Drinking VA Wines

We opened one of the bottles we picked up at Chrysalis Vineyards this weekend. I made Leah from DC Gastronome‘s salmon and roasted potatoes and with our recent heat wave, we were in the mood for a nice light white.

The wine was a 2005 Sarah’s Patio White. It cost $13, doesn’t appear to have an alcohol content on the label (I thought that was required by law?) and had a real cork closure. On the nose this wine was very floral with a hint of sweet pear.

This is a blend of vidal blanc, chardonnay and viognier. In the mouth it was sweet with pear and apricots, but with enough structure and acidity to hold it together. It makes a very good sipping wine and was easy to drink and enjoy.

The blend worked well for me, and in some ways reminded me of the flavor of a muscat grape. Overall, it paired okay with dinner, though with the corn, bbq sauce and chicken stock falvoring the salmon I think I would have really liked a nice crisp white with it (perhaps the sauvignon blanc we had at Butterfield 9 the other night) because the flavors seemed creamy to me.

A good value, and we picked up two more bottles, so I’ll be drinking those this summer!

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Decisions, Decisions

Upon perusing our credit card statement, it came to Matt’s attention that we spend a good chunk of our income on wine. Since we are planning to buy a house, we really need to get our spending in check. The bulk of what we spend on wine comes through our club shipments. And while I love all of them for different reasons, even I will admit that shipping wine across the United States direct to my door is not very cost effective. Most of the wines themselves are priced reasonably enough, it’s the shipping costs that are killing the cost effectiveness. When a $50 shipment of wine costs $84 because of shipping, we’ve got an issue. Additionally, we went a little nuts when we discovered the idea of wine clubs and got in over our heads. I think the best solution is for us to keep the ones we love the most and stock up by reordering the club shipment wines if we like them at a discount and with the splitting the shipping cost option that some often offer (Matt said I need to cut immediately). In alphabetical order, here are our clubs:

Alderbrook
Bella
De la Montanya
Ferrari-Carano
Fritz
Hanna
Hop Kiln
Marimar
Mauritson
Nelson Family
Quivira
Roshambo

If we kept them all, we end up with around 127 bottles shipped to our house per year with approximately 42 shipments. And really, it’s the shipping costs that are killing us. Each shipment has an average of around $30 in shipping costs. So we’re talking around $1300 a year just in shipping costs. $1300 is a lot of wine that we could buy. Some of these are going to be easier to cut than others because I can find some of them in the stores here (not many though) which I didn’t realize when we joined since I didn’t move to this area until after we came home from California. I need to pick between 4-6 to cut. Anyone have any suggestions, if you are at all familiar with any of these? Or in other words, make my decision easier!

Today is WBW #29

I almost forgot that it was today, which would have been a shame since I went out and bought a bottle specially for it! Thanks to Huevos con Vino for reminding me (overachiever, he already has his post up! 🙂 ).

So the deal is, drink a bottle of biodynamically produced wine and post the review today. Then submit your link and other pertinent info as specified to Fork and Bottle at some point today. There’s still time to go out and pick up a bottle if you want to participate.

The days are slipping my mind this week, as we had Monday off and Friday is my regular day off, today just doesn’t feel like Wednesday (plus, I’m planning a dinner party for Matt’s co-workers on Friday, so I’m a touch distracted!).

Visiting Virginia Vineyards #3

This gray and dreary day found us heading out to the “country” in Virginia to check out some of the local vineyards and wines. Our second stop of the day was Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg, VA. Overall, this vineyard was a very inviting place to visit. It had a huge patio with tables and chairs (which were actually full because despite the gray day, the weather was so warm for January!) and even an area where you can grill your own food and picnic. The tasting room is surrounded by the vineyards and gorgeous property.

Now, an overall comment and gripe. I have no problem with tasting fees. However, I feel stongly that they should be refunded or taken off the cost of a bottle when you buy. Especially if they are hefty. Here, it cost $5 for the regular tasting and $10 for the reserve, with no discount or refund. And also came with a glass. Which we left there because really, the LAST thing we need is another wine glass. We went for the reserve tasting since we were all the way out there.

The tasting room was crowded, but the staff was very friendly. They did their tastings in shifts, so you had to wait for the group to gather and everyone to pay, then they had about ten of us taste at the same time. I guess we hit it at a busy time of the day, we had to wait for a group to finish and there was another group waiting to start when we were done.

The regular tasting had 6 wines.

2005 Viognier-Easily the star of the show here. However, very steeply priced in my opinion at $29 a bottle and $8.50 a glass! This was a tart, crisp wine that was floral and displayed apricots on the nose with apple, apricot and a little pear in the mouth. I think this would be excellent with a spicy thai dish.

2004 Chardonnay- Aged in old oak, this was a smooth, tart chardonnay. There was almost no evidence of oak on this one. There were apples on the nose, peaches in the mouth and quite reserved overall.

2004 Mariposa- Amber in color, which I found odd in a rose, This was light and dry with flavors of cherries.

2005 Sarah’s Patio White- The best value of the day, at $13 a bottle we took home 3. A mix of vidal blanc, chardonnay and viognier, this had a fruity nose, is sweet but not cloying with pear and good structure.

2003 Rubiana-This is made in the style of a Rioja, but overall didn’t do much for me. There were currants and it was peppery and served too warm.

2003 Norton Estate Blend- Made with 75% Norton grapes, I got dirt and wood, red berries with a big body. A good value at $16.

The Reserve tasting included a bigger wine glass and 5 extra wines, all of which were quite pricey.

2003 Norton Locksley Reserve-This was bigger than the Estate Norton, mmore fruit on the nose, a bigger body with currants and hints of earth.

2005 Norton Barrel Select-The only wine made of 100% Norton, or the “American Grape.” I thought this smelled like grape juice. It was floral, but also a lot of grape jam, raspberry and quite light in the mouth.

2004 Papillon- Composed of Tannat and Petit Verdot, Matt said this was like drinking a glass of steak. I got meat and new leather.

2003 Petit Verdit-I got cherry blossoms on the nose, but not much in the mouth. This was tannic, it made me pucker.

2004 Petit Manseng- A dessert wine made in the ice wine style. It was thick and golden in color, tasted like drinking a honeysuckle flower with a hint of mango.

Overall, I thought the white wines were very well done. Chyrsalis produces 10,000 cases of wine a year, but I asked them how, if at all the the new VA laws are effecting them. And since they are so large, it isn’t. They already have a distributor and won’t really feel any effect since they do most distribution through in tasting room sales, distributors and their VIP program.

Fun to visit, but pick an off time or day. It was crowded and I would have liked to stay with a glass of wine, but the patio was packed as well.