Lost Creek, Leesburg, VA

A friend and I explored some local wine country on a beautiful DC day in August. What is upper 70s in this month?

We went to The Vineyards & Winery at Lost Creek in Leesburg, VA.


This winery has been in the works since 1998 and has 16 acres of land. My friend and I split a tasting which included the following, for $15.

2016 Vidal Blanc. 100% Estate Grown. Tropical Fruit. Stainless Steel Aged. $22. Unique, had a bit of oak on it.

2014 Chardonnay. 100% Estate Grown. Bright & Crisp. Stainless Steel Aged. $24. I tasted beef jerky and tire?! Then some lemon meringue. Ok, odd.

2015 Reserve Chardonnay. 100% Estate-Grown Whole Cluster Pressed. Ten months French Oak. Best of Class SF Chronicle Harvest Club Wine Only. $29. Not too yellow for an oaked Chard.

2016 Rose. 11% Zinfandel Dry Rose Blend. Barrel Aged 6 months. Food friendly. $24. Watermelon nose. Definitely dry. Very nice. Ended up getting a glass to enjoy later.

The following 3 are their Bordeaux Blends.

2015 Trinity. 43% Cabernet Sauvignon/36% Cabernet Franc/8% Merlot/13% Petit Verdot. 16 months French Oak. $36. This is the 3rd blend they’ve made. Peppery.

2015 Genesis. 62% Merlot/16% Cabernet Sauvignon/16% Cabernet Franc/6% Petit Verdot. 16 months French Oak. $40.  1st blend for them. They gave it that name because genesis means ‘new beginnings.’ Very smooth. My favorite.

2015 Provenance. 45% Cabernet Sauvignon/30% Merlot/20% Cabernet Franc/5% Petit Verdot. 16 months French Oak. Premium Selection. $42. Heaviest of the three. Nice nose.

As mentioned, I decided to enjoy a glass of the Rose. My friend and I sat outside in their very nice garden/pavilion area. Tables, chairs, where you can sit back and relax. We didn’t need anything to eat, but they have quite the menu. This is a place where you cannot bring your own food.

The staff was quite knowledgeable about the wine and they were all quite good for VA wines. It’s so nice to see how VA wines are getting better and better each time a winery is visited, and the difference between various VA wine regions.

Red Tail Ridge Winery, Finger Lakes, NY

While in the Finger Lakes, another winery visited was Red Tail Ridge.


This one is a decade old and they have about 50 acres of land on which they grow their grapes. They produce smaller amounts of wines so they can focus on quality vs. quantity. Their tasting is $5 for 6 wines (then you tend to get a bit more).

I checked out these guys:

2016 Dry Rose. Tart cherries, cranberries and fresh mint with the minerality of seashells on the nose. Softer notes of apricot and fresh strawberries follow. The palate brings out red raspberries, fennel and mandarin oranges. e heavy mid-palate is cut with a phenolic bitter note and a slightly tacky sensation to finish, $20.95 – I got a sweet chalk on the nose and strawberries when I sipped it.

2016 Sans (without) Oak Chardonnay. The wine opens up with Bosc pears, tart apples, undertones of stoniness and hints of citrus. The palate begins with white cherry, golden delicious apples, and bouncy citrus notes all highlighted with a slight spritz mouthfeel to keep the wine lively. Minerality and lemon oil notes linger, $13.95 – No nose, though after awhile it finally opened up bit. Tasted oaky to me, but maybe it was the Finger Lake grapes?

2015 Dry Riesling. Crisp pears, starfruit and limestone on the nose, followed by lemongrass and soft floral accents. The palate adds peaches, creamy lemon curd, and bright yellow apples. Minerality comes mid-palate with a puckering acidity to cut the fattier mouthfeel and leave fresh notes of lemon and lime zest, $18.95 – Genuinely dry.

2016 Good Karma. Light notes of candied ginger, white peaches and lemon oil on the nose. Stoniness and orange blossom add to the aroma with honeysuckle. On the palate, more peaches with slight spice and pears along with sweet lime. Nice acidity rounding out the mouth to finish with lingering notes of citrus oil. (2.3% rs) *Good Karma is Riesling sourced from Seneca Lake, $13.95 – Sweet and thick on the nose, syrupy. Almost like drinking peach schnapps. The person pouring it was not happy with the comment at all.

