Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2nd Annual #CabernetDay: Frederick Cellars 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon

Rick Bakas has scheduled this Thursday September 1st as 2011 #CabernetDay, where all are encouraged to consume and tweet about one or more Cabernet Franc or Cabernet Sauvignon wines. After perusing the cellar, we will open our last bottle of the Frederick Cellars 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was crafted by Robert Lyons just before his Catoctin Vineyards was purchased by Frederick Cellars. Mr. Lyons has a long history of crafting award winning wines as his 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon joined the 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon as winners of the Maryland Governors Cup. The grapes for all their Cabernet is local, from Mountain Creek Vineyards in the Catoctin AVA. You can follow our feed on Thursday using the #CabernetDay and #mdwine hash tags. Cheers.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

2011 Wine Bloggers Conference Pre-Tour: Loudoun County (DC's Wine Country)

One of the best kept secrets of the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference was the Loudoun County Pre-Tour sponsored by Visit Loudoun. This two day tour was available to the first 25 bloggers who registered and consisted of visits to four wineries: Tarara Vineyard & Winery, Breaux Vineyards, Chrysalis Vineyards, and Boxwood Winery. Each winery rolled out the red carpet with the winemaker greeting the participants and providing tours and tastings of their regular offerings as well as reserve and barrel wines. These were very intimate engagements where the participants were able to discuss Norton or Albarino with Jenni McCloud and Alan Kinne at Chrysalis; Bordeaux with Rachel Martin and Adam McTaggart at Boxwood, Terroir with Jordan Harris at Tarara; and Nebbiolo with the Breaux crew. These wineries may be familiar to the larger group of conference attendees since they participated in many of the WBC11 events in Charlottesville, either as sponsors, the twitter tastings, the Other 46 tasting, and the Monticello dinner.

Check out the video below, which includes audio from Stacey Sheetz of Visit Loudoun discussing the wine region, to see why this area is one of the top wine destinations in Virginia and considered DC's Wine Country. The video also features Tara Nevins (Donna the Buffalo) "Beauty of Days Gone By" from her new solo release: Wood & Stone. And below is a list of blog posts concerning the Loudoun pre-tour and WBC11.

Dallas Wine Chick: Loudoun County Wine Pre-Trip
Tarara Winery: WineBloggers
Wine Biz Radio: X Does WBC ’11
The Wine Hub: Why Terroir Matters – Blog by: Jordan Harris – Tarara Winery Winemaker

Monday, August 22, 2011

2011 Wine Bloggers Conference: Ignite Wine Presentations

The last session of the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference (July 22-24; Charlottesville, Virginia) was the Ignite Wine presentations where nine presenters had five minutes to talk about anything of interest to wine bloggers. The catch: each presenter had to show 20 slides auto-tuned to advance every 15 seconds. This was very entertaining; too bad not many attendees stayed around to witness.

Elle Potter: Wine Bloggers Conference: What It Takes
Zephyr Adventures | Wine Bloggers Conference

Amy Hoopes and Susan Stockton: entwine
entwine | Wente Vineyards |Food Network

Matthew Parnell: East Coast Wines
E Coast Wines

Su Birch: South Africa: Why Our Wine Lands Are Wild
Wines of South Africa

Patrick Spencer: Wine Closures: Fact, Fiction and Sustainability

Kelly Medler & Emily Knutson: The Evolution of a Wine Drinker
Naked Winery | The Naked Truth

Jason Mancebo: A Picture is Worth 1000 Words – Visual Storytelling
$20 Dollar Wine Blog

Mary Cressler: Pairing Wine and Food
Vindulge Wine Education & Consulting

Jason Phelps: Savoring Similarities & Celebrating Differences - Blogging the Diverse World of Wine
Ancient Fire Wine Blog

Saturday, August 20, 2011

2011 Wine Bloggers Conference Highlights

The 2011 North American Wine Bloggers Conference was held July 21-24 in Charlottesville Virginia. Here are the highlights from the various events, tours, seminars, and tastings during the weekend from the International Tasting Thursday night to the Ignite sessions Sunday morning. The video also includes footage from the vineyard tour of Virginia Wineworks, First Colony Winery, and Blenheim Vineyards. The musical theme features Tony Trischka performing at the Floydfest Front Porch courtesy of the Virginia Folklife Program. And one note, the Traminette shown in the International Tasting was from the Other 46 Tasting. Cheers.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wishing We Were Headed to Sonoma Wine Country Weekend 2011

