Posts Tagged With: Pollak Vineyards

On the Monticello Wine Trail with Pollak Vineyards

A week or so ago I wrote about my visit to Blenheim Vineyards with Frank and Dezel. On the same trip we visited one of my Virginia favorites, Pollak Vineyards, and met up with friend and winemaker/GM Jake Busching. On this visit, we also had the opportunity to taste and visit with Dave Pollak, the owner of the winery. I have written about Pollak several times in the past and on the tasting menu there weren’t too many new wines since our visit back in May. We did get to sit down and taste some new releases though and a couple that I had not tasted before.

The wines…

pollakcfreserve2008 Viognier – floral with pear and apple on the nose; honeysuckle and tropical notes on the palate. Full viscous body with a dry and clean finish.

2006 Meritage – beautiful nutmeg, black currant, leather and mint on the nose; raspberry, red currant and spices on the palate with smooth fine tannins.

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon – lavender, blackberry, mint and red currant with touches of floral notes. Full bodied and young with leathery tannins.

2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve – (17 mos in French Oak, 60% new; picked at 25º Brix) – ripe raspberry and red currant, wet earth and vanilla on the nose; mocha, coffee, spice, cooked greens, red currant and cherry on the palate. Very smooth full body with a lush mid-palate.

The other cool part about visit, besides the special tasting with Jake and Dave, was that we got to taste a bunch of samples from the 2009 vintage.

Everything came in early and with better numbers than I have EVER seen on EVERYTHING. Incredible year for Pollak. We were done picking on Sept 30th and that included a Cab Franc at 26.5 brix and a late Viognier at about 31 brix. From the vineyard! Sept 30th! Needless to say I haven’t slept in 2 months…Jake Busching on the ’09 vintage


Jake unveiling fermenting Petite Verdot

The samples…

09 Viognier – already showing apricot and peach

08 Merlot (barrel) – smooth with red fruit and mint

08 Cabernet Sauvignon (barrel) – smoke, raspberry, “candy?”

09 Cabernet Franc (barrel) – lots of red fruit with a little blueberry

09 Petite Verdot (still fermenting after 2 weeks of maceration) – very dark, dark fruit – HUGE teeth coating tannins

09 White Port – flavor and texture of a slightly over ripe pear – very nice

Thanks to Jake and Dave for the visit – great time as usual!

Check out what Frank and Dezel had to say about the visit

Frank: Drink What You Like – Roaming the Monticello Wine Trail

Dezel: Dezel’s Vine Spot – Pollak Vineyards: Yes, Jefferson would be proud



Megan enjoying the fireplace at Pollak

Categories: virginia wine, winery review | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Virginia Wine Country Weekend – Day 3

Although a bit delayed this is third in the series of posts from my Northern VA wine country weekend a couple of weeks ago. The plan for the day was to go hiking but we woke to pouring down rain so we pulled out the map to see what other wineries we wanted to visit. We decided to take the long way home and go West towards Harrisonburg before starting back East towards home. The decision was made around Cross Key’s Vineyards, a fairly new VA winery that is kind of out of the way (for us).

crosskeys_distanceI had seen Cross Key’s Vineyards in some VA wine press and been to their website and was amazed at the pictures of their Napa like tasting room and winery. In my research on their site they definitely have a recipe for good wines, a South African wine maker (with years of VA wine experience) with 2 French wine making consultants and 29 acres of well established vines. Well as with any good recipe, things can fall short in the execution and the final result is not what you expected. While I did enjoy a couple of the wines that we tasted, the wine I liked the most was fairly overpriced at $26. The rest of the wines were fairly thin and non-descript although tasting was rather hard since our pours were very small. That was another point of frustration with the winery, although our tasting was “comped” (in part) the pours were tiny, one sip worth, and if I had paid the $5 (for 6 wines) I would’ve been even more frustrated than I was. You might have noticed the “in part” statement above. When we saddled up to the bar they asked us to pay and we let them know we were industry and after a bit of weirdness they said our tasting would be comped and we would get 15% off our wine. As we started to taste one of the tasting room associates came back over and said only the main 6 wines would be comped but if we wanted the two reserve wines we would have to pay the extra $2 per person per taste for those. I was in complete disbelief! First that they are charging $2 per taste and second that they would charge industry for tasting. That turned me off so much, it really didn’t set a good tone for the experience. And one of the wines I really wanted to try because it was a Pinot Noir, and I haven’t tasted one from Virginia. Wow, a fellow industry member who writes a blog and manages a wine shop wants to try a wine that may possibly be the only one in the state, “that’ll be two dollars please”. No thanks! I know this rant really has nothing to do with the wine itself, but in my mind the lack of respect for people that can help build your brand is a big problem.


