Jefferson Would Have Been Proud

November 20, 2010

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Would the real Virginia wines please stand up!


Jefferson Vineyards’ winemaker, Andy, invited Matt and me, along with a handful of other bloggers/press, to the vineyard for a blind wine tasting today.

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6 flights of 6 varietals. Lots of tasting!


Each flight had 1-2 Virginia wines (mostly by Jefferson, Keswick, Pollak, and Blenheim) and the rest (4-6) from the rest of the world – France, Italy, Australia, South Africa, South America, California. I don’t have any tasting notes to share of every kind we tried, but I do have the label of my favorite in each varietal!



I absolutely LOVE wine tasting – my nose is strong! But I don’t love drinking so much I don’t remember the occasion (which has happened many-a-time!) The plan was to learn to spit, for real this time. Luckily, everyone was spitting. Whew. It was actually awesome. I was able to keep my focus and concentration from Pinot Gris to Cab Franc to Bordeaux blends and it took nothing away from the taste or experience.

My spittoon was a solo cup, which was emptied into a larger communal spittoon after each flight.

Allow us to demonstrate:

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In between flights I had water and lots and lots of oyster crackers!!


And now, the wines….

Pinot Gris

Not my favorite wine of wines, but I really enjoyed this tasting. I love sitting back and just seeing what flavors develop.


Best Of Show

Pollak, from right down the street! One for Virginia (beating out $30 French wine by my palate)



A grape that put Virginia on the map! It was a tough call, as I really liked a lot of them.


Best Of Show

But the winner was…Porter Creek from SONOMA where we were just last week!!!! I squealed when I realized we’d been there. I wonder if this was a fair tasting because maybe my tongue had taste memory going on!? I will say that Virginia wines were my #2 and #3 in this round!




Best Of Show

Annnnnddd Jefferson won this round! Up against French + California. The 2009 Reserve.


Cabernet Frac

Ahhhh red wines. So much going on!

This was by far my favorite of the tastings. So many flavors came out of this collection of wines!! My notes included:

  • Antique wardrobe
  • Cherry in an antique wardrobe
  • Perfume
  • Mexican Restaurant
  • Herby tomato sauce + green pepper
  • Garlic bread with parmesan
  • Inky pot
  • IMG_1710

    Best Of Show

    This one was so very hard to choose, but I ended up having a tie between Keswick‘s 2009 Cab Franc and an Italian one. It was a total toss up because I loved ALL of them in this round.



    Merlots are so boring. I think we needed a food pairing with this round. They didn’t hold a candle to the reds they were sandwiched between.


    Best Of Show

    Alas, another Keswick was crowned the top.


    Bourdeaux | Meritage

    Mmmmmmm. Matt and I LOVE blends. In fact, we had VERY similar scorecards the whole day. I wonder if it is nature or nurture that we share the same affinity for fruity, medium-bodied wines. I love blends because I think they are the most complex and have the most layers. The wine really changes as it moves from the front to the back of your mouth as well as from nose to finish.


    Best Of Show

    The winner in the blends was the Chappellet Mountain Cuvee from Napa, although it was REALLy hard to choose a favorite in this category as well.


    The Results

    Virginia – IIII

    California – II

    The World – 0

    Remember this was a BLIND tasting, so I had no idea which were the VA and which were the rest of the world. I find it kind of hard to believe Virginia really did win my palate, but then again, that’s why we moved here Smile

    Would you believe after all of this wine I was not the least bit tipsy? I figured even with the spitting I would have drank more, but I was pretty consistent. What a great technique those wine people developed!


    After the tasting we moved outside for lunch and some beer to refresh the palate.


    Matt sipped a brown ale


    What was THIS doing there? Booo!



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    Andy had grilled some meats (marinated in bourbon and beer!) and had a spread of pasta salad, green salad, veggies and nibbles for the group.

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    My plate – plus extra salad + veggies!


    And when in rome….

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    Crack open the Meritage! Matt and I bought a bottle of this when we visited Jefferson Vineyards for the first time. Loved it!


