Heading further North and West in Virginia Wine country, only a few miles from the West Virginia border we started our second day of our wine tasting weekend.
We arrived at Breaux Vineyards about 10 minutes to early to find the gate closed, while we waited patiently, we were surround by over 100 acres of vines on their 400 acre estate with the mountains in the background it was a beautiful site. The tasting room was a bustle of activity, as they were preparing for a club member party, but there weren’t too many people at the tasting bar. We actually saddled up next to another couple from Richmond and began our tasting. We got the full spiel since we were both Breaux newbies which was nice and dove right into the tasting. I was a bit put off by the fact that the tasting room associate made the point of telling us that the first thing we should know is that Breaux is the #1 winery in Virginia. Shocked by such a bold statement, we asked what she meant by this, she couldn’t really definite it, number 1 in sales, production, acreage?? “No, just #1 in everything” It’s great to be positive about the company you work for and I know they have won lots of awards and have been written about favorably but so have many other VA wineries. For example, Horton wines were poured for the Queen of England, Barboursville wine was served to President Obama and my families winery Woodland Vineyard won Gold at the State Fair. Okay enough of my nitpicking and on to the wines…
Breaux Wine Highlights –
2007 Sauvignon Blanc – very crisp with great pear, apple, and asparagus on the nose followed by grassy notes on the plate surrounded by mineral overtones
2007 Viognier – honeysuckle, peach, apricot and a nice “spicy” acidity, not as viscous as most but very nice
2002 Nebbiolo – spicy and rustic, plum, leather, red currant and roasted bell pepper
The wines at Breaux were good but their prices were a bit high. I love the Nebbiolo but at $48 retail it was a bit much. Their 2002 Merlot Reserve was also quite nice, but the remaining reds were a little heavy on the Brett for my taste, and I like a good dose of barnyard!
Next on our tour was another new winery for us, as well as fairly new winery to the Virginia Wine industry, Notaviva Vineyards. I had followed the building of Notaviva through their blog so I knew a little bit about how they got their start. The proprietors (also winemaker and vineyard manager) have their roots in the music industry and have built a winery that is a state of the art music “venue”. Don’t let me steer you wrong into believing that they have a huge facility but it was built with a first class audio system and acoustics. The music connection extends to their wines as well, on the back of each wine they “pair” their wine to a music genre, a pretty cool concept and the topic of the next Wine Blogging Wednesday. Notaviva is still new and are only pouring a few of their own wines which are mostly from sourced grapes, but in addition they pour some other local wines that don’t yet have tasting rooms.
Notaviva Wine Highlights –
2008 Vincero (100% Viognier) – big round mouthfeel, apple, apricot and honey with a finish of honeydew melon
I enjoyed some of the other wines that Notaviva poured but they weren’t from their winery so I won’t talk about them here.
Traveling on to yet another new winery for us as well as another fairly recent VA Wine addition, we arrived at Sunset Hills Vineyard. Beautiful, rustic Amish restored barn surrounded by vineyards and adjacent to a horse farm. Our tasting associate Guy wins the award for “most enthusiastic” and was a delight to talk with and new his stuff, and if didn’t he knew where to look. I was impressed by that last point, the tasting room was equipped with a nice binder that had detailed specs on the wines for easy access. (Barrel Oak does something similar) I feel this is an invaluable tool, no matter how much you train your staff, you can’t remember everything.
Sunset Hills Wine Highlights –
2007 Unoaked Chardonnay – interesting nose of canned corn and Granny Smith apple followed up with similar apple flavors and Asian pear and great acidity
2007 Cabernet Franc – spicey black currrant, cherry and boysenberry with leathery young tannins
We decided to make use of the Sunset Hills patio and listen to their band they had for the Memorial Day Holiday and enjoy some Viognier and Cabernet Franc with our cheeses we brought. Check out the video below.
Last up for the day we headed to Corcoran Vineyards to visit Lori and Jim, who we had met once previously but interact frequently with via the internet and social media. What started in her basement has turned in a great full time wine biz, that now resides in a small renovated 1750′s log cabin within site of their house. Lori was excited to see us and was a gracious hostess as usual, so after we tasted we took a glass of wine outside to enjoy by the pond and met up with her husband Jim. Our conversation revolved mostly about social media and blogging, it’s impact on the industry and what we thought of the Virginia wine industry in general. Jim was kind enough to offer us a taste of the Benevino Vineyards wines from James Benefiel, which they also sell but don’t have on the regular tasting menu. Corcoran also sources some their fruit from James’ vineyards. We had a great time, but had to run off to our dinner reservation at Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg. Thanks to Lori and Jim for a great end to the day!
Corcoran Wine Highlights –
2007 Chardonnay – tight nose of Asian pear, with apple, poached pear and nice minerality on the palate
2007 Cabernet Franc – red currant, cherry and black pepper on the nose with seasoned meat, sauteed green pepper and blackberry on the palate, hint of menthol at the start of the finish with dusty tannins
2007 Benevino Cabernet Franc – chocolate, boysenberry, and black currant, big leathery tannins and hints of dried herbs
Stay tuned for day 3 of our trip tomorrow….