2015 Pinot Noir. On the nose: coco dusted cherries, sweet tobacco, forest moss, and chocolate mint leaves. The palate begins bright with rhubarb notes that lead into deeper earthy mushrooms, black cherries and savory fennel. Mid-palate the deeper notes give way to the tingly acidity with fresh raspberries and wild strawberries. The acidity elongates this wine leaving your palate watering for more, $24.95 – Light body, got some chocolate and earth notes.

2015 Dornfelder. Earthy mushrooms fill the glass with a slight meatiness followed by dark fruit: currants and plums. On the palate, more dark earth notes emerge but give way to juicy fruit as the wine opens up in the glass. Boysenberries burst with dried stems of blackberries and soft vanilla. The wine has an umami note mid-palate with brininess and tart cherries to finish, $24.95 – Dark, NICE nose and taste. Definitely got the mushrooms. Had a good body, too.

2014 Blaufränkisch. Piercing blackberry, and black cherry fill the nose, followed by oregano, white pepper, allspice and worn leather. On the palate: ripe wild blackberries, warming vanilla and boysenberry. Rounded mid-palate but chalky, grippy sensations on the edges of the tongue. Darker earth notes with solid acidity and youthful tannins linger in the finish, $22.95 – Very light nose and body. Didn’t get anything from it. Wouldn’t buy it, especially for the price.

NY Wine

We have wineries across across the country and New York is ranked #3 in the country size-wise in grape production per Wikipedia (where is Oregon?? — CA and WA are 1 & 2).  Commercial production started in the state the 19th century. Also, some fun tidbits from Wikipedia — New York is home to the first bonded winery in the US, Pleasant Valley Wine Company. It is also home to America’s oldest continuously operating winery, Brotherhood Winery in the Hudson Valley, which has been making wine for almost 175 years.

I visit the Finger Lakes area annually and last year, after not having gone for a decade (at least), stopped by the New York Wine & Culinary Institute in Canandaigua. In addition to the cooking school and restaurant, they have a tasting room.


There were 3 of us there so we opted to each get different flights so we could get a good feel for the current stance of NY wines. Out of the 15 wines we tasted, I would say maybe 4-5 were decent/good. And the downside is they aren’t wallet-friendly ones for what they offer — $20+. New York wines are still generally very sweet, both reds and whites. Two of us were more red people and one was an oaky chard lover so there was a bit of a difference in tastes, but overall, same thought on NY wines.

We did, however, try some of the their of sparkling wines, and left with 2 bottles. That was quite good and was enjoyed later in the evening.

Overall for the day, very fun location to visit and worth the time.




CO Wine

Wine is coming from many places now, and I recently tasted some from Colorado, Ten Bears Winery

The winery proper is located in Laporte, CO.  The sampling covered 7 wines; 2 whites, 3 red, 2 dessert wines and was $5.99.


American Symphony (This lesser knows varietal is a hybrid of two old world grapes, Muscato of Alexandria and Grenache Gris.  It is a lovely, attractive white wine with amazing floral bouquet.  Lightly sweet with hints of Colorado wildflowers and dried peach on the nose followed by fresh apricots and citrus on the palate, finishing with lingering fruit and melon notes, a perfect pairing for a hot summer day.) $17.99/bottle

-Had light honey notes,  floral notes and sweetness

Cameron Pass White (Our Malvasia Bianca and Chardonnay blend is finished off-dry, producing a light to medium bodied, fruity white wine that is the perfect pair for sushi and seafood. Enjoy this wine chilled for a refreshing compliment to our Colorado summer days.) $15.99/bottle

-No nose, nearly clear, eww

American Pinot Noir (Our Pinot Noir is a Ten Bears Winery favorite that we can never seem to make enough of. It is a light bodied Pinot Noir aged on French Oak, for just the right amount of time, to impart delicate oak and tannins, which compliment the dried cherry fruit notes and cocoa, while keeping this noble red perfectly balanced.) $19.99

-Had the nose of Welch’s grape juice, cloudy, tiny chocolate taste at the end

Poudre River Red Table Wine (This light to medium bodied red blend of Alicante Bouschet, Colorado Merlot, Larimer County Marquette, and Zinfandel is a wine to pair with almost anything. Its complex and lively character displays black cherry, and raisin fruit notes, with delicate tannins, making it a smooth and easy drinking red wine. Enjoy at room temperature.) $14.99

