17 June 2010

Vintage Virginia Part 2

Since the part one post I was informed that the Vintage Virginia wine festival was not in some random field in the middle of nowhere Virginia. It was indeed in Centerville at Bull Run, a site of infamy from the Civil War. The park itself, is however, a field in Centerville, Virginia which might as well be the middle of nowhere.

Continuing on with the wine! When we last left Lauren and me, we had tasted wine from three different wineries, sampled some oil, looked at some arts and crafts, and were feeling pretty darn pleased. Next to receive our favor was the James River Cellars Winery. At James River we sampled eight wines:
  •  2008 chardonnay which was stainless steel aged. Hurrah for that, it's the only way I like a chard. Decent wine.
  • 2008 vidal blanc was vidal blacy-nothing incredibly special about it though
  • 2007 chardonnel was very smooth. I'm thinking that I only rated it a 3 (out of 10) on my tasting sheet because of the 'banana aroma.' I'll bet you can't guess whether or not I like bananas.
  • I made no notes about the 2008 Rad Red which more than likely means that I neither hated it nor loved it but wouldn't spit it out if someone offered me a glass.
  • The 2008 Hanover was a nice red. I circled 'cedar' in the description which probably meant that I could taste it but did not feel as though I were licking the inside of a cedar closet.
  • The 2008 chambourcin was lovely. We actually tasted this one twice. Once room temperature (i.e 500 degrees) and again chilled. Chambourcins are sweet reds so it was definitely better chilled. I gave it a 7 and possibly would have gone back to buy some later had I not been loaded down with so many loose papers that I lost it in the jumble.
  • The 2008 Montpelier Blush also received no notes from me which is unsurprising given my general disdain of blush wines.
  • The 2008 Divino, their dessert wine, was lovely. It was somewhat floral which was not off-putting but a wee odd. I prefered the chambourcin though.
Next we wandered over to the Villa Appalaccia Winery. For the most part I was unimpressed with the wine. The pino grigio was meh, as pino grigios tend to be. The "Simpatico" (It really is in quotation marks. I have no idea why.) was a blend of whites that fell in the "it's ok; I wouldn't spit it out" category. Then there was the rose. We've just discussed my dislike for rose/blush wines and this one was made with sangiovese. Why? Why on earth and in the name of all humanity would you do that to a sangiovese?! The sangiovese grape is sacred (or at least it should be) and this was a travesty. Shame. For shame. Onto the reds then. The Primitivo remaines a bit of a mystery to me. The man working the counter was a bit too 'hurry up and slug this all back and I have no time to actually talk to you' for my taste so I have no idea what kind of grape was in the Primitivo.  Then the "Toscanello" (again with the quotation marks) which was a blend of cab franc, sangiovese, and the inscrutable primitivo. I was tentatively looking forward to trying it as a) I like blends and b) sagiovese. Sigh. My dreams of an excellent blend were dashed like, um, well like so many things that get dashed. Next (and at this point I was worried about next) was their cab franc. It was oaky. That is the sum total of my notes. We finished off the tour of red with an Aglianico. I recall being unimpressed.

Villa Appalaccia saved itself for me though in their two dessert wines. Their raspberry was lovely. I prefered the Horton Cellars version but Lauren was quite taken with this one. Then there was the "Allegra." It was like heavens had opened up and the sun was doing that cool visible ray shining down thing it is often wont to do with an accompanying chorus of Bacchian angels. I'm really quite serious. The "Allegra" is a prosecco-style wine and I found it odd how much I liked it. Prosecco is usually considered the alternate for people who do not like champagnes (i.e. me). I have full-on dislike of most champagnes because other than a wee thimblefull of them, they're all either sec or brut and make me sick within mere sips. In theory then I should like prosecco which is a sweeter sparkling wine. True to my contradictory nature, I do not like them as I think they're too dry. However, true to my statement from yesterday that I'll try anything at least once, I dutifully held out my glass for a splash of the "Allegra" and...

I bought a bottle.

The third stop of part two was at the AmRhein Wine Cellars. They stood out right away for having the most innovative, eye-catching costuming.

