Sep 20, 2014

Stopping by North Gate Vineyard on a Saturday

After visiting Crushed Cellars, we decided to visit North Gate Vineyard.  Carol wanted to taste the new 2013 Viognier.  I had tasted it at a recent Trellis Club pick up, but she had not been able to attend.  
That empty space in front is reserved for hybrid cars
Coming in the long driveway to the parking lot, we saw there were two commercial passenger vans and a nearly full parking lot.  North Gate is obviously becoming quite popular.
The tasting bar was full, but we saw a few couples were done and waiting for bottle purchases to be rung up.  We just had to wait for a few minutes.  There was a very large group seated by the stage, one on their way out, and another scheduled to arrive soon.  The North Gate staff was calm, professional, and did not let service slip.  The musical entertainment was a duo, who did very nice covers of some favorite tunes.
Our tasting was done with Phyllis. Tastings at North Gate are $7 per person for 7 wines ($12 per person for groups of 12 or more), but free for Trellis Club members.  As Trellis Club members, we also were able to taste a few wines not on the menu (the 2013 Viognier, the 2012 Meritage, and the 2012 Petit Verdot).

Each wine we tasted Saturday was wonderful, although the 2012 Petit Verdot needs to lay down in a cellar for a while.  The 2013 Chardonnay ($19) was crisp and had hints of pear and citrus, the 2013 Viognier is full-bodied with a long finish.  The 2011 Melange Mystere ($17) is a ready-to-drink, fruity, and very tasty red blend of Merlot and Mourvèdre.

The 2012 Cabernet Franc ($20), 2012 Merlot ($19), and 2012 Meritage are all great reds.  The Merlot is a spectacular example of what Virginia can do. The 2012 Meritage is better than the 2011 version that one a gold medal and a place in the 2014 Governor's case. The 2013 Chambourcin ($17) was a bit sweet, fruity, and a little smoky.  We enjoyed it a lot as we think Chambourcin tastes better with a bit of sweetness.

We finished our tasting with the ever popular Apple Wine ($14) and a taste of white ginger sangria.  The Sangria is now available in a carafe in the tasting room or a 32 ounce growler to go ($6 for a reusable growler and $20 refills).

We liked how North Gate has arranged their wines for sale.
I have to say that, across the board, North Gate is currently making some of the best wines in D.C.'s Wine Country.  When you visit, tell the staff you read about them on Wine About Virginia.

North Gate Vineyard 
16031 Hillsboro Road
Purcelleville, VA 20132
Phone: 540-668-6248

Sep 16, 2014

Back to Bob's (again)

We heard that Bob at Crushed Cellars had a couple new vintages, and a new wine, so we took a trip out to the Loudoun Wine Trail to check it out.  Crushed Cellars is open noon to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday.  We arrived via Route 9 west. Just about a 1/2 mile past route 287 you will see a mailbox that says Crushed Cellars.  There should be a "winery" too.  It comes up fast just after the curve, so be ready.

A dog followed us into the tasting room and attempted to take another's bone.  No one was hurt, but we had to shoo the poor dog outside.

The tasting fee at Crushed Cellars is $5 per person.  Today, we tasted 4 wines; a Chardonnay ($25), a Traminette ($22), the 2010 Vidal Blanc ($19), and a Meritage ($25). Bob, the owner wasn't pouring today, but was around doing chores.  He did stop by to say hello before heading off to complete another task.
Crushed Cellars is selling shirts now
The Chardonnay is aged in French Oak barrels, but does not have that real oakiness flavor many Chardonnays exhibit.
The Traminette is both a new release for Crushed Cellars and a new wine variety for them.  Our pourer knew Traminette was a Cornell University developed hybrid from the Gewurztraminer variety. This particular Traminette is semi-dry and aromatic, without that sometimes overwhelming rose aroma that Traminette often expresses.  This one is crisp, clean, and flavorful.
The Vidal Blanc ($19)/ (3 for $45) is Bob's popular sweet white wine and is still holding up well considering its age.  It is a bit past its peak, but still lovely when first opened.
The last wine we tried is Crushed Cellars Meritage ($25).  It is Bob's second Meritage blend and is more robust than the previous release. This wine was aged for 30 months in French oak and is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec.

While we enjoyed our visit at Crushed Cellars, we missed the interaction with Bob on this trip. Maybe next trip.  If you visit Crushed Cellars, tell them you read about the winery at Wine About Virginia.

Crushed Cellars 
37938 Charles Town Pike
Purcellville, 20132
Phone: 1.571.374.WINE (9463)

Sep 6, 2014

Stone Tower Winery visit

Harvest Barn
We went to Stone Tower Winery over Labor Day weekend to visit with Erin and Dan and their new baby Jax.
Construction continues at Stone Tower.  The production facility looks complete and the new tasting and event facility is taking shape.
Stone Tower vineyards
Stone Tower is adding to their vineyards.  They have 30 acres planted now.

Stone Tower's tasting room is open Thursday - Monday, 11am - 5:30pm. The "current vintages" tasting is $10 per person and the reserve tasting is $15.

Carol and I arrived right at opening time. We grabbed a large table for six outside on the patio when Kathy arrived and we all put out a wide assortment of breads, cheeses, and meats to enjoy.

Since Carol and I had tasted all but two of the current offerings, we purchased a bottle of the newly released 2013 Wild Board Sauvignon Blanc ($21).  Wild Boar is the label that Stone Tower uses for wines not made from estate grapes. This was a crisp, citrusy, grassy Sauvignon Blanc with a long finish.  We enjoyed this wine.  It is a real winner.

Erin and Dan and her father and his friend went indoors to have a tasting and returned with the 2013 Estate Chardonnay ($32).  It is a nice Chardonnay with a lot of oaky flavor and a long finish too.  I think that oakiness may fade a bit with some age on it. So we were able to try both new wines on this visit.

We had a very pleasant visit at beautiful Stone Tower and stayed until it was time for baby Jax to get out of the heat.  When you visit Stone Tower, tell them you read about their winery at Wine About Virginia
Stone Tower Winery 
19925 Hogback Mountain Rd 
Leesburg, 20175
Phone: (703) 777-2797