Flying Fox Vineyard, Afton, VA

Visited the Monticello wine region in Virginia and got to find some new adult grape juice. Started with Flying Fox Vineyard.

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They started growing their grapes in 1999. Lynn & Rich, who opened the vineyard, bought the grapes with Veritas, which are located in the Shenandoahs.

2015 Pinot Gris. Dry and crisp with key lime and citrus notes.  A perfect summer wine.  Produced from Ridge Run Vineyard grapes planted just for us in the Shenandoah Valley. $18. Was a bit sour for a Pinot Gris.

2015 Viognier. Our Viognieris produced from Ridge Run Vineyard grapes. With aromas of honeysuckle, apricot and pear this wine is a lovely Virginia classic. $19. Tasted sweet/sour.

White Table Wine. A lightly sweet blend of Pinot Gris, Traminette, and Viognier  – great with spicy food, an after dinner cheese platter or just sitting on the front porch. 6% Traminette, 64% Pinot Gris, 30% Viognier. $17. Blend of the first two wines and sweeter than the first two wines. Not my favorite.

2015 Rose. Dry, crisp and refreshing- an elegant Rosé. This lovely wine smells and tastes of fresh strawberries, nutmeg, and marzipan. And will be a perfect complement to all of your summer picnics! Cabernet Franc 50% – Merlot 50%. $17. Ok.

2014 Cabernet Franc. A classic Virginia Cabernet Franc: Light oak flavors compliment but not overwhelm the taste of red fruit and cherries along with a bit of black pepper spice. Aromas of baking spices, cardamom and cherry pie make this our favorite summer red.  80% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot. $24. Pepper notes, nice wine.

2014 Merlot. An elegant Bordeaux-style Merlot.  Plum, cherries and a hint of mocha on the palate.  Enjoy now or cellar to drink later. $22. Not good.

2014 Trio. Trio – our harmonious blend of three wines, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot is our vineyard in a bottle.  An elegant wine with lovely color and balance.  50% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot. $27. Nothing stands out.

2014 Petit Verdot. Dark and intense, this wine shows flavors of black cherry and blackberry fruit.  Our favorite with game. This wine shows firm tannins and good acidity.  It will age nicely. 80% Petit Verdot, 20% Merlot. $28. Heavy but not weight bearing. Definitely had the cherry and blackberry.

Red Table Wine. This wine is an off-dry blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot.  Soft and smooth, this wine appeals to both red and white wine drinkers.  Chilled in the summer, warm and spiced in the winter, always appropriate. $17. Sweet for a red.

Nice range of wine to sample in a different region than the (relative) northern Virginia ones I normally locally get closer to home.

Pour Me Some White

Love my part time wine tasting gigs. Last weekend during one of them I had all whites.  Ironic because it was freezing cold outside because of the 15-20mph winds and mid-50 temps. But, I guess you can sip your pain away, right?

I was sharing the delights of:

La Marca Prosecco — one of my favorites. You cannot go wrong with this stuff. You can find it for $10-$15/bottle. Just crisp and and perfect bubbles with tiny hints of citrus. Need I say more?

Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc — I love the SB from New Zealand.  Gimme some grapefruit! This one was a bit milder than my favorite.  Awesome notes of citrus all around with a nice finish. Low teens on the cost.

William Hill Chardonnay — if you like (traditional) oaked Chard, this one’s for you.  It’s from the North Coast of CA and has some definite tropical fruit notes in it while giving you that oaked, buttery taste. This one runs in the mid-teens per bottle.

Sip on, my friends.

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Eat, Drink, Arbory

When in Australia, one must do what hosts dictate.  So, when arriving in Melbourne a few weeks back, my friends picked me up at the airport and provided a city tour.  Then, because they knew of the long day of travel that had taken place, they just let the fun begin.  We visited a place right on the water, Arbory.  On the front of the menu it says it just right EAT DRINK.

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This is one of the fun places that serves their wine on tap. Around the table we tried Arbory Shiraz, Rose and Pinot Grigio.

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This came with some fries and hummus. Great way to start vacation!

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Namaste

Are we in yoga class?  Oh no, much better.  We were at Dog Fish Head Brewery.  After a great time at Go Ape — a zip line and tree top adventure course outside of DC — one must refuel!  Of course you go to Dog Fish Head and there are so many choices.  They are great and give you samples, if needed.  I ended up going with Namaste…beer heaven.  Perfect way to refresh after several hours outside.  It was light, crisp and had perfect citrus notes.

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Om.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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 #3 — Solms Delta

After the 2nd winery, we put the bikes away and took a long enough drive (as in too far to ride) to Solms Delta.

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Here we started with their Vastrap, a white which is a blend of Chenin Blanc and Semillon.  It was a dry white, nothing to write home about.  R50.

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Next we went to the Amalie, which is a blend of Viognier, Roussanne and Grenache.  Smells like chard, has some oak flavors, but I would characterize it as a ‘light’ chard.  R110.

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Third one presented was the Lekkerwijn, which means ‘nice’ or ‘yummy’ wine.  It’s a blend of Mourvedre, Grenache Noir and Viognier and is a Rose.  It was sweet and not great.  R55.

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Reds, finally reds!!!  Langarm, pronounced Long-arm, a blend of four varietals — Pinotage, Touriga Nacional, Shiraz and Mourvedre.  The nose had tobacco and was sweet.  The taste was light and peppery.  R55.

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Next red was one I look for a lot and can be hard to find — sparkling Shiraz.  This one is their Cape Jazz Shiraz.  Subtle, fruity, per them. Light, refreshing, 9.9% alcohol.  Yes, oh yes.  I left with a bottle.  R580.

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We then hit a fortified wine, the Gemoedsrus, made with a Shiraz grape.  The style ‘An entirely new concept in port-style wine; Shiraz desiccated on the vine, then fortified with Shiraz grappa.’  18.5% alcohol, NICE and SMOOTH.  R150.

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Finally we sampled an experimental wine, Perry, a lightly sparkling pear fermented beverage, 6% ABV.  Crisp and refreshing.  The problem here is that you could not taste any alcohol so you could easily just be sitting outside enjoying this on a beautiful summer day and that bottle would be gone quickly…and you would be too…without realizing it.  R50.

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Three down, and since we had such a small group, our guide made sure we hit one more winery before the day was done!

 

“Weight” of Wines

Going through long-lost wine class notes, there was a great chart of the “Weight” of wine.  They go from light to full bodied.  Good to have on hand when deciding what buy, serve or just open.  Cheers to the weekend!

Whites
Soave, Orvieto, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc
Riesling
Muscadet
Sparkling Wines (including Champagne)
Chenin Blanc
Cremant (sparkling) or some aged, vintage Champagne
Chablis (from France), unoaked Chardonnays
Sauvignon Blanc
White Bordeaux
White Burgundy
Gewurztraminer
Oaked Chardonnay

 

Reds
Valpolicella, Bardolino
Beaujolais
Dolcetto
Barbera (old style, emphasizing fruit)
Rioja (and other wines made from tempranillo)
New World Pinot Noir (California, Australia)
Burgundy
Barbera
Chianti
Zinfandel, Rhone
California Merlot
Chianti Classico
Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Bordeaux
Petit Sirah
Syrah, Shiraz
Barbaresco, Amarone della Valpolicella
Barolo
Brunello di Montalino

20 under $20

While reading/following Shape magazine, I came across a great article/post about The Best Wines Under $20.

I will say, I love the Ravenswood Zin, any bubbly, will have to try the Terrazas Malbec and the Hahn Pinot.  Have tried quite a few of the others on the list and they are good finds!

Cheers to the holiday season!

Wines