Its been a couple years since our last venture to California wine country and reading about the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend (September 2 - 4, 2011) really gets the juices flowing for another trip. Just think about it, wineries from Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Valley, and Dry Creek Valley all at 32nd Annual Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch on the 3rd. Then there's several Winemaker lunches, BBQs, and dinners. Ticket prices vary, but if you are a Visa Signature card holder, you can receive steep discounts on all tickets. Plus these card holders can participate in special Visa Signature Tours. Maybe a trip West, maybe....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thanks WBC11 - Georgia Wines Are on My Mind - Again

Another wine we found interesting during the WBC11 Speed Tasting was the 07 Chateau Mukhrani Saperavi - which resurrected our fascination with Georgian wines. For, the Republic of Georgia is the cradle of wine making, as evident by the 4,000 to even 8,000 year old wine making equipment unearthed by archaeologists in the country. We are talking Stone Age winos. Many etymologists even consider the modern generic word “wine” to be derived from the ancient Georgian word “gvino”. And what is equally fascinating is that contemporary wineries are using the same indigenous grapes as these early winemakers. We are talking Saperavi, Rkatsiteli, Mtsvani, Ojaleshi - wine grapes tasted by Jason and the Argonauts, Homer, Alexander the Great, Apollonius of Rhodes, St. Nino - thus when tasting Georgian wines - you're tasting history.

And its no wonder that the Republic of Georgia is the birthplace of wine civilization. It's geography is well suited for grape viticulture. Extreme weather is rare; winters are frost free; summers are sunny; and the Black Sea provides a beneficial micro-climate. The largest grape producing region is Kakheti located in the eastern end of the country. This region produces 70% of the country's wine and, understandably, houses some of the largest wineries: Teliani Valley, Telavis Marani, Tbilvino, Kindzmarauli Marani, Badagoni and Chateau Mukhrani. Other noteworthy wine regions are Racha-Lechkhumi, Kartli, and Imereti. Racha-Lechkhumi is currently home to semi-sweet wines such as Khvanchkara, Usakhelouri and Tvishi. The Kartli region is also termed "The Heart of Georgia" because of its central location and the home of the ancient and modern capitals - Mtskheta and Tbilisi. Both Kartli and Imereti are known for their sparkling wines and the later also producing the red wines Oihanuri, Sapere and Saperavi.

The country is home to over a dozen indigenous wine grapes. Rkatsiteli is the most important white variety and at one time was the third most planted varietal in the world. Mtsvani is the next most important white and is usually blended with Rkatsiteli. Saperavi is the most popular red variety and produces full bodied, somewhat tannic wines suitable for aging.

Like the French, Georgian wines represent the name of the source region, district, or village. And many of these wines are blends, such as Tsinandali, which is a blend of Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane. Yet some 100% varietal wines are available -- including the aforementioned 07 Chateau Mukhrani Saperavi. And like most Eastern European wine styles, many of the red wines are produced semi sweet - even Saperavi. (No wine snobs permitted in the South Caucasus.) And fortified wines are very popular.

Rkatsiteli seems to be my favorite of the Georgian grape varieties and at one time was the third most planted varietal in the world. Thanks to Dr. Konstantin Frank, Dennis Horton, and Jack and Charlie Tomasello, it has migrated to the United States and is now available at Dr. Konstantin Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars, Horton Vineyards, and Tomasello Winery. The wines possess a recognizable spicy character that is balanced by citrus flavors and refreshing acidity.

But what about the 07 Chateau Mukhrani Saperavi? I really can't recall - even after 2nd, 3rd, and 4th sips at #606. I did note, however, that the vineyards were once owned by a major Royal Dynasty - The Princes of Mukhrani. History and Georgian wine are intertwined.

