A Virginia Red that Merits a Look

I will be the first to say that I have tasted red wines at a good handful of Virginia Wineries. And usually, I’m not all the impressed. We don’t have a fantastic climate here for some red grapes, it’s hard to get some to ripen before the cold sets in. However, I have recently had a few Virginia Pinot Noirs, and I must say, they are really coming along.

Last night I served Roz of Beadimous‘ Zuppa Toscana (Matt really loved it and requested it again this soon!). Last time, we drank a Roederer Pinot Noir with it one night and I thought it was a good match. I figured I’d try again with this bottle of 2005 Pinot Noir from Swedenburg Winery. We picked this up at Swedenburg a few weeks ago for $18, it has a real cork closure and is 12% alcohol by volume.

I found ripe raspberries in the nose and mouth of this wine. It also had undertones of strawberries and spices (mostly black pepper) in the mouth. It was smooth and delicate and I thought it paired very well with the creamy and slightly spicy soup. A very light wine in the mouth and a great effort for a red from Virginia. Overall, it had flavors kind of like a subtle (if that’s possible) raspberry jolly rancher.

Matt wasn’t such a fan, he found it sharp, which I thought was odd, the flavors seemed very smooth to me and the finish was simple and easy


Drinking VA Wines

Last night we drank one of the bottles we picked up at Swedenburg Vineyards. First, I have to say that I love the fact that the label was drawn by a 10 year old Swedenburg family member. It’s adorable and a really cute touch.

The wine was a 2005 C’est La Vie, A Rose. 12% alcohol by volume, real cork closure and cost us $10 (it was on special, usually is $12, but if you bought 3 it was only ten). A very dry rose, but a style I really enjoy. Many roses tend to be a little too sweet for my tastes, so I’m always happy to run across a nice dry one. This one displays good strawberry and raspberry flavors and would make a great porch sipping wine.

I served with with ham and cheese omlettes, a little bit odd, but Matt offered to cook last night and omlettes are his speciality. It actually wasn’t a bad match, especially with the ham in the omlettes.

Visiting Virginia Vineyards #4

The first stop we made on our visit to Virginia Wine Country last weekend was to Swedenburg Vineyards. You drive up a one lane road to the tasting room(so be careful, you need to pull over if you meet anyone else). The tasting room is not too big and it looks new, though the woman in the tasting room (I think she was the owner?) said they had been there for 25 years, but I think she might have misunderstood my question!

A tasting at Swedenburg costs $3, which is not too bad of a fee, though they don’t refund with purchase either. They were tasting five wines on Monday, all of which were very well done in my opinion, and all of which were excellent values, with the most expensive being $20. This is the 7th vineyard we have visited in Virginia and overall, I was most impressed with the consistent quality of the wines here.

Here’s the run-down of wines tasted:
Reisling- Very reserved fruit on this, but good apple tones. Not too sweet at all and would be an easy wine to start an evening with. Good structure, and quite a value at $15 a bottle.

Chantilly- This was an excellent off-dry bottle of wine. Very aromatic, with a floral nose. Pear in the mouth. Easy to drink and would go well either on it’s own or with a light white fish. A bargain at $12 a bottle. We took home two.

C’est La Vie (Rose)- Easily the star of the show here. We really liked this bottle of wine. A very dry rose with a good strawberry and raspberry character. We took home 3 botttles and will hopefully be sipping this one on our own porch come this summer! Fantastic value at $12.

Pinot Noir- Pepper and spices on the nose of this of this one with a hint of oak. Reserved berry flavor in the mouth. One of the best done reds I’ve tasted in Virginia to date. Not a bad deal at $18 a bottle, we took home one.

Cabernet Sauvignon-This would be good with a steak. It was a bigger bodied wine and could easily stand up to a nice pepper grilled steak.

We were the only visitors in the tasting room on Monday morning. The owner was quite quiet at first, but she warmed up to us after she saw that I was really taking notes on the wines. I then explained, as best I could, how I was going to do a write-up of the vineyard for my website. Then she was eager to tell me more about the vineyard and she even gave me her recipe for mulled wine. It was quite cold in the tasting room, which was odd because it was so warm out!! I recommend a visit to Swedenburg highly.

Visited Two Virginia Vineyards Today

I went with our original plan and we stopped by Swedenburg Winery and Chrysalis Vineyards. I was going to check out Dezel from Virginia Vinespot‘s suggestions, but only one of them was open today. So we will have to save that trip for a weekend! We had a very nice day, though I’m exhausted since we started early with a trip to see some more houses with our real estate agent (I think we found one!!). The weather here is unseasonably warm, high 60s to low 70s, but sadly not too sunny. Here’s a picture from Chrysalis, I’ll post reviews tomorrow!