Thursday, May 31, 2012

Glass House Twenty-First (VA)

I've recently written about Glass House. But here's one wine I tasted separately, and I thought I should write about it just so, instead of going back and amending my earlier write up. Sorry for those who are playing along at home.

According to the website, "Glass House’s 2009 Vintage 21st (so named for the 21st amendment that repealed prohibition) is a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot."

This medium-to-dark color garnet red color is beautiful. The nose is all dark cherry with a hint of cassis somehwere therein. A hint of mocha is also on the nose. On the palate cherries still come through as well as plum, and some other dark fruits, and spices. A bit of cocoa also comethough. The finish is long and langerous. A beautiful, beautiful wine!

Conneaut Cellars Merlot (PA)

Conneaut Cellars Winery fashions itself after a turn-of-the-century winery and performs all of the winemaking operations at the 6,400 square foot winery. The winery offers a broad spectrum of tastes from the farm wines of our grandparents (native American) through the more sophisticated French-American hybrids to the noble vinifera of world fame. Some wines are labeled using proprietary names to promote the local area.

Conneaut Cellars Winery was founded by Dr. Alan Wolf in 1982. Dr. Wolf was exposed to winemaking when working for the US State Department in Germany in the 1950s, where he placed political refugees as winery workers. Some of these émigrés were biochemists. Later, he learned basic winemaking by enrolling in courses at the University of Würzburg and the German Wine Institute at Geisenheim. During the 1960's Dr. Wolf experimented with more than 130 grape varieties for Cornell University and The Pennsylvania State University, as well as teaching basic winemaking courses at several colleges. During the next decade, he saved and planned for starting his own winery. After retiring from education in 1981, Dr. Wolf and his wife, Phyllis, established Conneaut Cellars Winery with the mission to make a memorable and distinctive wine that reflects the northeastern climate of Lake Erie - the Lake Erie Wine Appellation.

In 1982, Dr. Wolf built the winery on the South end of the largest natural lake in the state-due to the rich history of the property. Delaware and Seneca Indians called the lake Conneaut, or “Snow Place,” because the surrounding forests were so dense and that the snow remained after it had melted elsewhere.

Dr. Wolf passed away in 1995 leaving the winery to Phyllis. In 1996, Joal Wolf, the son of Dr. Wolf and winemaster at Conneaut Cellars, bought the winery from his mother. As a young boy, Joal helped his father make wine during the 1960's. After graduating from college, he went to Europe for four years. While in Germany, Joal visited wineries and represented Conneaut Cellars during trade shows. Joal returned to the winery in 1988, attended graduate school, and earned his masters degree. After graduate school, Joal worked full-time at the winery as the winemaster and assisted his father in all facets of the business. As winemaster, Joal has won several international, national, and state medals for his wines. At the 1998 Wineries Unlimited show, Conneaut Cellars Winery won an International Commercial Vineyard and Winery Award as “The Most Improved Winery.”

Conneaut Cellars Winery can be found in the heart of the family resort area of Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania, which is approximately ten minutes from Interstate 79.

Conneaut Cellars Merlot is a vinifera medium bodied red wine. The nose is bright with plum, hints of currant, blackberry, with hints of vanilla. These same flavors come through on the palate, as well as with hints of cocoa. A nice medium bodied red.

Congrats to the folks at Conneaut!

French Routed in Canandaigua/Western New York for Second Time in Four Centuries, The Onion Also Withdraws; NYWCC Saved

An attempted French invasion, spurred on by the staff at The Onion, America’s Finest News Source, of the New York Wine Culinary Center was repelled over the weekend in upstate New York. Like the Kamakazi winds that the ancient Japanese believed protected their islands from invasion, a massive gust of common sense blew through upstate New York last night, and smote the vile French occupiers that had temporarily squatted at the Culinary Center. Like the French of the mid-1700s, good ole militia came though to rout the heavy sauce laden foreigners, and repelled them for a second time from the region in four centuries.

Local people were amazed at what had been left behind. Found among the wreckage of the fleeing French were ornate duck presses, Le Cruset pots and lids in lots of cool colors, giant blocks of French cooking butter, tapes of Jacques Pepin, huge vats of heavy sauces, and many books printed in that vile, foreign tongue. Other artifacts were also uncovered from other accompanying groups like the Italian and Chileans. Large container sized shipments of pasta were discovered as well as a cache of Chilean sea bass.

New York vintners celebrated the great victory by opening bottles all over the state in honor of the momentous routing of the would-be invaders. Tasting room fees were still in effect, and case discounts were observed.

The French, Italian, Spanish, and Chilean embassies were shuttered in order to prepare for any unrest outside their gates as large crowds gathered. Protestors lit large bond fires from mountainous piles of bad wine marketing materials. The crowds chanted, “U – S – A” and spoke of the previous French defeat at the hands of the US and British forces in the mid-1700s. Some went as far as impromptu showings of “Last of the Mohicans” starring Daniel Day Lewis on personal dvd players or on their iPhones. Mr. Lewis could not be reached for comment.

Staffers at The Onion were reached for comment, where one shrugged, saying, “It was a fun gag, but it was one note,” before refusing further comment. Later, the news agency issued an official statement, claiming it was not a defeat but merely a tactical withdrawal “in order to pursue much more comically rich material from the Roomney campaign for US President.”

The New York Wine and Culinary Center went back to work, all conditions normal, with a stellar wine list filled with great New York wines. A wonderful place to dine, and discover the richness of the region.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Leattie Teague Raves About Silver Thread in the Wall Street Journal

Thimble-Size Tastes of Finger Lakes .

The Finger Lakes region is more than 200 miles north of the Union Square Greenmarket in New York. It's a place that very few New Yorkers have probably visited—or, for that matter, could likely find on a map. But greenmarket customers who stop by the Silver Thread Winery booth (next to the Roaming Acres Ostrich Farm's) will receive a quick lesson in upstate geography along with thimble-size tastes of six Finger Lakes wines.

The winery's proprietor, Shannon Brock, and her sister Kelly were on hand when I stopped by their booth this past Monday. It was around 11 a.m.; the crowds were sparse and the sky was overcast. There are rarely many customers early on Mondays, said Ms. Brock, though there is always an uptick between noon and 3 p.m. "That's our prime selling time," she said. "That's when chefs and sometimes wine directors of restaurants stop by and taste." That was, in fact, how the Brocks got their wines on the lists of restaurants including Gramercy Tavern and in stores such as Astor Wine & Spirits.

