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Posts Tagged ‘Viognier’

Wine On The Go, Spectacular Pairing, and Some Life Ramblings

January 28, 2015 14 comments

Charlotte airportLife is an interesting thing (wow, what a deep opening thought, huh?). I was supposed to depart at 6 am on a direct flight from New York to Miami to attend the conference. Thanks to much-hyphed-but-never-really-happened blizzard, my flight was cancelled and I was automatically re-booked, now on the flight with the stop, connecting through Charlotte. Charlotte. You know, there are some strong emotional words which I’m striving to avoid, whether conversing or writing. One of such words is “hate” – and I will explain the connection in a second.

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, #WBW80, #MWWC2, GMO Wines???, Harvest Marathon and more

August 14, 2013 10 comments

P1130746 Viognier Les Vins des VienneMeritage time!

Let’s start with the answer for the wine quiz #69, grape trivia – Viognier. In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about the white grape called Viognier.

Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Viognier stands pretty unique among all white grapes as it is often added or can be added as blending component during the production of the red wines around the world. Do you know the name of the red grape it typically accompanies?

A1: Syrah. Viognier is allowed to be added to the red Syrah wines of Côte-Rôtie (up to 20%), and Shiraz Viognier wines are quite popular in Australia.

Q2: Name the source of essentially the best and most long-living Viognier wines in the world

A2: Château-Grillet. Château-Grillet is so called Monopole, as it is both an AOC and the single winery. Château-Grillet is known to produce some of the best, long living Viognier wines ever. Château-Grillet is surrounded by another Viognier-only appellation, Condrieu, which also makes great Viognier wines, but the answer I was looking for here is Château-Grillet.

Q3: Viognier became so popular in the United States, that one of the states even called it “an official grape of the state”. Do you know which state it is?

a. California, b. New York, c. Texas, d. Virginia

A3: Virginia! In 2011, Viognier was named an “official grape” of the state of Virginia.

Q4: Wine Spectator calls wines rated in 95-100 range Classic (the highest and the most prestigious category). True or False: there are no Viognier wines with Classic rating

A4: False. There is a number of Condrieu wines rated in the range of 95 – 98 (98 so far was the highest rating for Viognier wines)

Q5: Based on DNA research, Viognier has an unlikely cousin in Italy, which is not even the white grape, but red. Can you name that “cousin”?

A5: There is almost always a slight element of controversy with all this DNA research data. According to DNA research information in Wikipedia, Viognier is shown “to be closely related to the Piedmont grape Freisa and to be a genetic cousin of Nebbiolo” – thus both Freisa and Nebbiolo are correct answers here.

We had lots of great answers for this quiz, and we have winners! Considering the absolute precision on the answer for the second question (Château-Grillet), Jeff a.k.a. TheDrunkenCyclist is our Grand Winner today, but both Julian at VinoInLove and Kirsten at TheArmchairSommelier are also the winners of this wine quiz #69. Winners get their due share of unlimited bragging rights, but I definitely want to thank all participants  – great job!

And now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and web!

I have few of mostly the reminders for you today.

Today, August 14th – Wine Blogging Wednesday event, #WBW80 – Dry Rosé. There is still some times left to drink Rosé and submit your post! For all the details please click here.

This coming Friday, August 16th – deadline for submission for the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #2, with the theme called Trouble. You can find all the rules here. There is still time, get your trouble under control and write! Use #MWWC2 hash tag your submission.

Tomorrow, Thursday, August 15th – Last Bottle 2013 Harvest Madness Marathon is taking place! If you like get great wines at unbelievable prices, this event is for you! Starting at 9 AM Pacific time, new wines will be sold at LastBottle web site at neck-breaking speed. Last Bottle model is similar to WTSO – no e-mail announcements, and they don’t even use twitter, so you have to refresh your browser all the time. There is one difference though – there are no minimum quantities to buy to get free shipping. The event will continue for 2 days, and all the wines will be shipped during few weeks after the event. If you are not buying wine at Last Bottle – you really missing lots of great deals. It is free to subscribe to their web site – but if you are not a subscriber and want to become one, send me an e-mail so I will subscribe you – you will get $5 credit (yes, true, and I will get $20, but then of course you can subscribe someone else…).

Last but not least for today is an interesting article by W. Blake Gray which caused my quick and short reaction – WTF?! Seriously? Here is a post in The Gray Report, where W. Blake Gray is talking about an article in Wine Spectator advocating the idea of … noting else but GMO wines! I might be over-reacting, but after reading this article I was split-hair close to canceling my subscription. Well, read it for yourself and let me know what do you think.