For further research visit any of the linked wineries or check out the Georgian Wine House. Georgian wines will remain in my mind for quite some time.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Abouriou - It's a bird, It's a ... - No, it's a Red Wine Grape

One of the more interesting wines poured during the Red Wine Speed Tasting during WBC11 was the Abourious 2009 Red Wine from Old World Winery (Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California). Now, even with a room full of wine bloggers, most of us had never heard of - and obviously tasted - a wine made from the Abouriou grape. According to the esteemed Jancis Robinson The Oxford Companion to Wine, 3rd Edition, Abouriou is grown primarily in South West France, bordering Bordeaux to the north and the Pyrénées to the south. This region is includes the ACOs Jurançon, Cahors, Bergerac, and Côtes du Marmandais - home to Abouriou, where the grape is used in blends with Bordeaux varieties, Syrah, Fer, and Gamay.

It is obviously also grown in California, with Old World Winery the only producer - at least as listed at WineCompass. Two acres of the grapes are grown organically at the Sheri Martinelli Ranch with these being harvested in October 2009 and bottled in June 2011. That's translates to approximately 18 months of aging. During the Twitter tasting, my colleague immediately designated the Abourious 2009 Red Wine as The Seducer - with its full body, high acidity; but sweet berry flavor profile. Other bloggers had similar comments as show below. But don't get too excited just yet about this wine. For #wbc11 was its unveiling; the release date is set for Spring 2012 with a $55 price point and only 109 cases available. Mark this on our calendar and visit the winery's online store.
  • melanie0 @oldworldwinery Tasting Abourious. A very big meaty wine #wbc11
  • hesipsshesips Abourious made from Abouriou grape from Old World Winery super different, jammy, hint of sweetness #WBC11 #shesips
  • 1WineDude 09 Old World Winery Abourious red. Abouriou is the variety (yes, really). Like your licorice with pepper? Then this is your wine. #wbc11
  • icjamie Abourious 2009 Russian River Valley. Old World Winery. Abouriou is the grape. Huge acidity in this red, sweet notes. $55 #wbc11
  • winecompass #wbc11 the seducer wine Abourious
  • krischislett Abourious made from the Abouriou grape in the Russian River Valley. Only vyd in the U.S. growing it. http://t.co/NEk1y19 #wbc11
  • KarinMcKercher The most fantastic new discovery for me, #Abourious. Really digging this. Sort of sweet, but good pepper finish. Must. Get. More. #WBC11
  • indievinos Been "hearing" about #Abourious. Cane berry-candy nose, really smooth, but also a little "sour." In a really, really good way. LOVE. #WBC11
  • mutineermag Abourious 2009 Red Wine from the Russian River Valley. Its natural fermentation has excited my tablemate. #WBC11
  • norcalwine 09 @oldworldwinery Abourious RRV red wine from Abouriou variety planted 1950 by Martinellis below Jack Ass Hill: Concordish #WBC11 #wine
  • KatieDrinksWine @OldWorldWinery So excited to finally try your wine! A new varietal for me, too - Abouriou - the only one to be found in the States #wbc11
  • WineSoiree The only 2 acres of Abouriou in CA. Some may even say Foxy or deeeLish. @OldWorldWinery #wbc11 http://twitpic.com/5urk00
  • foodandwine365 #wbc11 another first abouriou French grape by way of rrv. Thanks @oldworldwinery
  • RedWineDiva @OldWorldWinery up with a unique wine for the US - Abouriou Grapes from the south of France. #wbc11
  • BrixChick_Liza #wbc11 #speedtasting Old WOrld Arbourious new grape to me: Arbouriou. Flippy fruity aromas like raspberry danish
  • genevelyn: 09 Abourious REd, should be a martini float #wbc11 from us. enjoy!

Friday, August 5, 2011

MyJoogTV Episode 9: Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band @ Foggy Ridge Cider

This episode of MyJoogTV features the Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band in a discussion of cider, country blues, and Charley Patton with Foggy Ridge Cider proprietor Diane Flynt. The episode was filmed during Floydfest X, the celebrated music festival located right on the Blue Ridge Parkway and minutes from Foggy Ridge. Specifically, we discussed cider and apple varieties as well as the band's latest CD: Peyton on Patton. This is the first ever compilation to honor the man who is arguably the father of Delta Blues. In fact, most modern rock music follows a lineage from Patton through Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf to Elvis, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones. To paraphrase the Reverend, "if it wasn't for Patton, we'd be listening to Tony Bennett - all the time". The video is available to download for iTunes and Windows Media Player. To view more videos filmed at Floydfest, visit the MyJoogTV YouTube Channel.