-Cranberry nose, light, it’s definitely a simple table red

Grand Valley Cabernet (This full bodied classic Bordeaux style wine is balance to perfection with toasty notes of French Oak finishing with elegant and smooth tannins. Rich garnet and violet color!) $24.99

-Nice body, not chalky, good

Roaming Bear Seasonal (Raspberry/Huckleberry/Pomegranate) (We blended a medium, sweet Muscat of Alexandria, with Pinot Grigio and Barbera, then added natural flavoring to produce this playfully sweet and flavorful wine.) $15.99

-Very sweet, light,  this stuff reminded me of Boone’s

Nutty Laporte Dessert Wine (This is a vintage style port wine with hazelnut flavor added during its American oak aging. Its deep color and rich flavors of cordial cherries make for a deliciously warm finish to a nice evening. Grape varietals used in this port style dessert wine are Tinta Madiera, Touriga, Tinta Cao, and souza.) $18.99/375ml

-Nice!  Just like a port. Chocolate taste to it. Definitely my favorite one.




Overall, a great time trying different wines — never knew CO made some. Not necessarily my favorites, but will never turn down a tasting. Cheers!

Beer Class — Autumn Equinox: Fall’s Beer Harvest

I get the great emails from Total Wine and when reading one recently they another drink in it — BEER!  They were offering some great beer classes and one caught my attention — Autumn Equinox: Fall’s Beer Harvest.  How can you go wrong?  I think of this time of year with all the great pumpkin brews (apparently they started coming out super early because somebody with the first name Sam located in New England decided to hit the shelves much earlier than normal).

We had many great sips that night.  We started with Marzen from Germany (on the right) — October(fest) beer, then worked our way to pumpkin brews.  My favorite German beer was the 2nd one (from the right).  I can’t remember the name but the picture gives the label.

My next favorite was the Lost Rhino Brewing Company’s RhinO’fest Marzen.  It’s an Amber Lager.  Great flavors.

When we moved on to the one with the frog on it and the Shipyard, they truly tasted like liquid pumpkin pie.  Overly sweet.  Crazy!

It was a very fun night a fun, trying sips of so many different beers.


SA Winery Visit #4 — Muratie

We were very fortunate on our winery tour because there were only 3 people in the group (vs up to 16).  Our guide was also amazing.  Based on the great blend of people, the guide made sure that we fit 4 wineries into the day and finished the outing with an amazing vineyard.  The close the tour, we visited Muratie in the Stellenbosch.



It’s one of the oldest estates in South Africa and that is evidenced by the amazing wine, stories and other things you see.


IMG_0509They have not cleaned spider webs off some things to maintain ambiance…nice.



At Muratie we were once again able to choose which wines we would like to sample, and shared amongst each other.

I started with the Melck’s Rose, which was made with Cab Franc.  Nice, crisp and refreshing.  And a steal at R45.



Next I went to their Laurens Campher (Blended White).  It’s 46% Chenin Blanc, 25% Sauvignon Blanc, 19% Verdolho, 10% Viognier.  Buttery was my take on it. R95.



Then I had a quick sip of their Lady Alice Methode Cap Classique.  Was this beer?  The reason I say that is that it tasty yeasty.  R120.


Ok, red time!!!  Started with the Melck’s Red, a 50/50 Shiraz/Cab blend.  Just a nice, easy dinner wine.  R50.




Moving down the line, next came the George Paul Canitz Pinot Noir.  It had a black pepper nose and for the taste — a bit of green pepper, chocolate and some berries.  Quite unique.  R165.



Then came Shiraz time, Ronnie Melck Shiraz to be exact, from the family selection.  NICE!!!!!!  Normally it’s not available for tasting but we lucked out.  Smoke, tobacco, smooth…very similar to a pinotage.  Very worthy of the price of R350.



To wrap up the tasting there was the fortified wine, Ben Prins Cape Vintage.  With 19.5% alcohol, it was a bit chewy with notes of chocolate and blackberry.  R170.


This winery was great to just look around and see fun parts of.








Amazing winery to wrap up an amazing day!  It’s tough to get these/their wine in the States but I am going to keep working on it to continue enjoying amazing vino.  Cheers!

SA Winery Visit #1 — Moreson

While in South Africa, one of the days was dedicated to a cycling winery tour.  Sunny, 70s, paved and dirt roads, many grapes, heaven on earth!