Under the greenmarket rules, Ms. Brock and her sister must have their tent up by 7 a.m., she said, but they almost never sell any wine at that hour. "People have funny rules about when it's acceptable to drink," Ms. Brock said. (I didn't tell her that I abided by those "funny" rules as well—I rarely drink right after sunrise.)

The Brocks—Shannon and her husband Paul—have lived in the Finger Lakes area since graduating from Cornell, she with a B.S. in 1999, he with an M.S. in 2007. (Her sister lives in Manhattan; she's an actor and theater director in real life). The Brocks bought their winery last year when its owner was retiring, and promptly doubled the winery's production. They currently make 1,500 cases of wine a year and aim to peak at 3,000 in five years.

The Brocks were determined to sell their wines in New York—even though a surprisingly large number of Finger Lakes producers do not. "Some of them have never even been to the city," confided Ms. Brock. One of the best ways they decided to get the word out was by selling their wines at greenmarkets. The New York Wine and Grape Foundation maintains rotating spots at various greenmarkets; the Brocks applied for a spot in May and finally got one starting last November.

Like most Finger Lakes winemakers, Paul Brock specializes in Riesling—both dry and off-dry versions. The dry Riesling ($18) is their best-seller by far, though the semi-sweet is particularly popular at the Union Square market. They also make a Chardonnay and a fruity white blend called Good Earth ($13), which is mostly Vidal (a hybrid grape), and two red wines: a Cabernet Franc blend named Blackbird and a Pinot Noir. I was particularly keen on their dry Riesling, which was clean and bright with attractive notes of mineral and pear.

Shannon Brock, right, and sister Kelly at Union Square Greenmarket.

While I was tasting, a woman visiting from Switzerland stopped by the booth and bought a bottle of Pinot Noir ($18) without even trying it. This isn't uncommon, Ms. Brock said: "Chardonnay and Pinot Noir pretty much sell themselves." How much wine does she sell? "Eight cases on a good day and two cases on a bad day" she replied. They only break even when they sell two cases. (There are 12 bottles in a case of wine.) But their presence helps to get the word out, and the Brocks sell a good bit of wine online, often to Manhattanites—something Ms. Brock attributes to the greenmarkets. They also sell their wines on a semi-regular basis at greenmarkets in Brooklyn and on 82nd Street at Manhattan's Upper East.

Photos by Noah Rabinowitz for The Wall Street Journal

Read the whole story at:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fero Vineyards Lemberger 2010 (PA)

Back in 1812, Chuck and Daneen Zaleski's family bought tthe tract of land they are now on. It has remained in the family since then. It has always been a farm. The farm has produced corn, wheat, beans and vegetables for generations. But that dreaded suburban sprawl was closing in. The surrounding land was and is turning into shopping centers and housing developments. There were plans to develop this property too. There were years of research, test plots, and soil preparation.

In the spring of 2010 they planted 13,500 vines on 12.5 acres, and all of the vines are vinifera grafted on to phylloxera resistant rootstock either 101-14 or 3309. The varieties were chosen based on test plot and root stock data in their trial vineyard.

Now, I am very up and down on the German grape Blaufrankish or Lemberger as it is otherwise known. In a good year, well worked the vines can produce fruit which are capable of lush, impressive wines. Bad ones, under grown, can produce highly acidic wines with little fruit and no character. Awful. There is no middle ground with this grape in my experience.

So, when I saw the Ferro Lemberger, I clenched my teeth, poured a glass, and winced as I took my first sip. I need not have, for it was an increibly impressive wine.

Fero Vineyards Lemberger 2010 proves that this wine can produce a kind of Pennsylvania expression that has the characteristic dark rich color of this variety in a good year. The nose is ripe fruit, with lots of plum, dark stewed blackberries and ark raspberries, and a hint of oak. As promised, it is a dry red with a little peppery taste and a smooth finish.

This was an excellent red, and a very nice surprise. Instantly, one of my favorite Lembergers anywhere on the east coast.

Maryland Wine Week June 8-17, 2012

Celebrate Maryland Wine Week June 8-17 at participating restaurants & wine shops

For the second year in a row, Maryland Wineries Association is pairing up with quality restaurants, wine bars and wine shops to celebrate local wine and produce. From June 8 -17, 2012, restaurants and wine shops will host a range of events themed around Maryland wine, including wine maker dinners, tastings, wine flights, and more!

Visit, follow them on Twitter @MDwineweek or find them on Facebook to keep up with all the events! Interested sponsors, restaurants and wine shops can contact

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Associated Press Features Agritourism, Cream Ridge Winery

MORRISTOWN — Sure, Jim and Caroline Etsch farm traditionally, mainly raising hay and field corn on 1,100 acres in five municipalities in Middlesex and Monmouth counties.

But for a half-dozen or so years on the 30-acre home farm on Route 522 in Monroe, the couple — Jim, 52, and Caroline, 53 — has diversified in a way his grandparents, who founded the farm 82 years ago, would not have seriously envisioned.

They run an autumn corn maze — 1½ miles of trail carved into eight acres of field corn. Last year, 8,000 people visited.

"If you told me 15 years ago people would be running through my corn, I'd laugh," Etsch said. "They used to run through, and I'd chase them out."

Now, people pay $10 each to maneuver the maze, along with participating in hay and pony rides and kids playing in something similar to a sand box, only this one filled with corn kernels. Ducks, chickens, goats, sheep and a steer are on hand for viewing.

"We figure it's a way to diversify the operation," said Etsch, adding his youngest son, Peter, 19, is interested in farming, and this could keep the farm alive for a fourth generation. "It has helped pay some of the costs."

Agriculture has met tourism in New Jersey to form "agritourism" or "agtourism."

"Agritourism may be defined broadly as the business of establishing farms as travel destinations for educational and recreational purposes," according to a 2007 Rutgers University study, "The Economic Impact of Agritourism in New Jersey."

The public traditionally has been welcome at some agricultural operations: roadside stands, wineries, garden centers and nurseries.

Now, these traditionally public-friendly operations are doing more to draw customers, adding themed festivals and other specialty events.

"We have events almost every month," said Eileen Amabile, 53, who operates her family's Cream Ridge Winery in Upper Freehold. "We do private tastings and tours as well."

