nice, enjoyable wine, 3 Stars3/4, $14.00 per bottle.

Rockbridge Vineyards 2006 V d’Or: always one of the best dessert wines in Virginia, 5 Stars, $20.00 per bottle.

Sunset Hills Vineyard 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon: licorice and red fruit notes, this will will benefit from some time in the bottle and should be decanted if drunk now, 4 Stars, $24.00 per bottle.

Stone Mountain Vineyards 2006 Chardonnay: good acidity, crisp, apple and pineapple notes, though the fruit could have been a bit more pronounced, 4 Stars.

Tarara Winery 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve: cherry, plum, and cigar/spice notes, 4 Stars1/4, $27.99 per bottle.

Tarara Winery 2005 Pinot Noir: red fruit and a hint of lavender, 3 Stars, $34.99 per bottle.

Villa Appalaccia Winery 2005 Primitivo: fruit forward, red fruit, red currant, 3 Stars1/4, $16.95 per bottle.

West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery Cabernet Sauvignon: smooth with dark fruit notes, a lot of potential, 3 Stars. (West Wind Farm’s website does not contain the vintages of its current releases, but this looks like it was a 2004 or 2005.)

Surprise Taste of the Day: Tomahawk Mill Vineyard and Winery Cabernet Sauvignon. Tomahawk Mill had a very tasty Sweet Concord dessert wine, but the wine that sticks out in my head was the cabernet sauvignon. The wine had dominant aromas of banana and ginger bread, definitely not what I expected when I took my first sniff.

Overall, the Festival was very enjoyable and the wines were of good quality. If only there were a week to taste and evaluate each and every wine.

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Published in: on September 27, 2007 at 3:24 pm  Comments (4)  
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Published in: on September 26, 2007 at 10:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Recent Tastings

Sterling Vintner’s Collection 2006 Chardonnay, Central Coast, California, 2 Stars3/4, $13.99 per bottle.

Azienda Agricola La Giaretta 2003 I Quadretti Valpolicella Classico (Covina, Rondinella), Valpolicella, Italy, 4 Stars1/4, appx. $20 per bottle.

Emile Chandesais 2004 Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France, 2 Stars, $19.00 per bottle

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Published in: on September 8, 2007 at 4:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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