VA Wine Chat – Mark your Calendars!

Virginia Wine Chat — A monthly virtual gathering to discuss the wines, winemakers, wineries and regions of Virginia. (For reference — original article announcing Virginia Wine Chat.)

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Our current Virginia Wine Chat schedule:

  • NEXT ——> 7:30pm ——> April 24, 2014 — Barboursville Vineyards.  One of Virginia’s most accomplished and popular winemaker’s, Luca Paschina will be our guest for the April 2014 edition of Virginia Wine Chat!  Please join us as we learn about Luca’s background, why he came to Virginia’s fledgling wine industry from Italy nearly 25 years ago, and talk about the history of the winery and land at Barboursville.  We’ll also taste three delicious Barboursville wines: 2013 Viognier Reserve, 2011 Nebbiolo Reserve, and the 2010Octagon!    Follow the #VAWineChat hashtag to join the discussion via Twitter and/or see our live interview on the Virginia Wine Chat UStream Channel(http://www.ustream.tv/channel/virginia-wine-chat).  Wine fans can taste along with us too.  Barboursville has made available a specially discounted ‘Virginia Wine Chat 3-Pack‘ available that includes each of the wines Luca and I will taste during the broadcast.   Please call the Barboursville Winery tasting room directly (540-832-3824) to order the 3-pack to join in the tasting.
  • May 22, 2014 — Rosemont Vineyards.  Discovering one of southern Virginia’s gems.  Winemaker Justin Rose will be our guest for the May 2014 edition of Virginia Wine Chat.
  • Upcoming chats include winemakers Jake Busching at Grace Estate Winery, Nate Walsh atSunset Hills Vineyard …

Please log in to Twitter and join us!

Veritas Vineyard

Since the Trump Winery table was right next to Veritas Vineyards at the Monticello Wine Trail Festival and the owner came over to congratulate our win, I decided it was the logical next stop on my wine travels.

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When you drive up to Veritas Vineyards, you are greeted by modern art and acres of vine. I absolutely loved the large wrap-around deck, and I’d actually rather sit there than in the tasting room. It reminds me of being at my friend’s beach house in Corolla, which is absolutely my favorite place on the planet.

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LWW’s Wine Immersion Boot Camp

Wine Immersion Boot Camp is held every Saturday and Sunday morning and afternoon at Little Washington Winery. My mom, my roommate, and I attended the boot camp on a frigid and snowy March Sunday morning. This was my second trip out to LWW, so I knew what to expect at the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains. In case you’re worried, Wine Boot Camp only consists of 3oz arm curls, rather than drinking then running.

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The sign that meets you at the door is a rather intense gentleman holding a sign that says spit. Fortunately, there was no spitting required, because the wines were all good. Although we drank a manageable amount for how long we were there, the order of the class made for an experience that was wine heavy at the very end. This was good in the sense that after the class you had new knowledge about wine and could put it to use.  The problem of a end-heavy experience is it could leave you feeling a bit tipsy.

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Prince Michel Vineyard

With new wineries opening in Virginia practically every day, our 2014 VA wine maps are almost obsolete. Wineries that have been around protect a piece of VA history.  Prince Michel Vineyard (pronounced like Michelle) celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2012.

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It is easy to visit Prince Michel because it is located right on the beaten path along Rt. 29 between Madison and Culpeper. You can’t miss it because it has giant wind chime wine glasses out front. Unfortunately, since Prince Michel is located so close to a main road, sitting outside is only pleasurable if you like listening to cars drive by.

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Early Mountain Vineyards

Early Mountain Vineyards is one of the hidden gems in the Virginia wine industry. Early Mountain is owned by Steve Case, the former CEO of AOL.  It is a major shock that Early Mountain isn’t a main attraction with their collection of great wines, rustic ambiance, adorable gift mart, and stellar food.  This winery cuts no corners in giving you an amazing experience. IMG_2106.jpg

 

I felt like I stepped onto the set of “Reign” or “Game of Thrones” (which are two of my favorite TV shows). The sconces, stonework, and fireplaces gave a regal vibe as soon as you crossed the threshold. The tasting room was massive and had space on chairs and couches for well over one hundred people.

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Wine Apps (for Apple Products)

When your lock screen looks like this... it might be time to download some wine apps.

When your lock screen looks like this… it might be time to take advantage of some wine apps.

General Wine Apps

The best and hardest part of wine is the mix of finding things you like and of trying new things. Since starting this blog and beginning to try a lot more wine, I have faced the confusing task of remembering every wine I have tasted. Luckily for me, other people have crossed this bridge and now there is an app for that!