Read the rest at:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Onion, France Take Control of New York Wine and Culinary Center

NEW YORK - The Onion, America's Finest News Source, took control of the Upstairs Bistro officially last Friday at the New York Wine & Culinary Center in Canandaigua. Their their usual sarcastic flair, they reopened the restaurant with a new name, a new look, a new menu, and a new wine list.

With the Euro crashing all around their ears, French officials joined the with The Onion to take over the restaurant in order to save the floundering European currency, the wobbling new French government, and of course, to have a great laugh at the expense of New York wine makers.

Officials at the Onion insisted that the formerly named "Taste of New York", had "the whole all-local concept" which was "dried-up, over the hill, and just plain out of date. No one is interested in local anymore. It's played out. No one does local anymore. Can you say dinosaur? That was so last century. You want local? There's a McDonald's right down the street."

As before, the Upstairs Bistro includes a bar area, main dining room, and seating on a wrap-around deck overlooking New York's famed Canandaigua Lake. The decor features brighter more European colors, proudly displaying the French flag, and a French wine bottle with flowers at each table.

The new menu includes reasonably priced starters and salads, escargot, foie gras, pate', beef encroute, and crepes! Nothing is local. It's all flown in from around the world. "No expense or carbon footprint is big enough to satisfy our need for quality produce and products. None of this farmer John crap. Forget out of state, if it's from the US we don't want it," said one proud official.

The menu will be in French. And you can order any second or third rate Bordeaux or Burgundy you wish to have. And if you're really ignorant, they'll pawn off a bottle of $6 Nouveau off on you for a measly $30!

Following the leads of regions like Bordeaux and Tuscany, (where American wines are served in copious amounts to pair with local foods)the wine list was re-engineered. They cut back on all that local swill with stuff floating around in it, that was recently featured in Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast and the New York Times, and replaced with with all the drainage fluid the Europeans refuse to drink, insisting they could pawn off on unsuspecting ignorant American tourists.

Said one French official, "International cuisine is where it's at. Especially right here in the heart of New York wine country. People get tired of drinking all that celebrated New York wine all day. We have them come here for a taste of Italy, or Spain, or Hungary....especially Greece. The Greeks really need our help right now. Those Moussaka eaters are going to sink the whole European continent. And of course we have Irish beer to help with the current debt caused by those drunken sods. We have to help them export their beer, because otherwise they'll drink it all. And you need to fill up on all that cheap French wine we would never actually drink ourselves. You people don't know the difference, so your better off that way."

The wine list will now features bottles from France, Italy, New Zealand, Chile, and even California. All wines that really represent the New York Wine Country.

Californians were pleased to be included in the gold rush. "We added them just to stick it to the New Yorkers. We thought that was a really nice touch, don't you?" chirped one Onion official.

Reportedly, the Italian contingent, who where outbid by the French, were particularly peeved. "No one eats French any more. Let's be honest, all those heavy sauces? People haven't been eating that pig slop for 30 years. Pasta is where it's at. Pizza. They only won because their government is less broke than ours. Luckily, the French owe us money, so we were allowed in. Finally, we have some place to get rid of all that Italian $5 Chianti that we sell on AM radio with those torturous 15 second spots. We are happy with that."

Asked why New York was their target, Onion officials commented, "C'mon, it's so easy. New York wine is really hot right now. It's not only found on almost every wine list in NYC today, they've gotten too many great scores and reviews in the newspapers and magazines, and they've even made head way into London and Beijing as well. What better way to tweak New York; send a bad message to consumers; and to completely bastardize a culinary center erected to celebrate all the good things New York state has to provide, than to take their culinary institute, and trick it out with other region's wines? You'd have to absolutely be tone deaf not to know that it would piss people off. You gotta slap these puppies in the nose and tell 'em to sit down. Precocious little twerps."

"And of course, the French and Italians threw tons of worthless Euros our way. And they promise to feed us for a month (except for those pompous dicks on the Fifth Floor of the Waverly Building). What's better than to give a hand-up to failing countries like France and Italy? We threw in New Zealand because they promised the wait staff a free trip to see where they made the Lord of the Rings trilogy." When asked about Chilean wines, the Onion official scoffed, "That was fun. They were desperate, so we made them buy the French flags to decorate the restaurant with. Five big flags, not the little, cheap ones, but the big, expensive canvas ones. We really made them pay through the nose."

Asked what had happened to "Taste of New York" Culinary Center officials blamed the competition: "There are too many local restaurants here. Good ones, serving quality food, like Suzanne's and Red Newt Bistro. We even served free peanuts and pretzels at the bar, but it didn't do it."

Napa Culinary Center officials were so concerned with these events, there are reports that they have considered joining forces with Mad Magazine, and are considered expunging their wine lists of their pune juice with a shot of vodka in it they call wine, for more authentic sake', Japanese beer, and whiskey. Suntory is considering buying the naming rights to the venue.

Burgundian restaurant officials have held emergency meetings to consider a similar course of action. Un-named sources reported that the Burgundians had decided to import Chilean wines for their lists. Apparently, with a wealth of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec on their wine lists, it would be a great way to annoy those pompous tools, the Bordelais.

Pride of New York officials could not be reached for comment, as they were reportedly under heavy sedation.

The menu and the wine list are available at:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Jewell Towne Vineyards (NH)

I've written about Jewell Towne before. They are one of the better small wineries in New Hampshire. Nice people, good wines.

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.In 1994, the decision was made to go commercial and the first harvest of 40 cases was released. These sold out in 3 weeks.

From 1994 to 1996 wines were produced in the cellar of the Oldak home. In
1997, due to increasing demand and limited space, Peter and Brenda made the
decision to build a separate Winery modeled after an 18th century New England
style post and beam barn in the middle of the vineyard. Construction was started
in May of 1997 by David Cronin, a local resident, known for his exquisite
historic reproductions, and it was completed in 1998.

In 2010, Jewell Towne Vineyards produced over 7000 cases and could be found in over 150 stores, NH Liquor stores, and restaurants throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Jewell Towne Vineyards is a family run enterprise, embracing the New
Hampshire entrepreneurial spirit. Brenda, a visiting nurse and also an artist,
has designed the label, runs the art gallery, and, along with the Oldak's
children, Tenley and Trevor, participates in every aspect of the vineyard and
winery's operation.

Recently I tried the Jewell Town Vognoles. It was light, delicate, with lots of tropical notes. Refreshing. It's a light, refreshing, aromatic white wine meant for cool quaffing on a hot summer day. Very nice.