That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty – but the refill is coming. Until the next time – cheers!

Weekly Wine Quiz #69: Grape Trivia – Viognier

August 10, 2013 28 comments
California Viognier grapes, as shown in Wilipedia

California Viognier grapes, as shown in Wikipedia

Welcome to the weekend and your new wine quiz!

We are continuing our grape trivia series, still focusing on the white grapes, and today’s subject is Viognier.

Talking about turbulent history here. Viognier is one of the oldest known white grapes in the world, with the first mentions attributed to the 280 AD. It is considered that Romans brought it to France from Croatia (of course the region was called differently in those times, but it is still geographically correct). Historically, Viognier wines were mostly made in the Northern Rhone region in France, and they were quite popular in the 1800. However, by the 1965, there were only 8 acres (!) planted in the world, producing minuscule amount of wine.

Viognier‘s renaissance started in 1980s, when the grape was brought into the United States and Australia. From that time on, the interest to the grape increased and even skyrocketed in the 21st century worldwide, with the plantings in France alone increasing 100-fold. Now Viognier is growing in pretty much every major winemaking country in the world, including Spain with some experimental plantings in Rioja area. In the United States alone, the grape is becoming more and more popular, and not only in California, but also in the states such as Texas and Virginia, producing very interesting wines (take a look at my notes from Viognier tasting in Texas).

Viognier at its best produces wines with very perfumy, floral nose, which are firm, structured and full bodied on the palate, with peach and apricot flavors often being most noticeable. The challenge of Viognier lies in the fact that the grape is naturally low in acidity, so if it is not ripen properly, it will produce  sweet and not very drinkable plonk. One of the reason for Viognier to do much better nowadays is greatly improved winegrowing and winemaking techniques, which allow to produce great tasting wines more consistently.

And now, to the quiz!

Q1: Viognier stands pretty unique among all white grapes as it is often added or can be added as blending component during the production of the red wines around the world. Do you know the name of the red grape it typically accompanies?

Q2: Name the source of essentially the best and most long-living Viognier wines in the world

Q3: Viognier became so popular in the United States, that one of the states even called it “an official grape of the state”. Do you know which state it is?

a. California

b. New York

c. Texas

d. Virginia

Q4: Wine Spectator calls wines rated in 95-100 range Classic (the highest and the most prestigious category). True or False: there are no Viognier wines with Classic rating

Q5: Based on DNA research, Viognier has an unlikely cousin in Italy, which is not even the white grape, but red. Can you name that “cousin”?

Good luck, enjoy the quiz and your weekend! Cheers!

Battle of Viogniers: Texas Wins!

October 11, 2012 9 comments
One of the fascinating  things about blogging is that you get to meet a lot of great people online. Moreover, you meet people who is passionate about the same subject as you are. And then, at some point, you can even meet those people in real life. This was my story Wednesday last week, when I met @SAHMmelier, who happened to live in Austin (you can find her blog here). As soon as we met, the feeling was that we knew each other for ages – it was so easy to start conversation (it was much more difficult to stop it later : )). Thanks to @SAHMmelier, I got a full embrace of the Texas wines, at the “Texas versus The World” meetup hosted by GUSTO Tastings, which we attended together.

GUSTO Tastings does a great job of hosting multiple wine events every month, each one with a slightly different purpose. Each first Wednesday of the month, the members of the meetup get together for “Texas versus the world” event where the group gets to taste and compare wines made in Texas with similar wines made in the other countries and regions – this was the exact event we attended, and it was dedicated to Viognier (the November event will be all about Tempranillo or Sangiovese, which should be very interesting, as I think both of those grapes produce very good results in Texas – oh well, I will have to live vicariously through that one…). GUSTO Tastings also runs blind tasting events once a month, which are some of the most exhilarating experiences for wine aficionados. Anyway, if you live in a close proximity to Austin (or few other cities in Texas), you should definitely check GUSTO Testings out and use the opportunity to learn about the wines.

Let me tell you now about the event. First of all, we had the best table in the town. We were lucky enough to meet and share the table with Flat Creek Estate winemaker Tim Drake, a witty and charismatic guy and his lovely wife Spring. In addition to all the fun conversations at the table, it was  even more fun listening to Tim delivering his thoughts in bright and engaging fashion, with the ability to use very convincing expressions to emphasize his point (I will have to refrain from repeating his vivid answer and explanation for the question about Reserve wines).

