Dec 22, 2012

Great Visit at Breaux Vineyards

Carol and I made plans to visit Breaux Vineyards and rounded up a few of the Virginia Wine Mafia to meet up with us.  I contacted Jennifer Breaux Blosser and let her know we wanted to visit with some other Virginia wine mafia folks. She kindly arranged for us to tour their new facilities and learn about their other plans to expand.  Breaux Vineyards is a 404-acre estate.  Breaux has about 105 acres of vineyards, making Breaux one of the larger vineyards in the state.

We met up in the parking lot with Erin and fiance Dan from the blog At the Lamppost and Donna Gough and her husband Ed from GoughPubs.  Donna has already written about our visit here.

We entered the tasting room and were met by Reagan Morris, Breaux Vineyards Events Manager.  She started us on our tour. Jennifer said would catch up with us along the way. Reagan told us Breaux is planning to add 30 to 50 acres to allow them to increase production.

Reagan talking about expansion plans

We visited the current production facility, the new production facility, and the upstairs and downstairs of the lovely new events facility.  Breaux Vineyards is planning two phases of expansion.  Phase 1 is adding about 17,000 square feet.
Breaux is planning to eventually increase production and plant additional acres of vineyards. Jennifer says expansion will be done carefully.

Entrance to downstairs pub
Breaux Vineyards' new event space is lovely.  Downstairs, the tastings will done in a pub-like atmosphere.  The staff pointed out the plentiful restrooms in the new facility.


Outdoor views from the the new facility area are wonderful. 

This new building and the outdoor improvements will make Breaux Vineyards a premier event site for weddings and parties in the Northern Virginia area.

Breaux is including a full catering kitchen in the new building. 

Phase two of the expansion will concentrate on adding to the current building, enlarging the tasting room and will include a cellar club for, you guessed it, the Breaux Vineyards Cellar Club.  Following our tour we went back to the current tasting room to try Breaux Vineyards wines.

Jennifer asked Silvia to conduct our tasting. Silvia is a veteran wine educator at Breaux Vineyards and is enthusiastic about the various Breaux wines she poured for us to taste. Jennifer stayed with us and we talked with her about Breaux's wines, the Virginia wine scene, and some more about their plans.  Jennifer told us Breaux is responding to customer wishes but Breaux is being prudent in their expansion plans and not overextending themselves. 
 
We tasted the wines on the tasting menu plus a couple others not on the menu and were able to try a few of the cellar club selections.
 
Whites:  In general, Breaux Vineyards white wines are superb.  We enjoyed every one from the 2011 Jolie Blond ($18) made from Seyval Blanc to the 2011 Rosé ($19).  The Jolie Blond had a nice brightness to it.  The Sauvignon Blanc ($19) had the classic grassiness, but a very lemony flavor too.  The tasting notes mention peach flavors and I did detect a bit of that too.  We wound up purchasing a bottle.
 
We were able to try the 2011 Viognier ($24) although it is almost gone.  I wrote on my tasting notes "This is fantastic."  We purchased two bottles of the 2011 Viognier. 
 
The new just released 2012 Madeleine's Chardonnay ($22) is gorgeous. That is the word I wrote on the Breaux tasting notes sheet.  We purchased a bottle, but later I told Carol we should have bought more.  The Chardonnay is very aromatic with lovely pear and other fruit aromas coming through.  The finish was quite long.  This Chardonnay was aged sur lie for two months in stainless steel. I imagine this is what gives this otherwise crisp wine the hint of creaminess one detects. 
 
The 2011 rosé is a blend of 54 percent Nebbiolo, 34 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, and 12 percent Chambourcin.  This wine is dry with pronounced strawberry aroma and taste with a hint of raspberry.  I enjoyed the long lasting finish.
 
Reds:  In general, these wines are quite good.  Breaux has a nice variety from the Merlot/Chambourcin blend called Equation ($17) all the way to the 2006 Nebbiolo ($38). 
 
We tried two vintages of Merlot, the 2005 ($28) on the regular tasting menu and the 2006 ($28) from the Cellar Club menu.  My notes on the 2006 Merlot were rich with dry finish.  We then moved on to two vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2005 ($28) and a 2007 ($35).  I enjoyed both, but liked the big fruit flavor of the 2007 vintage better.  We next tasted a 2007 Meritage ($35) for which I wrote "excellent" on the tasting sheet. I later purchased a bottle.  Next we sampled two vintages of Nebbiolo, a 2006 ($38) and what I wrote down as a 2009.  Silvia said that during her travels in Italy she found that Breaux's versions are more like the Barbaresco rather than the Barolo. I am still a novice with Nebbiolo so I can't comment on that observation. I can say I enjoyed these wines, especially with the spice I found in the 2006 vintage.
 
Dessert wines:  We tried the 2011 Nebbiolo Ice ($32/375 ml).  Although it has 12 percent residual sugar, this wines' fruit and tannins make for a very refreshing dessert wine. We both loved the Nebbiolo Ice, which, as far as we can tell, is only made by Breaux Vineyards. We took home a bottle of this excellent dessert wine even though we have last year's vintage in our cellar. We also tried the Lineage, a port-style wine.  This is the first port-style wine for Breaux.  It is made from Merlot and Petit Verdot.  While it had a pleasant nutty taste, we weren't as excited by it as Erin and Donna. 
 
The charming Jennifer Breaux Blosser at the register.
 
In summary, Breaux Vineyards is making some well-thought out additions to their operations in response to customer demand, whether that customer is another winery wanting quality Virginia grapes, Cellar Club members, or the general public.  The wonderful new vintages reflect the hand of their winemaker as he makes his mark on an already successful winery.   Breaux Vineyards is moving up to the next level, but in a careful way to stay focused on quality wine while improving customer service.  When you visit, tell the folks at Breaux Vineyards you read about them at Wine About Virginia.
 
Breaux Vineyards   
36888 Breaux Vineyards Lane
Purcellville, Virginia 20132
(540) 668-6299        

2 comments:

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