CorkBin – (Price – Free)

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The day you download the app is the day it says you “uncorked” it. If you’ve saved pictures of bottles and then add them to the app all at once, you run the risk of looking like quite a heavy drinker. There’s also a limit of 120 characters for the notes you want to make, which is only bad if you have more to say about it than “yummy” or “ew.”  You have two options –”Recommend” or “Don’t recommend” – which I like to use to distinguish whether or not I would drink it again.

However, the simplicity of this app makes it super user-friendly; there are no pop-up ads, and you can follow your friends to see what people around you are drinking. I also love that it aids you in pairings in both directions – suggesting a meal for a specific wine or suggesting a wine for a specific meal.

Probably one of my favorite parts of this app is the wine terminology dictionary, in case you are unfamiliar with such terms as “austere” or “monocepage.”

 

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Cobbler Mountain Cellars

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In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to blog about a winery I recently visited that has some Irish heritage. Cobbler Mountain Cellars is growing and evolving in strides just like other VA wineries.  Instead of waiting until it was financially feasible to open a separate tasting room, the family decided to host tastings in their basement for the first two years. However, there is no sign of this when you visit their website.  Instead, the photos are all of the vine, so when I arrived, I was extremely disappointed.photo (2)

Luckily for all visitors from now on, Cobbler Mountain has opened a brand new tasting facility that is separate from the owner’s house. Wine club members have a private tasting room .  I was surprised to see how much they cater to their wine club members.  Since their wine is somewhat pricey,  receiving a wine club member discount is probably worthwhile.

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Green VA Wineries

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Agriculture and tourism are two of Virginia’s largest industries. Wineries are a very important part of both of these industries. With over 250 wineries and multiple wine trails, Virginia has established itself as a wine lover’s destination vacation. Luckily for the planet, wineries haven’t been entirely excluded from the green movement.

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VA wineries can be certified as Virginia Green Wineries by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality when they prove that they are practicing at least three of the following  “core activities”:

  • Recycling and reduction of waste: Must place highly visible and well-marked recycling containers in all visitor areas

  • Minimization of the use of disposable foodservice products: Must use products that are made from bio-based or renewable resources and provide for recycling or composting of items

  • Minimization of the use of pesticides / herbicides / fungicides and fertilizers: Must have a plan to minimize the use of chemical treatments associated with grape production

  • Efficient water use: Must have a plan for water conservation

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Vintage Ridge Vineyard & Winery

 

*I’m sad to report that Vintage Ridge has recently closed its doors to tastings as of April 1st*

A snapshot of the Tasting Room/Wine Making Facility

A snapshot of the Tasting Room/Wine Making Facility

Vintage Ridge Vineyard and Winery is a small winery with big style. Vicki and Bill Edmands are hands-on owners who have really made their facility vibrant and welcoming. Vicki has brought the whole building and the bottles’ labels to life with her artwork.  The tasting room doubles as the wine making facility. This is possible because Vintage Ridge only makes 1,500 cases a year. (For comparison, Barren Ridge makes about 4,000 cases which is still considered small.)

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While you taste, you are surrounded by steel fermentation tanks and Vicki’s jester paintings. The windows of the tasting room let in sunlight, adding to the bright atmosphere.  They serve refrigerated water in recycled wine bottles so you can cleanse your pallet and remain hydrated. The patio is picturesque with plenty of seating at tables and around a fire pit.

Tastings are served two wines side by side.

Tastings are served two wines side by side.

The tasting at Vintage Ridge is a pretty hands off and done with two wines side by side while you’re seated at a table. The staff seats you, pours you two of their wines at a time and leaves you to taste and compare for a total of seven wines.  I love that they kick their tasting off with a wine named Maiden Voyage.  On the first weekend of each month, they offer a premiere tasting which includes a food pairing for each wine, which we tried to replicate by ordering the tasting platter. My favorite of their wines was the Syrah that we paired with some sheep’s milk cheese.

Rainforest Cracker with Goat Cheese and Pepper Jam to Pair with the Cab Franc. Honey Roasted and Salted Almonds to Pair with the Petit Verdot.

Rainforest Cracker with Goat Cheese and Pepper Jelly to Pair with the Cab Franc. Honey Roasted and Salted Almonds to Pair with the Petit Verdot.

The descriptions of their wines on their website are hilarious. For example, their Syrah is captioned, “Gorgeous color with smooth lingering spices that make you think of the Summer on the beach in Spain; Mountains of Paella and lamb and the new Latin boyfriend.” Speaking of their website, make sure you double check their hours before you visit, because they are only open select days.

Vintage Ridge Vineyard and Winery is actually for sale, because the current owners are planning to retire to Georgia. I hope the current character remains intact, because I loved my experience there.  Please be careful on your way to Vintage Ridge; their driveway is steep terrain. Until you visit some off-the-beaten-path wineries, you don’t realize that wine tasting could become an off-roading event!