This particular event was all about Viognier, once nearly extinct Rhone white grape varietal. A few month ago there was a Wine Blogging Wednesday dedicated to Viognier, so for more details about the grape, including the link to the short video teaching you how to say that “Viognier” word correctly, here is the link to my blog post.

During the course of the evening, we tasted through 17 different Viognier wines – 8 from around the world, and 9 from Texas. All the wines where split into the flights of four, and the last flight had 5 wines in it.

The first four wines represented the old world – my notes are below:

  1. 2009 Cacciagrande Viognier, Maremma, Toscana – very unusual, I had no idea Viognier is used in Tuscany. The wine had a beautiful nose of classic Riesling, sweet with a hint of petrol – but palate didn’t support that nose at all. Acidic, briny, not pleasant. Drinkability: 6-
  2. 2011 Domaine des Cantarelles Viognier, Vin de Pays du Gard – Typical nose – perfume, full body expectation -but the body is too watery, almost Pinot Grigio style… Acidic aftertaste. Drinkability: 6
  3. 2009 Vidal-Fleury Cote du Rhone – Strange nose, a bit vegetative, and then very oily (I never had a wine before with such a mouthfeel; scotch – yes, but wine? Never), some muted fruit – not good. Drinkability: 5
  4. 2009 E. Guigal Condrieu – this wine was redeeming the first flight – beautiful concentrated nose, with touch of sugar candy. Nice and delicate on the palate, but not enough power. Drinkability: 7

Flight number 2 consisted of the New World wines:

  1. 2010 Cono Sur Viognier, Colchagua Valley, Chile – Beautiful nose, touch perfumy, perfectly round palate, good acidity, some green apples. Drinkability: 7+ (best so far)
  2. 2010 La Capra Viognier, Western Cape, South Africa – somewhat green on the nose, with some matchstick. Let me stop here for a second, and I have a question for you, my readers. Have you ever experienced anything like that? Is that a showing of the extra sulfates used during the production? Anyway, let’s continue – there was also some minerality on the nose (or at least Tim suggested that it was) Pleasant on the palate, more of a Sauvignon Blanc qualities – lime, touch of grapefruit. As I was all puzzled by the nose, I’m not even sure how I want to rate this wine.
  3. 2010 Yalumba Viognier Eden Valley, Australia. If the previous wine had one matchstick on the nose, this one had a whole box. While that smell was going away little by little, the initial encounter with that wine almost game me a headache. Strange nose at first (heavy matchstick? Sulfites?). The wine opened up eventually on the palate into the medium to full bodied wine, retaining some sharpness. Considering that smell (which rendered the wine literally undrinkable to me) I can’t rate it. I can only hope that it was a particular faulty bottle…
  4. 2010 Miner Viognier Oakville ’Simpson Vineyard’, Napa. Perfect nose – great bright fruit, nice perfume. Best nose so far. Palate doesn’t live up – kind of flat and unimpressive. Judging nose by itself this wine should get Drinakability of 8, but as a whole,  I can only give it a 6.

The next flight included a vertical of 4 wines from Flat Creek Estate Winery. As all of those wines were made out of grapes which didn’t grow in Texas (but the wine, of course, was made in Texas), they don’t carry Texas designation on the label. I have to admit that somehow I missed to take a picture of this flight, so just to give you an idea, I had to borrow the picture from the Flat Creek Estate’s web site.

  1. 2008 Flat Creek Estate Winery Viognier. Nose was practically non-existent (I couldn’t pickup any aroma), sweet on the palate. It is drinkable, but not great. Drinkability: 7
  2. 2009 Flat Creek Estate Winery Viognier. Nice nose, more of a typical viognier. Palate is touch out of balance (a bit sharp), but very drinkable. Drinkability: 7
  3. 2010 Flat Creek Estate Winery Viognier. Beautiful bright nose, touch of the pear preserve, fresh brewed tea on the nose. Needs a bit more acid on the palate. Drinkability: 7-
  4. 2011 Flat Creek Estate Winery Viognier. Perfect nose. Bright, clean, nice white fruit. Outstanding, perfect acidity, ripe fruit, perfect balance. Lodi fruit. To this point, this was my favorite! Drinkability: 8.