(Lauren's pic)

Aren't those fantastic? They're decorated paper grocery bags. AmRhein followed through the promise from the hats with an excellent selection of wines. Of which we bought three. The first three whites, a pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, and viognier were all pretty decent. Of the three I liked the viognier the best but then I tend to like viogniers. The next four whites were all great. The Saffire was a nice drinkable blend of whites but it was the Traminette that took the cake. The tropical fruit overtones combined well with the sweetness from the German-style of winemaking. They followed with a Petit Manseng which was very pleasant with a variety of fruit flavors. The last white was beautiful....the Vin de Peche was, as one might expect, very peachy. I loved it. Loved it loved it loved it.

Then the reds. The Aglianico was a spicey wine made from a grape that the Italians apparently borrowed from the Greeks. Much better than Villa Appallacia's. The cab sauv was cab sauvy as they tend to be and the merlot was...well...merlot. Sigh. The signature AmRhein wine was a petit verdot which was very spicey but in a good way. It was, however, the Melange that caught our attention. I totally cannot remember why we loved it so much...but I know we were mad for it. Whatever it was it was great and you should buy one. Or maybe two and come visit us and bring one. The Verdana had a big flavor and probably would go well with chocolate (although that's like saying that cheese would go well with wine because you should always have one or the other or both with wine). The last red, the Ruby completely threw me off. I've mentioned a few times now already that I don't like blushes...but this...I think it was the raspberry flavor that won me over. We also discovered that our very favorite STC usher was volunteering as a wine pourer at AmRhein which made us like them even more.

All thumbs up for AmRhein! Go visit. They're located in Bent Mountain, VA.

Seriously I'm not making up the names of these cities.

Then we took a brief break to marvel at misspellings and incorrect punctuation and wonder why in the world, as a professional company, you would do that. Spot the mistakes:

While it was not our last stop of the day...the Peaks of Otter Winery was definitely a show stopping tasting. It's not like the wine was mind blowingly fantastic, but it was insanely fun and creative. First up, the Pure Passion, a wine made out of passion fruit juice. We bought a bottle and enjoyed it on the spot.

All of it.

Next was the Blue Ridge Mountain Grape, the Strawberry Shortcake, and the "breakfast" wine, the Blueberry Muffin. I joke about these even less than the crazy Virginia city names. The Mango-Tango was pleasantly juicy (ha ha, pun intended) followed by the Sweet Heart which was a mix of apple and pomegranite and then a nice sangria. That's when it got really fun. I know, like strawberry shortcake wine isn't already fun and unusual? The Salty Frog is a margarita flavored wine and we did the tasting with the salt on the hand and everything. We ended up buying a bottle for the sheer fun of it. Then the Chilli Dawg. 3% chili and 97% apple wine. We did the tasting by first licking easy cheese off our hands. That combined with the wine and it was like having pepper jack cheese in your mouth!

(Lauren's pic)

Then...there was the Kiss the Devil. If you're hearing ominous dun dun dun-style music in your head there's a reason. Peaks of Otter says that this wine, made from 30 different types of peppers (30!) is better for basting than tasting and boy howdy are they not kidding. I think there were about five minutes there when I could not feel that my mouth was an actual mouth. It was more like I had a pit of BURNING FIRE where my mouth should be. We got stickers for trying it and not dying.

(Lauren's pic)

Peaks of Otter, which is sadly like four hours away from us, it totally worth a visit. They have 31 flavors of wine including, wait for it:

Pumpkin pie

Apple Truffle

Cherry Cherry Cheesecake

It's like Baskin Robbins for adults.

So I don't have another picture of Lauren and me. By the end of the day (i.e. 4:00 when we couldn't take it anymore) we were not quite as pleased with ourselves as we were at the end of part one. The 600 degree heat which only got worse when the sun started bursting out of the clouds to beat down mercilessly on us and humidity that could only be compared to being in a steam room in the middle of a rain forest had done us in. So I will leave you and the end of our Vintage Virginia tour with a picture of something almost as good as one of Lauren and me.

Chocolate covered cheesecake and banana.

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