    But then the magnum appeared




    Side-by-side tasting. The magnum was aged longer and in bigger barrels and had a much smoother taste.


    We called it a day before we ended up drinking more than we needed at 3PM and headed home.

    Thanks to Andy and Jefferson for the opportunity to share what beautiful wines come out of Virginia!

    Currently sipping mint tea and wondering why my car alarm is STILL going off randomly! So.very.annoying.

    Thinking about an impromptu dinner with Stephanie (who was at the event today) and Evan tonight! Let the fun continue!

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    { 44 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 20, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    What a blast – I would love to go to a wine tasting!


    2 Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine November 20, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    What a gorgeous day- wow that’s a lot of wine!! Not that that’s a bad thing. And I had to laugh at the Miller. With all that good wine (and beer), who would bring that?!


    3 Blog is the New Black November 20, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    So jealous of all the wine tastings you go to! :)


    4 Allie (Live Laugh Eat) November 20, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Oyster crackers!! I may have to carry a pack of those in my purse to every wine tasting from here on out :)

    So proud of Virginia today!


    5 Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen November 20, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    This looks like it was such an amazing experience!


    6 holly @ couchpotatoathlete November 20, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Sometimes a Miller Lite is ok, at least I think so :) But I sure wouldn’t bring it to an event like you were at!


    7 Cathy B. @ Bright Bakes November 20, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    wow…what a beautiful afternoon! Thanks for sharing…
    cathy b. @ brightbakes


    8 Simply Life November 20, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    oh what a fun tasting!


    9 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) November 20, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Wow, what an event! You weren’t kidding, you had quite the day planned! Bet you are glad you got up early for that run this morning!


    10 Natalia - a side of simple November 20, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    What a fun day! I did in fact laugh out loud at your comment in in regards to the Miller Lite. From a fancy wine tasting to sipping miller lite is a pretty drastic jump in my opinion 😉


    11 Sana November 20, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    I get tipsy off of one glass of wine. LOL


    12 Lisa Fine - lisasfoods November 20, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks for sharing that. Have you learned what you know about wines through experience, or do you read about them too?


    13 Kath November 20, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Taste taste taste!! We’ve just been tasting for 10 years…oh wait, I’m 28….. 7 years!! Wine festivals and free tastings are the best because you get a spectrum of the same grape, or just learn to put name with flavor.


    14 Stephanie November 20, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Yay VA! Love our state – the wine tasting sounded fabulous. Virginia definitely has some top notch wines!


    15 Mary @ Bites and Bliss November 20, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Fabulous afternoon! Good call calling it quits before drinking too much. 😉


    16 Tracey November 20, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I haven’t been to a wine tasting in forever. They are always so much fun and it looks like you had a great time!


    17 stacey-healthylife November 20, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    That’s fun that you and Matt could do that together.


    18 Felicia (a taste of health with balance) November 20, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    ohhh I am so jealous!! Virginia is only like 6 hours away, take me next time :)


    19 Lindsay November 20, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Love the big red X through the ML :)

    For your car – until you have it figured out, try locking it from the inside, rather than using the remote key thing. When my battery died on my remote key lock that is what I had to do…my alarm kept going off too…


    20 Faith @ lovelyascharged November 20, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    It’s a shame to hear you don’t like Merlot – I love it! It’s simple but smooth. I’ve never had a Cab Franc though – sounds so unique – I suppose I’ll have to!


    21 Stephanie C November 20, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Hey Kath,
    I’ve been reading for about a year and have noticed that you and Matt tend to mostly eat local/organic/humanely raised meat. I was wondering what you do if you are served meat, like at an event like this, where you have no idea what kind if meat you’re getting. Do you ask, or do you just eat it?
    I became vegetarian because I felt like it was too hard to be sure where all the meat I ate came from, though one day I hope there are more options so I can start eating meat again!


    22 Kath November 20, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Good question.

    If I’m served a well-prepared meat at a dinner party or at a really fancy restaurant, I will eat it with no questions.

