Saturday, October 20, 2012

North Gate Vineyard is a Wonderful Place to Visit! (VA)

So, the last stop on the TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia was North Gate Vineyard, in Purceville, VA. By the end, me and many of my fellow campers were tired and hungry. With the promise of a bbq and a byob wine tasting after words, I wondered if I had any energy left to appreciate the last offerings of the weekend.

North Gate Vineyard is owned and operated by Mark and Vicki Fedor. They got caught up in the wine business rather inadvertently. It all began in 1997 when Mark and Vicki started caring for a few neglected grape vines on the North Gate property they had just purchased. The rest, as they say….is history. From 2003 through the 2006 vintage, Mark and Vicki had been the winemakers for Corcoran Vineyards (formerly Waterford Vineyards) in Waterford, Virginia. Their vintages had garnered more than 50 medals in national and international competitions.

The rugged and roomy tasting room is beautifully appointed, complete with wrought iron lighting fixtures, a large fireplace and ample sofas, and a sizable area filled with tables and chairs, almost like a restaurant. And of course the bar is big and long enough to hold a ravenous army. Mark and Vicki were prepared.

I liked the 2010 North Gate Viognier. The wine was made from grapes from North Gate and Weather Lea Farm grown by Pamela and Malcolm Baldwin. Aged in neutral French oak for six months, the wine was aromatic in the glass and soft in the mouth. Notes of tropical fruit and vanilla, with a touch of grapefruit. Nice.

Many folks also enjoyed the Apple Wine. This is just a fun wine, with a big apple nose. Just like biting into a crisp, sweet, juicy apple! They use a mix of sweet and tart apples. It’s meant to be a crowd pleaser, and it comes through. It’s a perfect wine for the picnic or the patio. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this wine are donated to Blue Ridge Greyhound Adoption.

My two absolute favorites were the Meritage and the Petite Verdot.

The 2009 Meritage was Cabernet Franc, (47%), Cabernet Sauvignon (26%), Petit Verdot (21%), and Merlot (6%). This is a full bodied red with lots of dark fruit up front and a nice complex finish. There’s raspberry, cherry, and vanilla, and spice. I brought home several bottles of this one. Very nice!

The 2009 Petit Verdot is North Gate’s first Estate grown wine. 100% of the Petit Verdot comes directly from their vineyard. This dark, deep purple wine did not disappoint. Cherry, violets, and vanilla all come through. As well as a hint of prune and currants in this big jammy wine. Also hints of spice. Begs for a big slab of roasted meat with char marks. Also brought home a bottle or two of this one. Very, very nice!

I had a glass of the Petitie Verdot. And relaxed for a bit. Tired after the long Taste Camp 2012, my fellow campers caught me in a satisfied but compromised position. Have to admit, sitting on the couch in front of the fire was just fine with me. North Gate is a fun place to taste and visit. Nice stuff!