As we went to the all-Texas flight, Tim gave a great explanation to the room about different types of yeast and their ability to bring different qualities to the wine (more glycerin versus more esters etc.). And this is all in the hands of the winemaker. Yep, winemaking is Art…

And now, to the all Texas flight (look at my notes – they all show a progression of tasting as the wines were opening in the glass):

  1. 2011 Lone Oak Winery Viognier, Texas. Smell is similar to detergent. Not balanced. Not good. then it opened up on the nose, but with a note of brine. Pretty balanced now. Drinkability: 7+
  2. 2010 Brennan Vineyards Viognier, Texas. Some sweetness on the nose. Same sweetness on the palate – but not balanced. Needs more acidity. Leaves burning feeling. Improved after a breathing time!!! Much better! Drinkability: 7
  3. 2011 Becker Vineyards, Viognier, Texas. Nice nose, some gooseberry, little complexity. Finish is short. Drinkable, but not exciting. Drinkability: 6+
  4. 2010 McPherson Cellars Viognier, Texas. Interesting complexity on the nose. Sweet with some green notes. Beautiful palate, good round wine. Drinkability: 7+

And now (drum roll, please) let me present to you my best of tasting wine:

2012 Flat Creek Estate Winery Viognier, Texas. Barrel sample. Beautiful nose, light fruit, white fruit. 100% Texas fruit (brownfield). Very nice, good overall, some zest – really pleasant! Drinkability: 8+

The fact that grapes were picked 6 weeks ago, and that Tim had blended wine in the morning of the day of the tasting, is just makes it an incredible experience all together.

There you have it, folks – Texas makes great wines, so if you can get them – you should! And if your travel will take you down to Texas – make sure the wineries are part of your trip. You can tell them I sent you. Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Vines and Music, and not much else…

October 3, 2012 5 comments

Meritage time!

I don’t have much news for you for today – but let me at least give you the answers for the Wine Quiz #31 – A Guessing Game, Ultimate Challenge. In that quiz, you were supposed to match 5 white wine grapes with the 5 reviews. I have to admit – I was not very inventive, and most of the wines I referred to were from France. But it also seems that I got it over the top, as there was only one answer to that quiz – come on, people – this is only a game, there are absolutely no bad consequences, whether you answer it right or wrong! I sure hope to see more answers for the second part of the Ultimate Challenge, which will be about red wines. So the right answers are: A2, B3, C1, D5, E4. Here are the wines and reviews for you:

Chardonnay:

“An enticing, lemony white that is both aromatic and rich on the palate. Apple and mineral notes combine with the lemon flavors that glide to a lingering finish” – Domaine Michel & Fils Mâcon-Villages à Clessé 2011, WS90

Chenin Blanc:

“This has weight and depth but remains stylish, with ginger and glazed pear notes in reserve while persimmon, green almond and piecrust notes lead the way. Lovely cut on the finish keeps the ginger edge echoing. Should develop nicely in the cellar” – Guy Saget Vouvray Marie de Beauregard 2010, WS92

Sauvignon Blanc:

“Gently kissed with toast, giving the core of white peach, lemon and chamomile a broader frame of lightly toasted brioche and paraffin. A suave echo of flint chimes through the finish in this lovely rendering of the toasty style” – Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Étienne Henri 2009, WS93

Savagnin:

“Intensely minerally and smoky, with a blanket of acidity behind the apple, sea salt and anise flavors. The long finish is bracing and powerful” – Andre & Mireille Tissot Arbois Vin Jaune 2000, WS90

Viognier:

“Extremely rich and generous, with ripe, opulent peach, nectarine, apricot and tangerine flavors that are woven together on a full, lush body with smoke, spice, cedar and mineral details and a juicy acidity.” – DuMol Viognier Russian River Valley Lia 2007, WS93

As you can see, first four wines were from France, and the last one was from California. I will try to offer a higher geographic variety with the red wines quiz.

Going for the interesting news, I found one article from Dr. Vino which I wanted to share with you – it is about use of the music in the vineyard – what do you think, can the music affect the vines and lead to better (or worse) wines?

In a kind of “local news” update, I’m in Texas this week, where I will attend the GUSTO Tastings event, called “Texas versus the World”. GUSTO Tastings (which is effectively a meetup group) runs a lot of very interesting wine events here in Austin (lucky for you, people of Austin), and every first Wednesday of the month they conduct a special event where they compare Texas wines with the wines from other regions and countries. Today’s event will be all about Viognier, and I’m definitely looking forward attending it (and meeting  fellow wine blogger @SAHMMelier, who told me about this event) – for all of you who will not be able to attend it, I promise the blog post with all of the details.

