Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Wineries Unlimited Tasting Notes: First Round

The BYOW Tasting evening, where winemakers brought their wines for each other to taste was still the highlight of the show for me, in regards to reviews. It was exciting to see all the great wines being made on the eastcoast. It's a shame more critics don't attend the evening. For it truly is an eye opening experience. I am filing separate reviews of new wineries I found there. But there are also these random group notes. I must do it this way, or I'll never get all my notes down in any other cohesive way.

The notes indicate no specific order than in the order they wee drank, and then not even that. I had a ball perusing the Virginia table, then the New York, Maryland, the Carolinas, New England, etc. It was awesome and fun. I went back and forth. Talked to winemakers I'd met before, and those I had not.

These are all good wines I urge you to search out.

Jefferson Vineyards

Viognier Vintage 2006.
Big floral nose. Classic Viognier aromas of honeysuckle, apricot and pineapple lead to similar flavors lifted by shimmering, polished acidity and an underlying minerality. This extraordinary cuvee will age gracefully for the next 1 to 2 years, developing an additional element of candied orange peel balanced by increasingly linear acids in the mid-palate and finish. Serve only to your immediate family and closest friends, and with any lighter foods. This wine was one of the most talked about wines of the evening at the Virginia table.

Gold Medal - Taster's Guild International Wine Competition

Gold Medal & Best of Category -- Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition

Vintage 2005. Produced from just less than 24% of the total red wine harvest, the 2005 Meritage shows intense, sweet, palate-saturating red and black fruits from the first taste through the finish. Intermingled are notes of cassis, espresso, chocolates on the mid-palate, and Provencal herbs on the finish. The fine grained tannins and beautiful acid structure balance the intensity of the fruit and carry the wine to its lengthy, ethereal finish, suggesting handsome rewards for those with the patience to cellar the wine into the next decade. Serve with herb-crusted lamb, filet mignon with herbed butter or duck breast in cherry sauce. 650 cases made.

Magnums Available October of 2007

2004 Vintage - Gold Medal - 2006 Virginia Governor's Cup

Jewell Towne Vineyards
Jewell Towne White 2007
50% New Hampshire grapes; 50% Massachusetts grapes
Sweet white wine. Very nice.
In 1977, Dr. Peter D. Oldak, an emergency physician and his wife, Brenda, moved to a 12 acre farm in South Hampton, New Hampshire. In 1982, merely as a hobbyist home gardener, he planted six individual grape vines. Four years later, he started making wine. Each year more vines and varieties were planted to see which would do best in our climate, soil, and location, and which varieties would make excellent quality wine in the chilly climes of the Northeast. Dr. Oldak, who stood behind the counter pouring, was a genuiney nice man, thrilled to talk to folks about his wines.

LaGrange Tannat 2006
This Madiran styled, fullbodied red is well balanced with lush black fruits, a strong tannic structure and a long spicy finish. Lot’s of vanilla and deep dark fruit. Wonderful! One of my favorite wines of the night. I was very sad that the bottles were empty when I went back to get more.

Very rich in history and very rich in wine, the new Winery at La Grange opened September 2006 as Prince William County's only established winery. The red brick three and a half story La Grange manor house built in the 1790's has survived numerous owners and finally has come to rest with an unique group of investors brought together by Chris Pearmund. While the 5,500 newly planted Cabernet Sauvignon vines grow silently, the manor house is completely refurbished, new Winery building is ready and wine is aging.

The Winery at La Grange's current inventory of 5,500 cases of wine include: Viognier, Chardonnay, Meritage, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Norton, Claret, Pinot Grigio, Tannat and a Port styled Snort.

Martha Clara Vineyards
Medium bodied Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend. This medium-bodied red blend (assemblage) reveals the mystery of the spices and “fruitiness” of ripe dark berries. Soft & chewy, the wine shows a smooth, firm structure, where vanilla & oak aromas come together to join the distinctive flavors of fruit. Structured and elegant, this blend opens new horizons in the wines of Long Island.

Closson Chase 2005 Chardonnay
Barrel fermented and aged 16 months in oak. They made 252 cases. 13% alcohol
Very smooth and very nice.

Connecticut Valley Winery
La Dolce Vita dessert wine
Very light. Very nice. Not too sweet. Nice acidity and balance. A delicious dessert wine.

Located in Connecticut's picturesque Litchfield County, Connecticut Valley Winery is owned and operated by Anthony and Judith Ferraro. With a passion for offering the highest quality wines, while preserving all the charm of a small, family owned winery, the Ferraros offer an unmatched wine experience in one of the most beautiful and intimate of New England locales.

Part 2 to come shortly.