|Jeff White of Glen Manor Vineyards Receives Governor's Cup (read about the Wine Dogs' visit to Glen Manor)|
No need to let the cold weather put a chill on plans to explore Virginia wine country -- just named one of the top 10 travel destinations for 2012 by Wine Enthusiast magazine! Munchkin and Pomeroy share their winter wining tips.
Snuggle up in front of a warm fireplace. So what if you don't have a warm fur coat like Pomeroy's. Grab a bottle of red and curl up in front of a crackling fire. The Wine Dogs especially enjoy the blaze at Philip Carter's Cleave Hall (above) and love the homey atmosphere at Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn. A truly impressive fireplace can be found at Barrel Oak Winery , as well as generous arrangement of firepits outside (throw on your own logs) -- Munchkin and Pomeroy enjoyed both, along with a bottle of 2009 CabFranc, last weekend.
Enjoy winter comfort foods with your Virginia vino. Several wineries have winter specials. The grandfather of them all is Naked Mountain's "Lasagna Lunch." The wonderful pasta sensation (sausage or vegetarian), layered with cheese and topped with a savory sauce, is prepared by Chef Eric and offered from January thru March. Pomeroy could hardly resist long enough to pose for the picture. The Wine Dogs give two paws up to new owners Randy and Megan Morgan for continuing this tradition. Pair with Naked's 2007 Cabernet Franc or 2006 Merlot.
Also on the winter menu are Souper Sundays at Pearmund Cellars and Chili and Wine Time at Philip Carter. If you're a true Chili Dog, you won't want to miss the Chili Cook-Off Wine Trail Weekend, January 28-29, where you can sample chili at each of the four wineries along the Heart of Virginia Wine Trail (Cooper, Grayhaven, James River Cellars and Lake Anna)and vote for your fav.
That's Entertainment! Live entertainment continues at Virginia wineries throughout the winter. Take in some of the more unique offerings next weekend with Three Fox's Cabernet Caberet (sing along with winemaker/pianist "Giovanni" and special guests on the winterized patio, 1/22) and the Laugh Sip and Smile... Saturday Night Live comedy night (1/21) at Bogati's Bodega. Many other wineries feature local musicians, such as Friday Evening in Paradise (Springs) as well as the winery's Live Music Saturdays. And of course, Munchkin's favorite wine trubador Robbie Limon is making the circuit at North Mountain (1/28, 2/12), Veramar (2/11), and Narmada (2/25).
Virginia wineries are open - what are you waiting for?
The Virginia Wine Dogs were first to tweet the barking news on Monday.
Barboursville Vineyards has signed an agreement with Tianjin Tewoo Group to export their wines to China. The deal is a result of Governor McDonnell's trade and marketing mission to Asia in May and is believed to be the first commercial transaction between a Virginia winery and a Chinese importer. Barboursville and other Virginia wines have also hit the London market.
Munchkin and Pomeroy were not surprised. The Wine Dogs traveled to Barbours-ville in 2009 and sampled the award-winning wines. The winery is located in Orange County, Virginia, on the farmland of James Barbour, the 18th governor of Virginia, and includes the ruins of the manor house designed by Thomas Jefferson. Barboursville is one of the oldest wineries in Virginia, founded in 1976.
At the North American Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, viticulturalist Gabriele Russe talked about defying expectations to found a thriving vineyard in Virginia. And the bloggers who toured Barboursville were all a-twitter about Octagon. Created only in exceptional vintage years, Barboursville's premier Bordeaux blend is proof that Virginia can make world-class wines with the structure and balance to age gracefully.
This work of art is lovingly crafted by Barboursville's winemaker and general manager, Luca Paschina, currently celebrating his 20th anniversary at Barboursville. Munchkin caught up with him at Monticello, where she was treated to a sample of the 2002 Octagon.
Mr. Jefferson would be proud!
#VAWines claimed 14 of the 37 golds awarded at the Atlantic Seaboard Competition, and best-of-breed (Category) honors for:
2010 Gulabi by Narmada Winery, VA
Bordeaux-Style Red Blends
2007 Octagon by Barboursville Vineyards, VA
Other Red Vinifera Varietals
2008 Sangiovese by Ingleside Plantation Vineyards, VA
Other White Vinifera Varietals
2008 Petit Manseng by Horton Cellars Winery, VA
2009 Petit Verdot Reserve by Barboursville Vineyards, VA
2010 Seyval Blanc by Barrel Oak Winery, VA
Sparkling Vinifera Wines
NV Scintilla by Veritas Winery, VA
2010 Cold Harbor White by James River Cellars, VA
2009 Viognier by Lazy Days Winery, VA
White Vinifera Blends
2009 Reserve d'Oriane by DelFosse Winery, VA
Other Virginia Gold Medalists were:
2009 Cabernet Franc Reserve by Afton Mountain Vineyards, VA
2009 Cabernet Franc by Fabbioli Cellars, VA
2008 Cabernet Franc by Flying Fox Vineyard, VA
2009 Reserve Chardonnay by Gray Ghost Vineyards, VA
2006 Petit Verdot by Ingleside Plantation Vineyards, VA
2009 Petit Verdot by Keswick Vineyards, VA
2008 Johann by Notaviva Vineyards LLC, VA
2010 Viognier Reserve by Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery, VA
2007 Meritage by Rockbridge Vineyard, VA
The Atlantic Seaboard Competition was held July 23-24. 564 wines from 11 states competed.
Congrats to the Gold Medal winner (41 strong) at the State Fair of Virginia wine competition.
The competition drew 193 wines from 43 wineries. The gold-ribbon winners:
Afton Mountain Vineyards: Festa Di Bacco 2009, Gewurztramier 2009;
Annefield Vineyards: Cabernet Franc 2009, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009;
Barboursville Vineyards: Octagon 2007, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Sangiovese Reserve 2009;
Barren Ridge Vineyards: Meritage 2008;
Casanel Vineyards: Batucada Cabernet Sauvignon 2008;
Delfosse Vineyards & Winery: Cabernet Sauvignon 2008;
Democracy Vineyards: Velvet Revolution 2009, Forum 2009;
Flying Fox Vineyard: Viognier 2010;
Gray Ghost Vineyards: Reserve Chardonnay 2009, Vidal Blanc 2010; Ingleside Vineyards: Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Merlot 2006, Petit Verdot 2006, Sangiovese 2008;
Keswick Vineyards: Petit Verdot 2009;
Lake Anna Winery: Enigme NV, Totally Red NV, Morgan Merlot 2008; Pearmund Cellars: Cabernet Franc Pan D'OR Vineyard 2009;
Rockbridge Vineyard: Meritage 2007, Chardonnay Reserve 2009, Dechel Riesling 2008, Merlot Reserve 2007;
Sugarleaf Vineyards: Vidal Blanc 2009;
Sunset Hills Vineyard: Viognier 2010;
The Hague Winery: Meritage 2009;
The Winery at La Grange: Meritage 2008, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009; Veritas Vineyard & Winery: Cabernet Franc 2010, rosé 2010; Foggy Ridge Cider: First Fruit Cider 2010, Serious Cider 2010, Sweet Stayman Cider 2010; Reynard Florence Vineyard: Petit Manseng 2009;
Sunset Hills Vineyard: Nettare di Tramonto 2008;
Veritas Vineyard & Winery: Petit Manseng 2009.
We're not talking puppy love, here. March 18-27 is Wine Week in Virginia. What a great time to fall in love with the fabulous wines being produced in the Old Dominion.
Over 300 restaurants and wine shops across the Commonwealth will be featuring elegant Virginia wines and special food pairings that will have you begging for more. You'll find a full list at the
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...