That’s all for today’s Meritage – enjoy your Wednesday, folks, and make sure there will be wine in your glass (definitely will be in mine). Cheers!

 

 

 

 

One Viognier, Two Viognier

June 21, 2012 11 comments

Viognier. A white grape, with more than 2000 years of history, and nearly extinct by 1965 with only 8 acres of plantings left in Northern Rhone  – for the full history of the grape you can refer to this article in Wikipedia.

By the way, can you pronounce that “Viognier”? I’m not trying to insult the intelligence of my readers, but this french word is anything but easy. If you need a little help, here is a very short video for you:

If you wonder why are we all of a sudden talking specifically about Viognier (after all, there are other 9,999 grapes supposedly growing in the world), the reason is simple. Yesterday was Wine Blogging Wednesday event number 78, hosted by Frank Morgan from Drink What You Like blog, and the event was dedicated to Viognier, which sprung back to life and now successfully grows pretty much all over the world.

Viognier is no stranger on this blog. Two years ago, I was able to taste Virginia Viognier at Chrysalis Vineyards – it was very good. Then I had probably my best Viognier experience ever at the Lavinia wine store in Geneva – there I tried 2009 Domaine Georges Vernay Condrieu, a classic Viognier from Norther Rhone (it was outstanding with Drinkability rating of 9).

For this WBW78 tasting I had a few prerequisites. For one, I would love to taste Virginia Viognier – but it is not available in Stamford, CT. For the second one, I knew that I don’t want to taste California Viognier. Why? First, about two month ago, I had bad experience at a number of wineries in Temecula Valley in California. Second, there some some advantages in writing this blog post somewhat late – you can refer to the work of others. Please read the description of Rosenblum 2008 Kathy’s Cuvee in the blog post by the fellow blogger Gwendolyn Alley, especially the last part: “…finishes tart and savory yet cloying”. No further comments.

I definitely wanted to have classic Condrieu Viognier – but that is typically not a cheap option. Thanks to the advice of Zak from Cost Less Wines, I ended up with two bottles of Viognier – one from France, and another one from Australia.

My Viognier #1 was 2011 Les Vines de Vienne Viognier ($19.99, 13% ABV). Interestingly enough, this wine was made in the region surrounding the town of Vienne in Northern Rhone region of France – one of the legends has it that this town (Vienne) gave the name to the grape itself (Viognier). Another interesting fact is that Les Vines de Vienne wines are product of obsession of the three wine makers – read more about it here.

I didn’t plan any dinner or an event around this Viognier tasting, so I decided to pair it with a few random things I could grab from the fridge. But before we will talk about pairing, let’s talk about the wine itself. Here are the tasting notes “in progress”. Nice golden color, beautiful nose of green apple and orange zest. There is clean residual sweetness on the nose. One the palate – touch of sweetness, lemon tartness, golden delicious apple, perfect acidity. As wine opens up, sweetness disappears and acidity kicks in. Perfectly refreshing and balanced, very clean. Drinkability: 8+. Taking into account the results of tasting on the second day, I want to note that it is important not to over-chill this wine. Taken directly from the fridge on the second day, the wine had slightly unpleasant sharpness, a bite, which disappeared as soon as the wine warmed up a bit.

As I said, the food pairings were rather a game than anything thought through and planned. I tried this wine with slow roasted Jalapeno ( our local Fairway had selection of large size Jalapenos, which were a killer after being slow roasted on a grill) – the wine was not enough to remove the heat of Jalapeno (fire hose was more appropriate for that). Wine worked very well with French goat cheese called Crottin de Champcol. It perfectly complemented grilled yellow squash and worked nicely with grilled asparagus.

Viognier #2 was 2011 Yalumba Viognier South Australia ($11.99, 13.5% ABV). A touch darker in color than the #1, less bright. Nose of pear, herbs, white peaches and mango, more exuberant than the wine #1, but not to the point of being overwhelming. On the palate, there was more fruit than in the wine #1, but it was predominantly white grapefruit. While the wine was showing round enough, there was not enough acidity.  Drinkability: 7.

None of the previous food pairings worked well. With Jalapeno, the wine was showing very acidic. It was too fruity against goat cheese, and didn’t do anything to asparagus, and grilled squash was the only okay pairing for this wine. Still, I think this is quite reasonable wine for the money.

