Monday, July 26, 2010

To Spit or Not to Spit

After an intense four weeks of orienting new freshmen and transfer students, I knew it was would be time for another great winery excursion. I was again joined by two motivated research assistants; my sister and her best friend. We drove to the western side of Charlottesville to visit King Family Vineyards, Pollak Vineyards, and Veritas Vineyard & Winery. We packed a delicious picnic filled with fresh summer vegetables, accompanied by a box of fried chicken purchased from Wayside Takeout. I learned about this legendary dive from Garden and Gun magazine. Since we vicariously view ourselves as writers for a great southern magazine, we knew it was a must. They are conveniently located and didn’t disappoint us with their fried goodness.

After a brief unintended tour of downtown Charlottesville and a quick jaunt on I-64, we arrived to the beautiful grounds and charming tasting room of King Family Vineyards. Their wine selection offers something for everybody! I thought I was wowed last summer by Barboursville, but I must say King Family Vineyards impressed me as much if not perhaps more. I really enjoyed all of their wine including their dessert wine, Loreley 2008. We all agreed the Cabernet Franc 2009 was a favorite among the reds. For our picnic, we picked a perfect pairing with their Brut 2007 (not part of the tasting) and Crose 2009, their rosé with a cute play on words using Crozet, VA. A very close runner up was Roseland, a Chardonnay/Viognier Blend. I had a limited budget for this trip, so I did not buy as much as I would have liked, but I knew I had to have the Cabernet Franc and made great mental notes for future purchases. It was hard to leave without more wine in hand. Fortunately, my research assistants helped contribute to the local economy with their purchases.

Just down the way, you’ll find Pollak Vineyards. We really had a lot of fun at Pollak Vineyard. In this very cool tasting room, our pourer made us feel really comfortable and at ease. We took the opportunity to ask questions about how to better taste our wine. We held the wine in our mouths and attempted to slurp without looking ridiculous. We still need more practice. I really enjoyed their 2008 Petit Verdot and purchased a bottle of their 2009 Pinot Gris.

Our final destination was Veritas Vineyard and Winery. Another beautiful location! By the time we arrived, I was feeling the heat from our humid summer day and feeling the wine. I remember very little and embarrassed to say that I had to bow out of the tasting at some point. I guess this why professionals opt to spit. I’ve never understood spitting until now. I know I would lack grace in this area, but then again I’m not sure I appeared so graceful when I bowed out of the tasting either. You can choose your tasting by white wine flight, red wine flight or showcase tasting. I bet they have some really nice wine. I noticed this weekend that our local wine shop carries several of their varieties. I'm excited that I can try some of their wine...again.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Interesting Things Happening in Wine

Now that I have made wine a hobby and passion of mine, I often run across interesting articles or my pal Count Dakkar sends me links to new gadgets in wine. Most notably has been the recent location announcement of the 2011 American Wine Bloggers Conference. Who knew the wine bloggers had their own conference?!? Next July, Charlottesville will play host to hundreds of wine bloggers, industry types and hacks like me for an event that is sure to include a major wine hangover. The conference cost is fairly reasonable, so perhaps I will attend and start taking my little blog to the next level. The agenda and program content might have you signing up to attend as well.

This summer Virginia Wine has hit mainstream media. The word is getting out folks, so if you live in Virginia, but haven’t taken much interest in the great wines offered, you need to do so!
Wine Spectator Article of Virginia Viogniers:

Virginia Wine makes the Today show!
Jefferson Vineyards

Kluge Cru and Sparkling Wine
(Warning: This one is a little more painful as you have to sit through Kathy Lee and Hoda gabbing.)

Totally random and in French...
How to open a wine bottle with a shoe video clip.

There is so much to say about this article! I didn’t realize buying alcohol was so difficult in Pennsylvania. And I thought Virginia took their liquor laws seriously!