Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Loudoun Farm Tour: 8 Chains North & Corcoran Vineyards

On the second day of the Loudoun Farm Tour, we were able to escape to the country in attempt to visit Corcoran Vineyards. We had heard rumors that Jim and Lori had released two new wines during Virginia Wine Month. However, while traveling on Route 9 we were sidetracked after seeing the Open sign for 8 Chains North Winery. We have intended to visit this new winery for sometime now, first knowing that well known and respected grower Ben Renshaw was the proprietor and second, after reading many positive reviews. Renshaw manages two of Loudoun County's most respected vineyards, Nevaeh and Tranquility and viewers of Episode 1 of MyJoogTV with filmed at Tarara Winery may recall that the NoVA series wines we tasted were made primarily from grapes harvested from these vineyards. And please visit their website to learn the history of 8 Chains North.

Upon entering the tasting room I immediately became exciting when finding a very rare species on the tasting sheet. A Virginia grown Blau Frankisch - from what I know, they only one if its kind. This is a very popular grape in central and eastern Europe and we actually covered it in our Wine 101 series so long ago. We discovered it in Hungary, near Sopron, where its called Kékfrankos and makes full bodied, tannic, spicy wines. In the United States, its planting is limited to the Northwest, the Finger Lake, and pockets here and there. But now in Virginia, hurray, and not just at any vineyard, the famed Tranquility vineyard. The Otium Cellars Blau Frankisch was recently bottled and will mellow with age; currently its not as tannic as most and quite smooth already. But there's plenty of fruit, as expected - from the nose to the tail. I still can't get over the thought of having a Blaufränkisch so close to home.

We took our Blaufränkisch and headed to our final destination, Corcoran Vineyards. For Virginia Wine Month, Lori Corcoran had aged her traditional Cabernet Franc in Red Oak. Once again, the first of its kind in Virginia; and not just any Red Oak - Virginia Red Oak. The wine is very fruit forward; of course, since that is Lori's style. The finish is interesting, hard to get a handle on how it differs from the traditional CF. A smarter person would have conducted a comparison tasting - maybe next time. The other wine was the Hunter's Run Rosé. Their summer Rosé is made from Chambourcin; while this version is composed of Cabernet Franc. They must have a lot of this juice. It is a dry rosé, nice acidity, with strong, strong Strawberry flavors. This was my choice for the day and until their Viognier returns, perhaps my choice on our next visit. Now its time to tudor Jim on Blaufränkisch .
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