Our first winery of the day was Moreson.   To get there, we had about a 12K ride from our starting point.  Wine was in order!  It was a beautiful outdoor setting with fountains, ponds, little rivers and just a great atmosphere.




To start the tasting, we enjoyed some bubbly, their One Chardonnay Pinot Noir, which I would describe as a perfect balance between Champagne and Prosecco.  Amazing!  And of course you can only buy it in South Africa (for a rough R126 — about $12!)




We were given a second round of bubbly, this time Solitaire Blanc de Blancs.  I would describe this as green apples, sharp and crisp, NICE!  Another steal at R110.



We then progressed from bubbles to the regular stuff.  Our first one was a white, the Dr. Reason Why Unwooded Chardonnay.  Love the name!  Though unoaked, there was a bit of light cream taste.  R89.



Round 4 of the tasting brought about another Chard, this time the Mercator Premium Chardonnay.  The nose had notes of lemon, lime and toast.  The taste — NICE!  It had a light toast taste but not like a ‘true’ chard (to me — saying this as not a big chard fan).  R168.



Last but not least is what I love about South Africa the most — Pinotage.  The sinful, powerful, delicious, perfect cross of Pinot Noir and Hermitage.  Have your ever wondered how it came about?  Here’s the quick history lesson on Pinotage.  Thanks Wikipedia!  This brought out all the characteristics of the varietal I expected — smoky and smooth…ahh, what a pour!  R168.



This was a great start to the winery tour.  Once done, we hopped back on our bikes to the next one…about 5K away.


Saturday Wine Tasting

I checked out a great wine tasting on Saturday and some of the wines made it home — can never go wrong with that.  It was at Wine Cellars of Annapolis and the theme/title was Value Imports from Vintus Wines.  We suffered through 3 whites and 3 reds from a total of 4 countries.


2012 Talmard Macon-Chardonnay, Burgundy, France

Per the cheat sheet:  Gerald and Philbert Talmard are a father son team carrying on a four century family tradition of grape growing in the French village of Chardonnay, believed to have given the grape its name.  The vines are planted in calcareous soil, which provides the wine with a particular mineral characteristic along with fruity aromas.  This wine is luscious, showing scents and flavor of butterscotch, honey and lemon with a distinct mineral taste on the finish.  $14.99

My notes:  Dry Chard (score!), with some butter at the end.  Unique in the sense that you wonder how it’s a Chard then voila!  There it is right at the finish.

2010 Domaine Des Baumard Savennieres, Loire Valley, France (if you want to check out their true site, here it is, in French obviously — www.baumard.fr)

Per the cheat sheet:  “This is perfectly balanced dry Chenin.  It had just the amount of richness, aided by a touch of vanilla.  The green and white fruit are blended with deceptively soft acidity to give a wine that feels full and ripe in the mouth.  Good to drink now, but also worth aging 3-4 years and more.”  93 points Wine Enthusiast  $26.99

My notes:  Too sweet for me.

2013 Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand

Per the cheat sheet:  “This is powerful and rich with a reserve and tension.  Full and layered with beautiful dried fruits and a bright acidity.  Dried apricots and lemons.  Lots going on.  Loving it.  Turns to aniseed and dried lemons.” – James Suckling  $22.99

My notes:  AMAZING smell — grapefruit, mango.  But, the taste doesn’t match the nose.


2011 Tommasi Valpolicella “Rafael”, Veneto, Italy

60% Corvina Veronese, 25% Rondinella, 15% Molinara

Per the cheat sheet:  This classic Valpolicella is full of dried-cherry flavor with a hint of smoke and grilled meat on the nose.  Offering loads of bold fresh cherries on the palate and a core of mouth-watering acidity in the background behind all the bright cherry fruit.  Tart dried cherries and a whiff of smoke linger in a long finish.  $16.99

My notes:  Cherry, smooth, light but still has body, cranberry.  Big stars on my piece of paper.  Left with a few bottles — and enjoyed it 1while watching the Red Carpet and Oscars on Sunday.

2010 Heartland Shiraz, Langhorne Creek, Limestone Coast, Australia

Made by star winemaker Ben Glaetzer, this deliciously dark and rich Shiraz has hints of chocolate, pepper and tobacco leaf on the nose.  Plums, blackcurrant and spice flavors abound on the palate and are perfectly balanced by fine supple tannins.  $19.99

My notes:  Coffee, smoke, amazing, light acid taste, will get some soon.

