Monday, August 10, 2009

Everyone needs a 'go to' wine and I've found mine

As I continue on my quest to learn more about wine, I traveled to several vineyards this summer. These expeditions have been incredibly important to the research and development of my palate. This time enlisted a few research assistants to join the journey which took us just north of Charlottesville. After visiting Barboursville Vineyard, I nearly stopped all research and development as I enjoyed all of their wines so much, that it seemed futile to try any other wine from this point forward.

Arriving to the vineyard as ravenous females, we decided to embark on the “handsomest gastronomic redemption” (as quoted from their website…seriously) offered in the Palladio Restaurant. They start the meal with a glass of their delicious sparkling wine which is really how all meals should start in my opinion. We went for the two course menu with wine pairing. Who know freaking risotto could taste so good? Turns out it can by adding fresh mozzarella and basil paired with their Sauvignon Blanc! After indulging our tummies (not to mention our wallets) we moved to the tasting room. Now here’s a bargain?! For five bucks we got to taste fifteen, YES FIFTEEN, different wines. Starting with their whites, we diligently worked our way through to the reds. I could have very easily bought a bottle of each, but limited myself to only clear favorites such as the Cabernet Franc. Finally a perfect ‘go to’ wine for which I could purchase with complete confidence anytime for myself or others!

Although, my goal is to visit different wineries in Virginia, it is inevitable that I will need to make a return trip to Barboursville. I found a perfect spot under a glorious magnolia tree surrounded by magnificent boxwoods that just begs for a blanket and a chilled bottle of their Viognier.

A day after a night of cheap wine proves life IS too short to drink cheap wine

Who was it that said, “Life is too short to drink cheap wine”? A brief online investigation (i.e. Google) determined it was the great philosopher Anonymous who coined this phase often seen on kitschy wine items such as cocktail napkins. And I can tell you this phase rings all too true…apparently.

Upon learning of my wine blog, a friend traveling through town on his way to Nashville decided to bring along a few bottles of “inexpensive” wine purchased from his local Trader Joe’s. If you are unfamiliar with Trader Joe’s then it must mean that you are not from the Northern Virginia area nor do you have any close friends from the area. Having never set foot in the store and from just merely my NOVA friends alone, I can tell you this must be the grocery store of all grocery stores. In addition to their specialty food items, they offer wines priced as low as $1.99!

My friend made his selections based solely on the look of the label. Admittedly, I have done the same when purchasing wine. Our evening consisted of four bottles totaling $17.46. We started with Espiral Vinho Verde, a Portuguese sparkling wine. This was extremely light and very easy to drink. I’d give this wine thumbs up and consider for purchase again at just $3.99 a bottle. Next we moved to the bottle with the best label, Pancake Big Day White. This California table white features a cartoonish dancing pancake on the label. Even days later, my three year old continue to comment on the dancing pancake. This was our most expensive wine of the evening at $5.49 a bottle. Icky. This wine was a hodgepodge of various grapes and I didn’t like this one at all. My buddy enjoyed it slightly more, but confessed it was not the best wine ever. I quickly moved on to open the next bottle, Nathanson Creek Chardonnay. A welcomed departure from the dancing pancake again just $3.99 for a bottle. Considering I had to work the next day and we had been only consuming white, we did not open the $3.99 JW Morris Merlot (three buck Moe, it’s a Trader Joe’s thing, you wouldn’t understand).

After a lively discussion of the most influential album of my generation, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, I headed to bed with a couple of ibuprofens to ward off any morning headaches. Now, I’m no stranger to a nasty hangover, but this one was certainly a new type hangover experienced. Fortunately, it was not accompanied with any regurgitation. Instead, I endured a headache that remained throughout the entire next day and night until I could finally hit the pillow with only regrets for too much cheap wine and dancing pancakes in my head.