    If I’m served meat that was very marginally prepared at a mass-produced event, I will often skip it or choose fish or even ask for the vegetarian option.

    Sometimes I just try to assume that the meat is high quality. In Charlottesville, that assumption is correct most of the time. But I also try to gauge the source based on the atmosphere and setting. This might seem hypocritical to some, but it’s how I call the shots.


    23 Serena November 22, 2010 at 12:09 am

    I love this answer. It’s exactly what I do. I wish I could know where all of my food came from all of the time, but since I can’t, I choose to do my best and not drive myself insane. :)


    24 Food & Other Things November 20, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Sounds like a fun event…it looks so beautiful there!


    25 Anne November 20, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    What fun!!! And perrrrfect weather too :)

    PS – is Matt wearing a Boden shirt? My hubby has the same one


    26 Matt November 20, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    It’s Ber-nana Republic… and probably 6 years old. One of my favorite shirts.


    27 [email protected] November 20, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Cherry in an antique wardrobe?! Very interesting!


    28 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin November 20, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    That’s a lot of wine! I feel like things could have gotten pretty ridiculous if you hadn’t all been spitting. 😉


    29 Shannon (A Better Me) November 20, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    What an awesome wine tasting! Looks like a ton of fun! I agree with Chelsea (above) it could have gotten pretty crazy in there 😀


    30 Megan November 20, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    For your car…try unhooking the battery to reset the system. That’s what the mechanic told me when my alarm kept going off! Hope it works for you, mine kept going off out in public


    31 JenATX November 20, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    WOW, what a cool way to spend the day! I am very jealous of your ability to taste wine. Of course I can taste wine, but I have a very bad sense of smell & I have a hard time distinguishing between different bottles. Very sad indeed :( But, I’ve never met a bottle of wine I didn’t like (haha which is probably not a good thing)


    32 Emily November 20, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    The tasting looked amazing! You are so lucky with all of these wineries/vineyards/tastings…you’re a serious pro! I hope to visit more, I love going in California this summer, want to try out more some day. Gorgeous photos, too!


    33 Dynamics November 20, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Your alarm, probably a low battery or loose connection.


    34 Hannah November 20, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Oh wow, check out all those wine glasses! Fantastic!


    35 Kath November 20, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    RE. Car Alarm: We took the remote apart and found moisture. Think that’s what was shorting. Hasn’t gone off since…


    36 Alaina November 20, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Ooh, I love wine tasting! And I love Meritage wines. I’m more of a cabernet sauvignon girl myself. Some of my favorites are BR Cohn, Bogle and Ravenswood.

    Glad you got the car alarm to start (or stop?) working! :-)


    37 [email protected] November 21, 2010 at 12:28 am

    I still need to go wine tasting!!! looks so fun!!


    38 Kiran November 21, 2010 at 6:59 am

    I want to go for wine tasting. On my wish list :)


    39 Amy at TheSceneFromMe November 21, 2010 at 7:57 am

    You make me really wish I liked wine! But I haven’t acquired that taste yet!


    40 Kaley November 21, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Ohhhh how fun! I really enjoy wine. I love how cheap good wine is here!


    41 kathleen November 22, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Ooh! for the car thing – check your fuse boxes! I had the same problem and it turned out that I had a leak in my car that led RIGHT to the fuse box… NOT GOOD!! :-)


    42 Thealogian November 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    What a beautiful (& educational) post! Thanks!

    Just the other day I was at a Wine Bar for dinner with friends and everyone was talking smack about East Coast wines…I piped up, “I think there are some pretty good wines coming out of Virginia these days” to be shut down by the knowledgeable sorts at my table. Oh, if I only had this post to refer to then! I’m definitely picking up one or two of your recommendations!


    43 Kath November 22, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Yay Virginia!! It’s a bit hit or miss, but when you hit, they’re really good!


    44 Heidi - apples under my bed November 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I love wine tasting! I’m lucky to live in a wine region too. Beautiful! I need to work on my skills though, my nose is not as strong as yours!
    Heidi xo


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