Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Jack Tomasello checks Cabernet Sauvignon grapes Sept. 8 at Tomasello Winery in Hammonton.
Photo by: Michael Ein
Monday, September 27, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Now we at the libertarian WineCompass would normally endorse a decline in government's role in private industry; but not in this instance, when the government is simply transferring power to a government created oligopoly. And with HR 5034 resurfacing, the wholesalers may get even more powerful.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Neighboring Devils Backbone Brewing Co. (Roseland, VA) was awarded a Gold in the Coffee Flavored Beer category for their Baltic Coffee; another Gold in the American-Style or International-Style Pilsener for their Gold Leaf Lager; a Bronze in the English-Style Mild Ale category for their Ale of Fergus; and a second Bronze in the South German-Style Hefeweizen for their Wintergreen Weiss. Now that's a showing. Can't wait to try these beers next month.
In Bristol, their booth was usually busy as festival goers wither sampled the wines or lounged in recliners after purchasing a bottle. We started with the 2009 Cabernet Franc - yes a very young wine, but one they wanted to get out early. It was a little light, but had enough cherry flavor to make it drinkable. And for fruit grown in that location, it probably is a very good wine. The hybrids are the winery's strength. The Angler's Choice is an off-dry wine made from Chardonel. It is flavorful,which isn't the case with most wines made from this grape. The Traminette was even nicer, slightly spicy but with even more fruit flavor. This may have been my favorite. Even though its made semi-sweet, you can't really tell. You can tell with the semi-sweet, Chambourcin based Make Me Blush. Lots of cherry flavor, but too sweet for my taste. The sweetest wines are the Shepherd's Red and Shepherd's White. The later is a blend of Chardonel and Vidal, while the red is pure Chambourcin. And that one was quite good - not over the top sweet. For a young winery and for making wines to fit a sweeter palette, these were decent wines. And nice to see them in Bristol.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
The winery and tasting room at Mountfair are located in an old horse barn, adjacent to a row of Tannat. The Blue Ridge Mountains are clearly visible, not only from behind the winery but on the wine's label. The estate vineyards are planted with classic Bordeaux varieties as are the other fruit they source. For this winery makes wine not only just from these grape varieties, but only red wines from the classics. And excluding a soon to be released series, the wines are classic blends. In honor of next weekend, we started with the 2008 Engagement - a blend of 65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Petit Verdot aged in neutral oak. This is an easy drinking wine - smooth and fruity. The interestingly named Wooloomooloo 2008 was next and this Petit Verdot dominate wine is a much bigger wine, from the nose to the tail. Yea, its also aged a little longer, but even with the extra tannins, its still relatively smooth. Two nice Bordeaux blends, Dezel is right - this is what makes wines from the Monticello AVA so appealing.
Being in the trade, they graciously brought out three upcoming releases. The 2008 Indigenous is a 50-50 blend of Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot harvested from the estate. This is a special wine, only 75 cases available, and believe me, they will go fast. Even with the bottle shock, this is already a delicious wine - give it a couple months - and..... - buy it now. The final two are single varietals (Cabernet Franc and Merlot) especially made for the restaurant market but will be available at the winery - think UVA tailgates. The wines are prices slightly lower than the blends and, are actually blends themselves (80-20) - although state law allows then to be designated single varietal. These are nice wines, obviously not as complex as the other brands - but still good wines. This entire portfolio and the easy going style of the team makes this a destination worth the crazy drive. Actually, if one starts from Charlottesville, the drive is quite easy - just be prepared for a slow trek coming from the north. By either direction, we will return.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Best of Class Awards
Best Red: Fiore Winery • Sangiovese 2007
Best Rosé: Knob Hall Winery • Rosé Reserve
Best Red Blend: Serpent Ridge Vineyard • Basilisk 2008
Best Off-Dry: St. Michaels Winery White • 2009
Best Fruit: Fiore Winery • Apple-luscious
Black Ankle Vineyards • Crumbling Rock 2008
Black Ankle Vineyards • Rolling Hills 2008
Cygnus Wine Cellars • Blanc de Blanc 2008
Dove Valley Vineyard & Winery • Gold 2008
Fiore Winery • Apple-lucious
Fiore Winery • Sangiovese 2007
Knob Hall Winery • Chambourcin 2009
Knob Hall Winery • Rosé Reserve 2009
Knob Hall Winery • Semi-dry Rosé 2009
Little Ashby Vineyards • Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Little Ashby Vineyards • Super Talbot 2007
Serpent Ridge Vineyard • Basilisk 2008
St. Michaels Winery • "Martha" Chambourcin 2008
St. Michaels Winery • St. Michaels White 2009
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard • EVOE! 2007