Brookmere Alexander Red NV (PA)

Brookmere Farms 138 acres of rolling tillable landscape was a part of a large land grant from William Penn to the Alexander Family. This property remained with the descendants of the clan until the 1960's when a Wall Street broker, Charles Rodarmor (Business address 1 Wall St.) acquired it from his three children. They had inherited it from their recently deceased mother, Virginia Haughwout Rodarmor, wife of Charles. Some of the Haughwouts still reside in what is commonly known as "Big Valley", and run a large dairy farming operation in Alexander Springs which is adjacent to Brookmere Farm.

After the civil war, James Alexander built the southern mansion type farmhouse with a federalist front as an intended wedding present for his bride to be. The bricks used in construction were sun baked and made in the back yard of the property. As the story goes, before he could finish the project, his intended took off with another suitor. Consequently the inside of the home was never finished i.e. cherry stair treads with no bannister, minimal plumbing, no formal kitchen, etc. The Reverend Leffard Haughwout lived there for a while as did a number of tenant farmers who lived in half of the house. After Charles Rodarmor acquired the farm, the family used it as sort of a getaway house and rented the land to local farmers. It became a repository of antiques of all types, and became an unkempt mess with wisteria growing up through the slate roof and the porches were rotting off. In the late sixties and early seventies one of the Rodarmor children and friends used it as a place to make music and "party" and thus it took on the "Hippie House" handle.

In 1973 Donald and Susan Chapman who hail from Connecticut had been living in the Milroy area since 1966, when Don brought the domestic tool business of the Collins Company of Collinsville, Connecticut, to nearby Lewistown and became a principle in the Mann Edge Tool Company there. They had been looking to buy a farm and came upon the run-down Brookmere mansion. After numerous communiqués (spanning over a year) with Mr. Rodarmor, he suddenly asked for a $5000 deposit on a $125,000 price tag for the farm. The Chapman's swallowed hard and jumped (that was a lot of money at the time) and they consummated the deal in November of 1974. They moved in...scarey...bats, that first night it snowed, bad noises, snow on the bed in the morning...needless to say, they resurrected the mansion over the next seven years.

After 16 years in the tool business, Don thought that he would like to do something a little more healthful, thus began their affair with the grapes. Starting with an aborted effort to purchase a Lewistown Winery and enough knowledge to be dangerous, he converted his 1866 PA bank barn into a sales room and wine making facility and in 1981 planted three acres of grapes. The grape varieties are primarily French Hybrids i.e. Vidal, Seyval, Chelois, DeChaunac, Chambourcin with a few Vinifera varieties, Carmine, Chardonel, and Bianco. Although the soils are very good, the humid climates and cold weather limit the varieties that will thrive here. However, the grapes and fruit that round out Brookmere's menu are available from vineyards in other areas of Pennsylvania.

After 23 years in business, Don and Susan sold the business to Ed and Cheryl Glick. Cheryl was an employee for the Chapmans for 12 years prior to purchasing the business with her husband Ed, who was a former dairy farmer for 18 years. When a business opportunity arose, they decided to take a new adventure. Ed learned the wine making trade as he worked for the Chapmans. After 7 years the Glicks purchased the winery. Ed and Cheryl still maintain the same high standards of wine making as the Chapmans did with their friendly knowledgeable staff-Carolyn, Amanda, and daughter Alisha. With the help of their staff, the Glicks have a lot of changes going on for 2008. The 1866 Mansion will become a warm and inviting Bed and Breakfast. A pavilion is being built in the Vineyard to host weddings, receptions, and special events. Also, they plan to hold wine and Music festivals during the spring, summer, and fall months. Keep checking our website for updates.

I recently tried the Brookmere Alexander Red. This was a blend of Cabernet Franc and Chambourcin aged in oak. This is a non-vintage wine. An as a table wine it is among the better red table wines available on the market from an East Coast winery. Big flavors of ripe cherry and raspberry burst from the glass, with himts of mocha, and a hint of plum, and some spices. A nice dry finish. Nice acids, with a bit of tannin in the back. A delicious, fantastic blend. An excellent wine!

Borrowed a photo fromt The Culinary Couple who visited the farm in's their post:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vint Hill Chambourone is a Winner! (VA)

Vint Hill Craft Winery announced a new medal awarded to one of their wines. They participated in the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in March and came home with a Silver Medal for their Chambourone. It also took home a Bronze at the Town Point Virginia Wine Competition, which took place in Norfolk, Va

Vint Hill, you will recall, is the make-your-own winery, that also makes wine. It is a state-of-the-art facility, using “green” technologies and materials wherever possible and created as an example of sustainable design. The building is a restored circa 1900 dairy barn, located on the former Army base, Vint Hill Farm Station. In its past, the building was used as a secret listening post by the government.

In 1943, according to an Army history of the post, a soldier working in the barn (that is now the winery) copied decoded radio messages from the Japanese ambassador to Berlin to his superiors in Tokyo that gave a detailed description of the German Atlantic Wall defenses at Normandy and Calais. Because the Japanese diplomatic code had been broken, the intercept provided Allied planners with details needed to overcome German defenses. Over the years, the Army suspended miles of antenna wire from poles in the fields at the base. The antenna arrays, which eventually spread over 450 acres, could be tuned to collect high frequency radio messages being transmitted to and from embassies in Washington.

Today, Vint Hill is one of a Washington DC region’s premier mixed use office parks. Over 60 businesses and organizations and 1,000+ employees enjoy Vint Hill’s diverse living and working environment, enriched with over 170 acres of parks and open space. So, Vint Hill Winery is easy to find.

The Executive winemaker is Chris Pearamund, whom I have written about at The Winery at La Grange and Paradise Springs Winery, as well as the Chris Pearamund Cellars. I caught up with Chris at the grand tasting at Tamp Camp East 2012 at Boxwood, in Virginia. he was wearing his winemakers jacket, and we shared a good laugh. He's a great guy, and a major success in Virginia wine, and eastcoast wine.

The winemaker at Vint HIll is D.J. Leffin. DJ has moved up in the world of fermentation. With humble starts in beer production, he moved to winemaking first at Pearmund Cellars under the watchful eye of Chris Pearmund and is now the full time enologist and partner at Vint Hill Craft Winery. His days as a school teacher and his completion of a program in viticulture and enology from U.C. Davis make him a great asset for the teaching and learning environment of Vint Hill Craft Winery.

