Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Taste of New Kent Wine Festival, Round 1

A friend of ours invited the hubs and I to attend this wine festival with her today. Since the hubs had off work, and I had nothing going on, off we went went.

It started at 11, but in typical lazy Saturday fashion, we showed up about noon. Even with 14 different wineries to sample, we figured we had plenty of time to enjoy all the festival had to offer. We started out working a bit backwards, and several of these wineries I've had the pleasure of experiencing the before. Unfortunately, we had had enough wine well before we hit all 14 wineries-we really only made it about 9-but we certainly had our fair share to drink. Below are some of my thoughts on those wineries:

First Colony Winery- None of us were particularly impressed with this winery. None of the wines were bad, but none super excited us except their Cabernet Franc. That was one I would have gone back for. It was particularly fruity, with a little bit of a coffee after taste. Even the non-red drinkers in the group enjoyed it.

Horton Cellars- There were several wines we really enjoyed here. The whites I particularly enjoyed included Rkatsitell ("Off-Dry Georgian/Russian Variety) and their Black Cat Chardonnay. They had a semi-sweet red called Eclipse that was also quite enjoyable, and their Sweet Concord was the perfect sweet, fruity wine for non-wine drinkers (i.e. my mother-in-law). But their Blanco XOCO (White Chocolate Wine) takes the cake. They also had a red chocolate wine, but the white is so smooth, rich, and chocolatey-we had to bring home a bottle. They had several fruit wines available, and while I enjoyed the pomegranate that I tried, I have trouble enjoying fruit wines with food, so I don't get too excited by them.

Chateau-Morrisette- This has quickly become one of my favorite wineries, and my initial attraction was based on the dog on the label. I enjoyed their reds, but I am a big fan of their Liberty blend, which I have previously written about. Their semi-dry wines were great-I enjoyed both The Black Dog and the Vidal Blanc, and I liked both of their semi-sweet wines (Our Dog Blue and Blushing Dog). What's best about this winery (for me) is that several of their wines are available in our local grocery stores, so I don't have to wait to see them at a festival to enjoy them. This winery is one that I would love to have the opportunity to tour...maybe someone this summer we'll make the 3-4 hour trek out there.

James River Cellars- I also encountered this winery back in September, and even purchased a bottle of their Chardonnel. Apparently, though, that was the only wine of theirs that particularly appealed to me. Nothing of their 9 wines today excited me. It made me kind of sad.

Cooper Vineyards- This was the last vineyard that we visited during round 1. First of all, I loved all the staff members I spoke to. Very warm, friendly, and knowledgeable. They also informed us ways the vineyard is attempting to become more eco-friendly, which is super cool in my book. Their mascot is a dog named Lucy, and next weekend is a fundraiser for the SPCA called Lucy's weekend. Free music, tastings, a paw print wine glass, and four legged friends are welcome! I wish that the hubs was free-it would be an awesome day trip. I enjoyed a lot of their wines, particularly their Reserve Norton 2008 (red), Rhapsody (sweet white), and Sweet Louisa (another sweet red, mother-in-law favorite). Their Noche is a wonderful red chocolate wine. While I enjoyed the White Chocolate from Horton, I definitely preferred Cooper's Noche to Horton's Red Chocolate wine. Finally, I was quite tempted to purchase their Sangria pack, which consisted of three different wines, which you then mix with frozen orange and limeade concentrates. It was phenomenal.

That's where we ended round 1 of our tastings. With about 10 wines per winery, we were certainly starting to feel it.

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