This concludes my report about Viognier experience. I would highly recommend the Les Vins de Vienne Viognier – the wine is definitely worth seeking, especially considering that anything comparable and coming directly from Condrieu will cost you three times more.

So, how about you? Did you have Viognier yesterday? I hope you did, and if you did not… what are you waiting for? You should be on the way to the store now. Cheers!

 

 

Wednesday’s Meritage (and the Answer for the Wine Quiz #16)

June 20, 2012 2 comments

Not sure if it will become a permanent feature on this blog, but I want to continue my short “wine news flash” posts on Wednesdays, and even came up with a fancy name for these posts, as you can judge from the title.

First, an answer for the Wine Quiz #16, Father of California Wine: those of you who chose Junípero Serra were … absolutely correct! Under direction of Father Junipero Serra, Franciscan missionaries planted first sustained vineyard at Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1779, and subsequently, vineyards had been planted at another 8 missions. Those plantings had being known as Mission grapes, which dominated California wine industry for about 100 years.

Today is a special Wednesday, which happens once a month in wine bloggosphere – it is so called Wine Blogging Wednesday. To be more precise, today is Wine Blogging Wednesday 78, or as it is abbreviated on Twitter, #WBW78. For 78 month in a row (if I’m not mistaken), special wine theme is selected for a third Wednesday of the month, and everybody are invited to participate and share the experiences. The theme for #WBW78 is called “Get yo Viggy On” (not that I personally like the way it is phrased), and it is dedicated to Viognier, a very interesting white grape originated in  Northern Rhone in France. Viognier wines should be widely available – hope it is not too late for you to get a bottle and join the festivities. I plan to report on my experience later on tonight or tomorrow.

For the rest of the interesting wine news, I decided to share only one note, which I came across yesterday, reading Tom Wark’s Fermentation wine blog (if you are not reading his blog – you are missing a lot). I know that some of my readers come from Canada, and I learned from this post that Canada is about to allow direct shipments of wine across provinces. As I believe US wine laws are arcane, I had no idea that Canada wine laws were even worse! I’m glad that this problem is about to be solved for Canadian wine lovers.

That’s all I have for you for now, folks. Cheers!

 

Chrysalis Vineyards in Virginia – Definitely Worth a Trip

August 25, 2010 12 comments

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While traversing wine blogosphere, I came across a post about the book called “The Wild Vine” by Todd Kliman. This sparked my interest because of the two reasons – for one, it was talking about the grape called Norton, which was for a long time on my “to try” (of course partially due to the Wine Century Club and my Treble Journey). Another reason was that on the very first page the book was talking about Virginia, and Virginia already was set as my vacation destination for a coming week. To my full delight, Chrysalis Vineyards, located on Champe Ford Road in Middleburg, was the place where The Wild Vine book started, and it happened to be just around the corner of our intended destination in Virginia, which made visiting it very easy.

When visiting wineries in some “well developed” areas, like Napa Valley in California, you usually drive along a big road, simply making turns into short driveways. ChrisalisVineyards_reds Coming to Chrysalis Vineyards was pleasantly different – mile and a half on the narrow unpaved road, surrounded by luscious greens. Somehow you get this real rustic feeling, which sets you in the right mood for tasting the wines ( and probably affects the way wines taste, but I guess this will be a subject for another post :)).

There was a great line up of wines at the winery. There were simply no wines which I didn’t like (has something to do with the road and right mood, huh?), and all the wines were of a very good quality. The selection of grapes which are used at the winery also was very unusual – being accustomed to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah from the West coast, and then Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir from the North East, seeing Viognier, Petit Manseng, Albarino, Petit Verdot and Tannat (and of course Norton), was exciting.

The tasting included 12 wines, out of which 2009 Viognier (exceptionally perfumed and vibrant), 2005 Norton Estate Bottled (80% Norton with addition of Petit Verdot and other grapes, very balanced with silky tannins and long finish), 2005 Petit Verdot (80% Petit Verdot and 20% Tannat, very soft and round) and 2005 Norton Locksley Reserve (again, very balanced and soft) were really shining, I would rate them all at 7+ and 8 (Viognier definitely deserves an 8).

All in all, if you have a chance to visit Chrysalis Vineyards – don’t miss it, go discover the Real American Grape for yourself – and let me know your opinion!