2009 Chatean Lyonnat Lussac Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux, France

Per the cheat sheet:  “Firm, richly dark wine from the Saint-Emilion satellite village of Lassac, with chocolate and coffee flavor, layers of wood and spice.  It is packed with ripe plum and black cherry fruits, weighty and already concentrated.”  90 Points Wine Enthusiast  $24.99

My notes:  Light wine, taste of ‘wet rocks’ — we know exactly what those taste like, right?  So funny who we know the taste of random things.

Overall, some great new finds!

Wine Recap

Over the past month, I’ve had a nice spread of new wines that I’m finally getting around to posting about.  From red to white to bubbly, I love trying new happy grapes to add options to my wine rack.

#1 — Fire Road Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand. Citrus, apple, crisp, light, but still a nice weight to it.  Price seems to range from $10-$16/bottle (when looking online).


#2 — Oakley Eighty-Two, California Red Wine.  Who makes this one?  One of my favorite vintners — Cline.  Nice red blend that’s a bit heavier (jammy) and can pair with about anything.  Great to have on hand to open and serve (or drink) whenever needed.  Price is about $10-$12/bottle.


#3  — Diseno Old Vine Malbec, Argentina.  Fruit and spice can make a wine so nice.  Price is $8-$10.




#4 — Bleasdale Vineyards Sparkling Shiraz, Australia.  I seek out sparkling reds.  This one is better than some but a bit sweet.  Was drinking it on New Year’s Day, though, so very fun for the occasion.  Definitely worth trying.  Price is $16-$20.  Note, the picture in the link is different than the one below, they might have changed the bottle/label.


#5 — Alvarez de Toledo Roble, Spain.  Just a nice red wine.  I was at a friend’s place for dinner and it was out and it was so nice.  Doing some searching looks like it’s about $8-$10 bottle.

Wente Chardonnay, Livermore Valley, California.  Some apple, some tropical fruit.  Aged in both barrels and stainless steel tanks it’s a very unique wine.  Definitely a Chard I’ll add to my list.  About $12-$14.


#6 — Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz, Australia.  Berries, a hint of chocolate and smoke and a bit of pepper.  Very nice.  About $20-$25.



Aussie Wine Tasting

Last night there was a call from Down Under to taste their wine.  One must answer!  How can you go wrong?  It was taking place at Bin 201 in Annapolis, MD.  For $10 you taste(d) 8 wines and then you could apply those 10 bucks towards the purchase of a bottle.  And, if more than one person goes, you can combine your ‘credits.’  The two of us who went walked out with a ‘free’ bottle of wine.  Score!  They also serve cheese and crackers at the tasting.

So the night began:


#1:  Pewsey Vale Riesling.  That was originally to be the 2nd in the tasting but turned out to be best as first as some previous tasters decided the notes made it best to go first.  Nice and dry.  You’re not drinking sugar.  The nose was flowery, the taste was lime.


#2:  Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc.  Hand me the green peppers.  Or, if your recipe calls for some and you’re out, you could easily sip some of this instead.  Wow, very poignant, yet nice, nose and taste of them.  Also had some grapefruit notes.


#3:  Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir.  Yes, it’s from New Zealand but they are pretty close together, yet so far away from here.  There was a light note of cranberries in the nose.   For taste, I found some ash and bit of cranberry.


#4:  Misfit Brujeria.  I felt it was ‘thick and chewy’ and couldn’t pick up a flavor.  If I had to put something to it, the most I could say is chocolate, but that’s me.


#5:  Tournon Mathilda.  Light wine with some eucalyptus on the nose.  Also carried the eucalyptus in the taste with a hint of jam.


#6:  Tir Na N’og ‘Old Vines’ Grenache.   What a nose — chocolate and molasses.  Then it was like drinking molasses cookies with a hint of black licorice.


#7:  Yalumba “The Scribbler” Shiraz/Cabernet.  I love their Shiraz/Viognier blend so was excited about this.  I could not pick up a taste from it though, unfortunately.


#8:  Jim Barry “The Cover Drive” Cabernet Sauvignon.  The most I can give is mint!


And the entire menu/notes from Bin 201 were interesting.  I always try to sniff and taste before reading these to avoid the ‘brainwash.’  The Aussie tasting was great and can’t wait to see/taste what’s next.