So, this is all very nice, but what the hell is Chambourone? Isn't that what you're asking right about now? This wine is made from 100% Virginia grown Chambourcin grapes. But it is made in the same style as the Italian wine, Amarone. Before the grapes are crushed, they are harvested, and set on drying racks, where the grapes begin to raisin. Losing water, and increasing in flavor, and concentrating the sugar, the wine is a much more intense elixir when pressed and vinted.

This is a big intense wine with prune, plum, and cassis all at the forefront, with even a hint of lackvar to it. Dark cherry and a whiff of vanilla. This has big fruit up front, with low acid, and a medium tannin. A nice, delicious wine, meant for charred steak and veal osso bucco. I've had a lot of Chambourcins, buit nothing like this one. The judges got it right - this wine is a winner! Congrats to DJ and Chris!

New York and Virginia IN THE HOUSE! London-style!

It is truly great to see both New York and Virginia contingents being represented at the London International Wine Festival 2012 this week!

These two states are producing world class wines, and it is nice to see both Virginia and New York push the edge of the envelope in promoting their wines in such a way.

Kudos to Jim Trezise of New York, and Annette Boyd of Virginia, in presenting the UK and European public with wines that will impresse and garner good reviews and good sales.

Very, very cool stuff.

"New York Drinks New York" -- An Encore! BRAVO!!!!

The below is a press release from Jim Trezise and the New York Wine & Grape Foundation regarding the scond phase of New York Drinks New York. I cannot say enough how proud I am to be a New Yorker and see this organization join the wine fray in this way, embracing these methods to help promote and sell New York wine in one of the world's top markets in such a meaningful way. This is the kind of leadership New York wine deserves, and shows how Jim Trezise, who has been an innovator his whole career, has reinvented the way the NYWGF continues its role in helping to expand the industry. And it confirms his own position in the the US wine world. I laud him and all the folks at NYWGF!

May 23, 2012
"New York Drinks New York" -- An Encore!
New York Wine & Grape Foundation Continues New York City Promotion
From Jim Trezise

The highly successful "New York Drinks New York" promotion of New York wines in New York City will be continued and expanded, thanks to a new grant obtained by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation (NYWGF) from the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority (GVRMA).

"We greatly appreciate the support of the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets in helping us obtain this grant so we can continue the momentum from earlier this year," said NYWGF President Jim Trezise. "The initial grant allowed us to lay a foundation for New York wines in the world's most competitive wine market, and now we can build upon that."

The first phase, conducted for NYWGF by First Press Public Relations of Manhattan, included market research; "Cellar Visits" to New York's major wine regions by New York City media and trade representatives; taxi top advertising in March; a New York City market orientation for winery representatives; and a sold-out tasting for media, trade, and consumers at Astor Center on March 12.

"This was a very successful program, and we are pleased that it can continue with additional funding," said New York State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine. "The grape and wine industry is an important part of our agricutural economy, tourism, and quality of life in New York State, so this is a sound investment for the State of New York that I fully support."

While Phase I lasted only about three months, the Phase II program will cover nine months through March 2013. The multi-faceted program will again be orchestrated by First Press, and will include:

Ongoing media outreach; Website consulting for an enhanced internet presence; Sponsorship of the "Eat Drink Local Week" of the Edible publications; "Vineyard Visits" by New York City media and trade during; the summer and fall to the major winegrowing regions: Long Island, Hudson River, Finger Lakes, Niagara Escarpment; Activities surrounding the New York Wine & Food Classic in August; A week for New York City media and trade representatives to actually work the harvest in the Finger Lakes; A major presentation on marketing New York wines in New York City at the large Viticulture 2013 conference in February; A two-week series of New York wine events in New York City in early March, culminating in a "Grand Tasting" for media, trade, and consumers.

"This is clearly an ambitious program, but our partners at First Press have proven they can pull it off," said Trezise. "We are confident that this program will take New York wines to a whole new level in the Big Apple."

Phase I included 38 wineries which chose to participate, with many again signed up for Phase II, along with some new ones. Wineries participating by region are:

Long Island: Bedell Cellars, Channing Daughters Winery, Lieb Cellars, Macari Vineyards, Palmer Vineyards, Paumanok Vineyards, Raphael Vineyards & Winery, Wolffer Estate Vineyard

Hudson River Region: Benmarl Winery, Clinton Vineyards, Millbrook Vineyards & Winery, Stoutridge Vineyard, Tousey Winery, Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery

Finger Lakes: Anthony Road Winery, Atwater Estate Vineyards. Dr. Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars, Eagle Crest Vineyards, Fox Run Vineyards, Fulkerson Winery, Glenora Wine Cellars, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Keuka Lake Vineyards, King Ferry Winery, Knapp Winery, Lakewood Vineyards, Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars, Pleasant Valley Wine Company, Red Newt Cellars, Sheldrake Point Winery, Standing Stone Vineyards, Swedish Hill Winery, Thirsty Owl Wine Company, Wagner Vineyards

Niagara Escarpment: Arrowhead Spring Vineyards, Eveningside Vineyards, Freedom Run Winery, Leonard Oakes Estate Winery, Spring Lake Winery

Other Regions: 21 Brix (Lake Erie), Thousand Islands Winery (Thousand Islands)

The New York Wine & Grape Foundation is a private, not-for-profit trade association created by the State of New York in 1985 to support the industry through research and promotion programs. Its mission: "To have the New York grape and wine industry recognized as a world leader in quality, productivity, and social responsibility."

Media Contacts: Jim Trezise,

Michael Gitter,

Kayt Mathers,

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rappahannock Cellars Continues to Excel

So there I was when I saw a Virginia label I was not familiar with. With a large “R” one side, I tried to figure out what it was. The closer I got, the more I realized it said Rappahannock Vineyards. Now I have known about Rappahannock for a long, long time. I have been a fan since 2003 or 2004. I had not seen the newest label change…is that possible? I had reviewed one of their wines as recently as November, 2011, albeit, an older vintage….and a spectacular one at that. I covered their fifth anniversary and their tenth anniversary. Hmmmmmm….time flies.

“It’s humbling for me to look back over the past 20 years of our family’s wine experience and see the fruits of our labor. Our Virginia winery began producing wine over 10 years ago, where we have strived to create not just good wine, but fantastic wine. Our style is largely “old world” (Virginia fruit style is very similar to Bordeaux,) and we believe great wines are made in the vineyard. Vintage-to-Vintage variation is a struggle in Virginia, but it also tends to define the personality of Virginia wine. We in Virginia believe that this variation, coupled with the challenges of grape growing in the mid-Atlantic, forces us to be some of the best viticulturalists and wine makers in the world. We have no choice but to be the best…and we believe we are. Rappahannock Cellars has arguably one of the best, if not the best, wine making teams in Virginia; please see our team member bio’s and learn more about our unique background for more information,” wrote owner John Delmare on his website about his family run business.

There are two important non-family members….the winemaker and the vineyard manager. Jason Burrus is the winemaker. He studied Physical Chemistry at UC Davis and graduated with MS Food Science / Viticulture & Enology at Univ. of California, Davis 2001. He originally hails from St Louis, Missouri. Jason’s career includes 6 years in California where he pursued an MS degree and worked at several wineries in the Napa Valley, Sonoma Mountains, and Central Valley. He followed that with three years in Europe where he made wine in the Mediterranean island of Malta and consulted in the Eastern European country of Moldova. Jason and his wife moved to Virginia in 2006 and he is excited to be part of an up-and-coming region.

Tom Kelly is the Vineyard Manager. Originally from Cleveland, OH, Tom has 20 years in the Eastern wine industry. Tom began his wine career in the late 80’s at a winery in Eastern Pennsylvania as a field laborer. Soon he was supervising labor crews and operating tractors and other vineyard machinery. He later moved to Virginia where he continued his development into vineyard management and cellar operations. From 1993- 1997, he served as Vineyard Manager and Cellar Master at the (now closed) Totier Creek Winery in Charlottesville. He began with Rappahannock Cellars in March of 2004 as Vineyard Manager where he continues to hone his skills and improve grape quality for RC’s award winning wines.

“Grape growing in Virginia is a challenging and ever changing process,” says Tom. “Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, Mother Nature throws you a curveball and you find yourself having to re-adapt, yet again!”

While the whole family pitches in, these two guys are big drivers in Rappahannock’s drive to create great wine. And the wines, which I have liked over the years, have definitely gotten better and better. Rappahanock is one of those wineries that have improved over the years. There’s a lot of times that doesn’t happen in this industry. But the wines have continued to show more and more quality over the years.

Two I recently tasted were….

Viognier 2011 – This was a lovely wine with a big floral nose. A light, aromatic white wine with honeysuckle, tropical fruits, and a hint of oranges and lemons. A big, white wine, with lots of flavor, low acids, and a soft finish. 100% Viognier. 580 cases made.

Cabernet Franc Reserve 2010 This is a big red wine, California style with a whopping 15.4% alcohol, and big fruit up front. Super concentrated, with raspberry, cherry, and a hint of cassis, mixed with spice and a big pop of vanilla. This was a big wine, with lots of fruit, soft acid, and soft tannins. Made primarily from their estate Glenway Vineyard Cabernet Franc. 100% Cabernet Franc. 360 cases made.

Fantastic stuff! With older wines that improve with age, and new wines that continue to push the envelope, Rappahannock continues to excel!

Read my review of their 2000 Viognier at:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


In September of 2009 I wrote this series of articles about the pendulum between vinifera and hybrids. By turns the struggles between hybrid and vinifera have been swaying back and forth for more than 60 years on the east coast.

Phillip Wagner in the 1940s and 1950s was seen as the savior of eastcoast winemaking, introducing numerous hybrids that survived the often icy cold winters, prospered in the humid sweltering summers, and offered ripe fruit before the end of a truncated season.

Then Dr. Konstantin Frank proved the vinifera could in fact thrive, not just survive, in the north east, and proved it firt at Gold Seal champagne company, and then later at his own Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera WIne Cellars. A legion of loyal immitators included Herman J. Wiemer, followed his lead. Today, vinifera provide quality wine up and down the east coast.

Now, in a search for grapes to help define or at least separate themselves form the pack, winemakers are looking for hybrids, heirlooms, and newly developed strains from university programs from Cornell and Minnesota to help achieve this.

This three part series helps to piece together the story of this revolution and how it has created the modern wine movement.




Sunday, May 20, 2012

Annefield Vineyards Shows Committment and Style

I had not heard of Annefield Vineyards before the Taste Camp East 2012 grand tasting at Boxwood Vineyards. However, I must admit, finding them was a complete joy. While there, not only did I discover their luxurious wines, but had the pleasure to meet co-founder Stephen M. Ballard. Both were a very insightful and cordial moment!

Stephen M. Ballard and Michael T. Leary purchased Annefield in June, 2005. Since then they have completely renovated the house and grounds, and planted the first three-acre vineyard. The place is spectacular.

Like many people in viticulture, they came to it first with a love of wine. They have learned the business from the soil up, and have been hands-on with every aspect of winegrowing, from understanding soil composition, vine and rootstock selection, pruning, trellis building, and choosing equipment. They are responsible for the year-round cultivation and care of the vines and of the farm.

Stephen M. Ballard was pleasant and cordial, and chatty, all good things for a winemaker. Stephen provides the company strategic business and financial planning guidance, and day-to-day management of the vineyard and winery. Since establishing Annefield Vineyards in November 2005, Mr Ballard is an attorney with Heritage Title & Escrow Company in Washington, DC. His expertise includes zoning, planning, land use, historic preservation, and landlord and tenant law. Mr Ballard has studied all aspects of viticulture and winemaking since 2005, and manages the vineyards at Annefield following biodynamic principles. In 2009 he was elected a director and vice president of the Southern Virginia Wine Trail Association.

Michael T. Leary will be responsible for day-to-day tasting room operations and systems management and integration. He has spent the bulk of his career working in all aspects of customer service for a number of companies, and is now responsible for the development and integration of customer service computer systems for Sirius XM Satellite Radio in Washington, DC. He is also a long-time student of viticulture and winemaking, and directs the wine program at Annefield.

While they do not have a winery yet, (they are in the planning stages) they have assembled an all-star team t help make their dreams come true and make the best of all possible wines.

First, you start with the winemaker. They retained Virginia industry veteran Michael Shaps. With their first harvest in 2008, their retained award-winning winemaker Michael Shaps. Michael (who has is own brand under his namesake Michael Shaps)is the founder with Philip Stafford of Virginia Cellars, Virginia’s first custom crush facility, and their own label, Virginia Wineworks. For the past eight vintages Michael has created wines with careful attention to the details of fine wine production. The wines are produced with a traditional old-world style.Michael has earned over one hundred medals in local and national competitions.

As winemaker at King Family Vineyards in Crozet, Virginia, he won the coveted 2004 Virginia Governor’s Cup from a field of over 300 entries and received gold medals for his 2002 Michael Shaps Cabernet Franc and King Family Vineyards 2002 Meritage. Recently, Michael Shaps’ Virginia Wine Works 2005 Petit Verdot was a gold medal winner at the 2007 Virginia Governor’s Cup competition. Mr. Shaps has consulted on half-a-dozen start-up wineries and for over a dozen start-up wineries on the East coast.

Their winery consultant, Joyce Rigby of Rigby Consulting Services, has been involved in eastern viticulture since the 1980s when she and her husband, Stephen, began a vineyard and winemaking consulting firm in Virginia. She brought her experience in all aspects of vineyard establishment and management to North Carolina in 2000.
With a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, Joyce has over 15 years’ experience in project management, cost analysis, efficient process flow, and facility layout.

Their vineyard consultant is Paul J. Mierzejewski of PJM Vineyard Consulting. Paul’s vineyard experience began in 1980 when he was working on his bachelor's degree in Viticulture at California State University at Fresno. During this time he also worked at the Paul Mason Winery in the grower relations department, an opportunity that gave him valuable insight into the problems and issues facing local growers and exposure to the wide variety of grapes they produced. He received his Bachelor of Science in Viticulture in 1982 and moved to Virginia. Paul is past Vice President and Treasurer of the Virginia Vineyards Association and remains an active member. He has hosted several viticulture seminars on the technical aspects of vineyard management with Dr. Tony Wolf, State Viticulture Specialist and Dr. Bruce Zoecklein, Virginia State enologist. Paul is the Winemaker at Delfosse Vineyards & Winery in Faber, Virginia.

All this is to say, Annefield has a committment to making quality wine.

2009 Annefield Viognier - This was a lovely wine. A light, crisp white. Big nose up front, floral, with honeydew and grapefruit flavors as promised a hint of orange blossoms, honeysuckle, and lime. Nice hint of mineral notes. Nice finish with linger flavor of lime. Excellent!

2009 Annefield Cabernet Franc - This was a medium to dark colored dry red, with red, but also with a darker purpulish tint. Spice, raspberry and a hint of plum all came through. Also a touch of earthiness to it...a hint of mocha? Defintely a whiff of vanilla. Nice big fruit up front, soft tannins on the back side, low acidity. Still, very nicely structured. Very, very pretty wine! This wine won a gold at the 2011 State Fair of VA Wine Competition.

The wines are as spectacular as the estate itself. And it seems like from here, that Annefield Vineyards produice wines stylish wines, will have someday a stylish new winery, and will be a winery to watch out for in the future. Congrats on all fronts!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Jack's Hard Cider from Hauser Estate WInery (PA) Fantastic!

Cider is one of those beverages that I absolutely have to have. I love the dry to semi-sweet sparkling hard ciders one finds on the east coast from Maine all the way down to Virginia, and of course out to Washington and Oregon. One of the places I rarely think of when I am thinking of cider is Pennsylvania. True, home of the whiskey rebellion, and home to so many great brewers and brewing traditions…but cider? Not usually.

And I don’t specifically think of Biglerville, Pennsylvania when I think about cider either. Call me odd. Call me peculiar. But the history of Jack’s Hard Cider is a fascinating one.

The fertile soil of Pennsylvania’s farm land in fact provides a home to the thousands of trees that produced millions of apples every season. A majority of America’s apples come from communities in Adams County Pennsylvania. Jack’s story begins in 1907, when John S. Musselman, Sr. and his two sons, John Jr. and Christian High, purchased the Biglerville Canning Company. After a successful first year, Christian H. Musselman began building a second canning facility in Gardners, Pa. The plant was up and running by 1913. This new plant, and the original one in Biglerville, provided much needed canned goods for the servicemen during World War I, including corn, tomatoes, and sliced apples.

Musselman’s success and the growth that followed quickly. John (Jack) A. Hauser was hired into the distribution department in 1934, during the depression. He married a local woman, having met her while they both attended Temple University. John then rose through the departments within the processing plant until he was positioned to take over the company.

In 1944, Mr. Musselman passed away and Jack Hauser stepped in as president. Through Jack’s tireless efforts, Musselman’s became a household name across the country with apple products of all types on virtually every grocery store shelf.

Jack Hauser, and his wife, Helen (now 100 years old!) endowed the Hauser family with orchards, farmland and an estate for future generations to continue in their tradition of world class agriculture.

On July 22nd, 2008, Hauser Estate Winery opened its doors as an alternative agri-tourism venture in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. In the fall of 2008, Hauser’s first bottle of hard cider rolled off the bottling line and was labeled “Jack’s” in memory of the great man who made it all possible.

The completely under-ground, naturally cool (55 degree) winery & cidery, churns out thousands of gallons of Jack’s Hard Cider per year. Each batch starts as apples skillfully grown and tended to by our farm manager Lee Wagner. Their juice is then carefully crafted by our Cider-maker and is filtered slowly to maintain flavor and a high level of smoothness for which our product has been noted. Jack’s Hard Cider awaits maturity in state of the art stainless steel tanks, is bottled on-site and rests for a short period to allow for “bottle shock” to wear away.

I first came across Jack's Hard Cider while out in Lancaster, PA, while attending the Eastern Wineries Expo some time back. I have to admit, the packaging caught my eye first. Fantastic package. They bottle to look like beer, whether in green glass bottle (like the beer of old Latrobe) or in a beer can. But the design on the can is so cool. so simple and forthright, it's amazing. Secondly, the taste is wonderful. Crisp, clean, lean. Lots of bright acidity, none of the mustiness that can sometimes accopany a cider. Nothing but fresh, ripe apples, a great nose of baked bread and fresh apples like a freshly baked pie.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Howard Bursen Continues to Amaze at Sharpe Hill (CT)

Sharpe Hill Vineyard is the award winning winery in Connecticut's Quiet Corner! I cannot lie, I have been a fan if this winery since I first started driving around tasting wines in the late 80s and early 90s. Sharpe Hill Vineyard has received over 250 medals in International tastings and is located in the town of Pomfret - just minutes from scenic Route 169 and from the Putnam Antiques District.

The winemaker is industry veteran Howard Bursen. Howard has been making great wines in Connecticut for more than 25 years, and should be seen as not only one of the elder statesmen of east coast winemaking, but one of the most accomplished. While his North Fork brethren on Long Island seem to get all the ink in the big newspapers, Howard has toiled away in the qiet backwaters of the Connecticut wine industry. Howard has worked with Sharpe Hill to produce wines which have received over 80 awards for excellence in national and international competitions. He has over 25 years of hands-on experience in all phases of winery and vineyard operation.

I recently had the Sharpe Hill 2010 Vineyard Reserve Chardonnay. It was light, crisp delicate, and Burgundian in style. This was beautiful wine with green apple, tropical notes, and a lovely whiff of vanilla. A fabulous wine!

I can't say enough nice things about this wine, and we can;t say enough nice things about Howard's accomplishments in east coast winemaking, and his contributions that establishment over the last 25 years. Congrats to Sharpe Hill and to Howard!

Glass House Winery Is a Nice Surprise (VA)

When I first came upon Glass House, I was surprised on a number of levels. The bottles are decorated with pineaaples and have an almost tropical look to them. They stand out. But the colors are very bright, and fun. You're not sure if this is going to be serious wine or picnic wine. It's beautifully designed and packaged, but the bright colors threw me off. Well, let's get it straight right from the start - Glass House Winery is serious about wine.

Glass House Winery is a boutique winery in the heart of the Monticello Wine Trail in central Virginia. They craft artisan wines made solely from grapes grown on our property and in our region. They currently have 6 acres under vine. Owners Jeff and Michelle Sanders moved to Virginia in 2006. They were awed by the lush landscape, the beauty of the Blue Ridge and the friendliness of the people. While searching for a way to marry Jeff’s botanical skills with Michelle’s love of creating unique chocolates, the couple discovered Virginia’s promising wine industry. It was a perfect match and Glass House Winery was born.

Viognier – 100% Viognier grapes estate grown. Wonderfully aromatic. Some of this wine was made in stainless steel, some in American oak, and some in French oak. Pineapple, citrus, and other tropical aromas come through. Whifss of vanilla. Absolutely a fantastic viognier!! A wonderful surprise!

Barbera - 100% Barbera grapes estate grown. The wine is made using the same techniques when making the Italian favorite, Amarone, where the grapes are tried toward the stages of raisining, giving the wine a much more intense flavor and water evaporates form the grape living highly concentrated sugars and flavors.The wine is a dark color, with big fruit flavor up front of tart blackberry and cassis. There's also a smoky overtone to the wine with hints of leather and cedar. Nicely balanced, with medium acids, and low tannins. Very, very nice, sophisticated dry red wine, with nice lingering flavors. Another nice surprise.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

David Falchek Covers Dr. Frank's 50th Anniversary in Edible Finger Lakes

David Falchek is a friend, and I like his writing a lot. This is an oft told tale, and it's still good reading.

Pick up your copy of Spring 2012 Edible Finger Lakes today!

Congrats to Fred Frank and to the staff at Dr. Frank's and to David! Great job!

You're Family at Gadino Cellars (VA)

I discovered this wine at the Taste Camp East 2012 grand tasting at Boxwood. As I made my way around the table, I came upon these wines and also met a new friend.

Gadino Cellars leads off their own story with the Italian word, “Piacere!” – We are pleased to meet you. When you sample Gadino, you become part of the family. Bill Gadino and Aleta Saccuta Gadino, who share a similar Italian family background, made their first amateur vintage in 1983. Following their immigrant grandfathers' footprints, they made a "hearty" backyard Zinfandel. Following a move to the East Coast in 1984, Bill arranged for grapes to be shipped from California. This “Gadino Vino,” crafted in the cellar of their home, continued to improve each vintage year.

Several years later, the emerging Virginia wine market caught their attention with the ever-improving quality of a handful of new wineries. In 1989, harboring a dream of someday operating our own commercial winery, they purchased fifteen acres of land in Rappahannock County, Virginia. They began planting vines.

They built a home in 2002 on their Rappahannock County property. Ground was broken for Gadino Cellars in April 2004. The cellar was carved out of the hillside to maintain a more constant temperature for wine production. With only days to spare before their 2004 harvest, the construction of the cellar was completed.

By choice, Gadino Cellars produces under 1500 cases of wine per year. They are focused on making quality wine. At Gadino, it's a family endevour: daughter, Stephanie is Assistant Winemaker & Tasting Room Manager and and Derek, their son-in-law is Operations Manager.

Now, as I went to taste this wine, I was bumping shoulders with a tall gentleman and his lovely wife. Aftr a cheery glass of Gadino Cellars Pinot Grigio, I got to talking with him, he was Kurt Jensen, and his bride was Carol Jensen. Kurt and Carol love visiting wineries, and Kurt is an avid blogger, who publishes the website

Here are my thoughts on the wines:

2011 Pinot Grigio - A very classic example of a Pinot Grigio. The nose is big and floral and tropical, with a hint of vamilla to it. And the flavor was outstanding, with nice apples and melons up front followed by a puckery bright citrus ending. A fantastic Pinot Grigio.

2010 Antiche Viti Riserva Cabernet Franc - This was a bold, beautiful Cabernet Franc. Dark stewed fruits of blackberry, raspberry and cherry up front. There was not too much acid and not too big on tannin. This was a big dark fruit fruit bomb with overtones of mocha and spice. Maybe a hint of cedar and a good dose of vanilla. Very, very nice.

2009 Petit Verdot - I'm a sucker here. I love Petite Verdot, and this was a nice one. Big, big dark fruit here. Hints of blackberry, dark cherry, dark raspberry, and a touch of cassis. The wine is big up front, but the flavor lingers with just enough tannin, and beeeautiful overtones of vanilla, cocoa, and other exotic spices. And the fruit just lingers on. A big, beautiful dry red. Delicious!

After this tasting Kurt and Carol and I shatted uite often as we walked through the Taste Camp East 2012 events together, even sharing down time collapsing in the hotel lobby, and sharing some laughs o the evening of the final grand tasting. But it all started wwith a glass of Gadino!

Great job, Bill and Aleta, Stephanie and Derek!

You can read some of Kurt's Posts About Virginia wine at: