Enjoy some of our Wine Tasting Notes from Virginia Wineries. It’s a tough job, I know, but we’re willing to consume a bottle each week and share with you our thoughts. If you have recommendations, send it in and we’ll add it to our list. If it’s a bottle we don’t necessarily have easy access to, we’ll gladly accept donations!
- 2016 Cabernet Franc by Greenhill Vineyards
- 2014 Blaufränkisch Reserve by Otium Cellars
- 2014 Tradition Red Blend by Blue Valley Vineyards
- 2015 Reserve Chardonnay by The Vineyards & Winery at Lost Creek
- 2015 Chambourcin by Fabbioli Cellars
- 2015 Cabernet Franc Classic by The Winery at LaGrange
- 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon by Pearmund Cellars
2016 Cabernet Franc
9 December 2018
Next up is a bottle from Greenhill Vineyards in Middleburg. The one thing we see plenty of in Virginia is Cab Franc. Rewind 10+ years ago and I was not a fan of Virginia Cab Franc. I felt it tasted too much like dirt and the fruit profile too cheery-dominated. As the VA wine industry has boomed, so has the attention to detail in wines and the improved quality is a result.
Greenhill’s 2016 Cab Franc is a fun and lively wine, but not overly complex. Off the nose, Black Cherry and Tobacco present, and on the pallet, they are reinforced with some cranberry and subtle hints of earth and mineral. This medium-bodied wine goes down smooth and fast. Thankfully the flavors linger or else it’d be one that is consumed too quickly.
Greenhill’s Cab Franc’s have been consistent throughout the years and always a pleasure. We eagerly await for much-lauded 2017 vintage.
2014 Blaufränkisch Reserve
7 December 2018
This week’s wine comes to us from Otium Cellars in Purcellville, VA. I visited this place a few years ago and wanted to come back because of their unique varietals as the owner focuses on wines from Austria and Germany. One of the more famous ones is Blaufränkisch, which is a parent grape to the more famous Gamay.
This Medium + bodied wine has sat for a while so the tannins have mellowed but still pronounced. The acidity is on the Medium + level as well. The flavor profile is dominated by Blackberry and some Black Cherry in terms of fruit and the non-earth include dark chocolate and some spice that I could quite place. Allspice maybe. Definitely hints of Black Pepper. Very well balanced, complex, but not overpowering.
I’m very happy with this wine and most Red Wines we have tried from Otium. We decanted this wine and let it sit for about an hour before drinking and it was well worth the wait. The only thing that makes me sad is that this was the only bottle we picked up on that visit over a year ago. Looking forward to trying new vintages.
2014 Tradition Red Blend
1 November 2017
This week’s wine comes to us from Blue Valley Vineyard in Delaplane, VA. Kris and I were on a tasting circuit one day and it was on our list. We tasted a number of different wines that day and brought a bottle home of their 2014 Tradition Red Blend. This wine is dominated by the Merlot and Cab Franc grapes but adds a little Syrah to the mix to get us Virginians thinking as Syrah is not the most common grape in Virginia wines.
This medium to medium+ bodied wine is dominated by its blackberry notes. There are other fruits to be picked up like plum, black cherry, and even some raspberry…a pleasant profile of fruit.
What I enjoyed on the finish is the slight hints of caramel. The sweetness works well for this bottle, but it’s not overpowering. For those that enjoy a fair amount of tannins, you’ll enjoy this wine as there are plenty.
We tried this wine straight out of the bottle as well as letting it sit for a bit in the decanter. It was definitely a more balanced wine when decanted and allowed to breathe, but I really enjoyed it fresher out of the bottle as it was more pronounced on the pallet.
2015 Reserve Chardonnay
25 October 2017
This week’s varietal comes to us from The Vineyards & Winery at Lost Creek in Leesburg. Since the previous three week’s wines have been Virginia Reds, we decided to switch gears a bit and opted for their 2015 Reserve Chardonnay.
First thing first, this is a wine club only release, and at this time, I’m unable to divulge our sources as we are not members This wine presents itself with a strong green apple nose indicating an earlier harvest and staying clear of the sweeter, tropical characteristics. On the pallet, it remained consistent adding some floral hints of honeysuckle.
A welcomed punch of acidity is present for those that enjoy a Chardonnay that isn’t overly oaked and having gone through too much Malolactic Fermentation, but for those that do, you won’t be disappointed either as those characteristics are still present in a far more balanced way than many other Chardonnays.
For someone that isn’t typically a Chardonnay fan, this is one worth grabbing a bottle or two…or three as it really stands out compared to a number of others tried here in Virginia.
18 October 2017
This week’s wine comes to us from Fabbioli Cellars in Leesburg. We tasted at Fabbioli a couple months ago and purchased a few bottles of our favorites during the visit. I really enjoyed the tasting because they offer bite-sized nibbles to pair with the wine…we will definitely be going back again, so watch for a future post about that visit. Back to this week’s taste, we opened the 2015 Chambourcin.
I couldn’t remember anything about this wine from when we originally tried it, but in fairness, I think Fabbioli was the third stop on a wine tasting adventure over the summer. Since we bought two bottles I assumed there was something we really liked about it. The wine was medium bodied with a nose presenting cherry and a light sweetness. “Hello, Cherry!” Were the first words from Kris after his initial taste and I couldn’t have said it better. It was followed by light pepper, chocolate, and minimal tannins.
After the first sip, we also agreed that it was sweeter than we remembered and expected from the nose. Typically, I am not a fan of sweet reds, but this was not sugary sweet but more of a bomb of cherries in your mouth and I found it an interesting wine. This wine from the nose to pallet was nearly identical, aside from the sweetness, which makes me characterize it as a not very complex wine.
Overall, I would say it was very good and I would like to pair the other bottle we have with some spicy food, but I think we are going to let it sit for a little while to see if the simplicity evolves a little with some age.
2015 Cabernet Franc Classic
11 October 2017
This week’s taste comes from The Winery at LaGrange in Haymarket. The 2015 Cab Franc was definitely a surprise in a bottle. Everything you’d usually expect from a Virginia Cab Franc was just a little different with this wine.
The wine was dry, not very earthy or fruit forward and very delicate. Kris really enjoyed it right from the start but it took a few sips before I could get past the disappointment. Now I wasn’t disappointed in the flavor mind you…it was more the fact that I picked the bottle this week and was looking forward to the earthiness you expect from Virginia Cab Francs.
Once I reconciled my palate’s expectations with what I was tasting I really enjoyed the wine. If we were doing a blind test I think I actually would have guessed this was a blend with some Petite Verdot. I am curious now if we had left in on the shelf a while how it would have developed…perhaps we will have to visit again soon for another bottle.
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
4 October 2017
This week we decided to try a bottle we picked up over the summer while tasting at Pearmund Cellars. The 2015 Cab Sav started off as a medium-to-large-bodied red with minimal complexity but after letting it sit in the decanter for a couple hours it really opened up with notes of vanilla and black cherry balanced by a fair amount of tannin and a velvety texture.
Definitely could have in the cellar another year or two to allow those tannins to mellow and some of the non-fruit flavors to surface.