Posts Tagged With: wine

Back to the beginning…

This is a guest post from friend John McClung, Real Estate Agent by day, wine lover by night. You can follow him on Twitter @johndmcclung.

I had a great bottle of wine the other night. Almost tweeted about it, but it was too special. Let me explain:

My first taste of a wine that was not pink, Portuguese, and known more for the shape of the bottle than the wine, was a shipper label, Bordeaux made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. For me, this wine was different, plenty of fruit, and was dry and complex enough to show that a wine can be more than just grape juice or tannins with alcohol.

I quickly went back to the liquor store, but they were out and wouldn’t be getting any more. I searched other liquor stores and no one had it. I guess that was to be expected, after all, wine was not on the minds of America in 1978, and particularly not in Lexington, Ky a college town devoted to Bourbon and beer at the time.

This lead to what turned out to be a 2 and a half year quest to find a wine with  similar flavor and complexity. In the meantime I discovered that wines produced in California, could be labeled Cabernet Sauvignon and have up to 25% other grape varieties, and though I detected some that were similar to what I was looking for the quest lived on. I tried other types of wines and I tried as many Bordeaux as I could afford including Chateau Cantenac-Brown, which became a favorite for special occasions.

Eventually I found a wine that was similar in flavor, bigger and complex. It had the cherry, and plum, tobacco, earth and a touch of brown spice complimented by vanilla from the oak. Unlike most serious California wines of 1981, it was not called by the grape name, but rather had it’s own proprietary name of Marlstone. Finally an affordable, (at that time compared to Bordeaux) wine worth drinking.

So, it was not a shock, when I opened a 1995 bottle that had great red color and no brown edges and excellent depth of flavor including the cherry, plum and a hint of tobacco. The body might have been a little thin, but otherwise this 15 year old wine was tremendous. I look forward to the other bottle sitting there waiting for what now should be a special occasion, you know, like wine time.

Be great!

Categories: guest post, wine review | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Upcoming February Wine Events in Virginia

In addition to the regular tasting that go on around Richmond every week, this February two of the larger wine events in the state happen.

washwineexpo_logoFirst up is the Washington DC Wine Expo, February 14th and 15th from 2:00 – 6:00pm each day at the Ronald Regan Building and International Trade Center. Sample over 800 wines with one admission price. The wines presented are from across the globe and not from one region – over 200 wineries from around the world including Argentina, Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, France, New Zealand and the United States.

I attended last year and hope to attend Saturday this year as well. It was a great event, but try to get there early as it gets quite crowded.

Tickets are $85 per day.


At the end of the month right here in Richmond at the Convention Center will be the Virginia Wine Expo. Running from Friday February 27th – Sunday March 1st, the event will feature over 300 wines from 50+ Virginia Wineries. I didn’t get a chance to attend last year, but hope to make it this year on Sunday.

Here is a brief schedule of events, click HERE for the full schedule :

Friday, February 27

  • 4:00 – 6:00 PM – Sit-Down Reserve Tasting with Bartholomew Broadbent, CEO of Broadbent Selections

  • 6:30 – 10:00 PM – SunTrust Governor’s Cup Grand Tasting

Saturday, February 28

  • 12:00 – 1:00 PM – Wine Seminar – Exotic Virginia Wines: Petit Verdot, Petit Manseng and Viognier, Virginia Lottery Chef Demonstration Stage

  • 1:00 – 7:00 PM – Walk-Around Grand Tasting and Chef Demonstrations

Sunday, March 1

  • 10:30 AM – Virginia Wine Expo Brunch at The Jefferson Hotel

  • 12:00 – 1:00 PM – Wine Seminar – Aged to Perfection: Comparing Older Vintage Virginia Wine to Recent Vintages, Virginia Lottery Chef Demonstration Stage

  • 1:00 – 6:00 PM – Walk-Around Grand Tasting and Chef Demonstrations

Tickets range in price from $35 – $75 as well as many packages that encompass a lot of the weekends events.


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Wine Tasting: 2004 Imagery Estate Sunny Slope Merlot


Megan and I received this wine as part of our Imagery Estate Wine Club shipment earlier this year. Each shipment contains two bottles of wine that are usually only offered at the winery (as was this Merlot) and get four shipments a year. We visited them when we were on our Napa and Sonoma trip at the end of last year and had a great time. It is a beautiful place to visit, with an excellent tasting room and staff, and an awesome patio for enjoying a picnic lunch.

Some information on the wine: The Sunny Slope vineyard that these Merlot grapes are from is quite interesting. The site that the vineyard is on is pretty much an old rock quarry and the vines were planted in holes drilled or pick axed more than 20 years ago. The vines get a great southwest exposure that produces a ripe, concentrated, thick skinned grape. The 2004 vintage was dry overall, in fact humidity levels at the end of the season dropped well below the average 30%. (Geez, I wish the humidity around Richmond would average 30%) Proper vineyard care and patience prevailed in allowing the grapes to develop their wonderful flavor, even though sugars were rising prematurely.

I believe the wine, without the 15% member discount, is $38.

dsc_0698.jpgMy Tasting Notes:

Nose – Cherry, boysenberry, and caramelized onions

Taste – Rich Black Cherry and celery

Mouthfeel – medium body with a very rich texture, very smooth and polished

Finish – great long length, leaving me with a bit of cocoa on the aftertaste

This was a delightful Merlot, and unfortunately I didn’t write in my notes what we drank this with, and I can’t remember since it was a couple of weeks ago. Since this is only distributed from the winery, you can’t run to your local wine shop and pick it up. But, if by chance you are in Sonoma, give them a visit, you won’t be disappointed.

Categories: Imagery Estate, sonoma, wine tasting | Tags: , , | 3 Comments