Cross Keys Wine Highlights –

  • 2008 Fiore ($16.50) – (Rose from Cab Franc) – pomegranate and strawberry and although only 1.1% residual sugar a bit too sweet for me and probably would’ve guessed closer to 3%.

  • 2006 Meritage ($26) (45% Cab Franc, 55% Petite Verdot; 15 mos. In 50/50 new/used French Oak) – full bodied with spice and black pepper, layered with boysenberry, red currant and dusty tannins

I would have hoped to have caught with the owner or one of the wine makers at Cross Keys but apparently no one was on site at the time of our visit.

Next up we decided to hit one of Virginia favorites, Pollak Vineyards and were excited that Jake Busching (wine maker and vineyard manager) was able to come down to the tasting room and chat with us as we tasted through their wines. Check back to a previous post for more of the background on Pollak Vineyards.

As usual we liked almost everything Pollak had to offer, my only dislikes were both the Chardonnay’s which I thought were over oaked, and just not my style. Although I didn’t like the Chard’s, the wines are all crafted with precision that is obvious in every sip. Jake really has a handle on what needs to be done to make great Virginia wine and is in touch, literally, with everything that is happening in the vineyard as well as the winery.

Pollak Vineyards Wine Highlights –

  • 2008 Durant White – blend predominately Viognier – tart apple, pear and apricot with touchs of honeydew melon and crisp mineral finish

  • 2007 Cabernet Franc – spicy with raspberry and red currant and hints of mint and fresh cocoa with tight leathery tannins

  • 2006 Meritage – rich with boysenberry and dark chocolate, touches of baking spices and tar with a finish of black cherry

Thanks to Jake for the tour and the special tastes down in the barrel room, great to see ya!

Categories: virginia wine, wine review | Tags: , , | 16 Comments

Indian Food and Viognier – 2007 Pollak Vineyards Viognier

Since my California trips this year our wine cellar is quite California heavy. Among them though are still plenty of great Virginia Wines to choose from. Last night I needed a Viognier to go with our Indian food that we had prepared so I picked out the 2007 Pollak Vineyards Viognier.  Readers of Anything Wine know that I am big fan of Pollak’s wine and their winery, so it would not be a jump to think that I really enjoyed this one as well.


pollak-logoThe 290 cases Viognier was from all estate grown fruit that yielded a smaller crop than usual due to the hard freeze at the beginning of the season.  The rest of the 2007 vintage was hot and dry and helped this wine to produce rich, powerful aromatics that I love to see in a Viognier. 


Winemakers Notes: 100% Viognier. Hand sorted, the grapes were destemmed and cold soaked 12 hours in our tank press, then pressed and gravity fed into a stainless steel tank. The juice fermented in the tank at less than 70 degrees for ten days.”


My Tasting Notes


Color – golden

Nose – Apricot, honey, Asian pear, phyllo dough

Taste – Mineral, honey, peach and apple

Mouthfeel – medium body, round in the middle with great acidity towards the finish

Finish – long with lots of fruit flavors left over and a healthy dose of “clean” minerality


I love Viognier with my Indian food almost as much as I like Gewürztraminer with my Indian food. The Pollak Viognier, even though it was dry, had enough perceived sweetness from the fruit to go very well with the slightly spicy food.  The backend acidity did a good job of cutting through the rich sauce on the dish which was helpful, since the wine was fairly “rich” itself.  All in all a great, well balanced Viognier, that at $18 is a definite buy.



Pollak Vineyards
330 Newtown Road
Greenwood, VA 22943
Phone: (540) 456-8844
Fax: (540) 456-6565

Categories: $10-$20, wine review | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments