I was cruising Trader Joe’s and ran across this wine. A few years ago another blogger blogged about it and I always remembered it so decided to give it a try. At my local Trader Joe’s, this wine was $11.99. In my book, Reisling can be a hit or a miss because they are either too sweet or or not that sweet. This one was right in the middle. It wasn’t super sweet but it had a little citrus, too. What was amazing is that I thought it tasted better the next day. Usually, wines lose their luster after the first opening but this was better because it was just a little sweeter without being over sweet which is what it needed.
We have heard good things about Breaux Vineyards and decided to check them out. When you arrive, the property is large and there are two buildings–one for tasting and one for events. There is also a greeter when you arrive because, yes, the tasting room is that large.
There is a standard tasting menu and another for wine club members which is a nice perk. The standard menu had 6 wines on it. I thought that was pretty slim considering it was $10 to taste BUT I was surprised that everything was good. You won’t believe it…we both like everything. I know–shock. Kelley liked some more than I did but overall all the wines were really good.
The standouts for both of us were the 2014 Viognier, the 2013 Marquis de Lafayette, 2014 Jennifer’s Jambalaya and the 2010 Cellar Club. Only the Viognier was white and we have never had a Viognier that good. The tasting associate told us that it won an award and its been said that it taste how Viognier is supposed to taste.
The Marquis de Lafayette had that boldness that VA reds are known for and we had it with dinner one night, it was really off the hook. I’m discovering that I really enjoy Cab Franc and this one did not disappoint. Kelley is saving the Cellar Club to open later but that was his absolute favorite. It was bold and complex in flavor. The sweet tobacco and pepper are standouts in the flavor department.
Jennifer’s Jambalaya was a blend and I really feel like that if you are have a diverse and broad palate, you can’t go wrong with a blend.
The one thing we liked about all the wines is that they were sip wines so no worrying about having to pair them. Because sometimes you just want to come home and have a glass of wine while you cool down from the day.
We liked Breaux so much that are considering joining their wine club.
We first went to Saude Creek last summer and this summer came back again. It’s on the way to Hampton Roads, not too far off I-64. We have a list of wines we like and they are on it for sure.
We didn’t do a tasting this time and instead decided to go off our wine list. Since we wanted to keep our spending to $40, we opted for the Squire’s Blend and The Tavern White. Both are semi-sweet wines. The Squire’s Blend is literally a blend. It’s part Chambourcin and part Muscadine so it has a nice blush color. It’s tasted like Chambourcin with a big kick of sweet. To more specific, it has berry flavor and doesnt posess the boldness Chambourcin usually has so it is perfect for summer.
The Tavern White is a summer sip as well. It has the sweetness of summer fruit but a nice mellowness about it. This one is my favorite and the Squire’s Blend is Kelley’s–if you read out blog, this is not surprising.
The porch at Saude Creek is awesome. It’s the perfect spot to sip and snack. If you go, let us know what you think.
Lake Anna Winery was another favorite. Their wines are so good. We actually winded up buying 3 wines from them at the festival. Our favorites are the Lake Side Red, Lake Side Sunset and the Lake Side White. We’ve had these before but being new releases, they are probably new vintages. These are semi-sweet which as you can see we tend to lean towards, sometimes. I say sometimes because not everyone does semi-sweet wines well. They are either too sweet or not sweet enough. Lake Anna gets it right.
These wines are also sip wines. It’s kind of hard to describe them except to say their blends make them stand out. The Sunset isn’t too heavy on the Chardonnay but balanced out so well by the Vidal and Muscat which is where they get their sweetness.
Give them a try!
Our first winery that we visited at the Great Grapes Wine Festival was Willowcroft Vineyards. Now, we really like VA wine and I must say we thought the wines here were just ok. The Chambourcin was a mega disappointment. It was very bitter. Kelley was blown. Chambourcin’s (or rather the ones we like) have a bold flavor and this one missed the mark. I usually like Rieslings and Traminette’s, but these weren’t memorable. The Chardonnay was made in steel tanks and that’s usually up our alley but again, these wines were just ok, not memorable, at least for us.
On a recent trip to Richmond, VA, we couldn’t help but to visit a winery. We chose James River Cellars. They are located close to I-95 so even if you aren’t staying in Richmond, you can make a quick stop en route to your destination.
When we arrived it was pretty empty except for the Vertical Tasting they were holding upstairs. But by the time we left, they were crowded and we know why. Location, prices and quality of the wine.
They have 12 wines on their tasting list and at $5 per tasting you really get a lot for your buck. I’ll highlight a few.
- 2013 Chardonel: It’s a hybrid grape developed by Cornell University with Chardonnay as the base grape, hence the name Chardonel. It was sweeter than Chardonnay with hints of pineapple and pear. Price: $18
- 2012 Hanover Red: It’s a blend of 50% Touriga Nacional (from Portugal, usually a port wine), 25% Cabernet Franc, and 25% Merlot. You could taste the Merlot and having never had the Touriga, we decided we’d like to taste it separately to get an idea of the individual flavor. Overall, we thought this was a good sip wine. Price: $15
Now usually we are not big fans of sweet wines but of the 4 on their list, we liked 3 of them.
- 2013 Montpelier: A blend of 58% Pinot Gris, 32% Chardonel, 10% Chambourcin. Since one half of DUVAI adores Chambourcin, we figured this would be a winner. It was! It was fruity and had hints of apple, peach and a bit of cranberry. Price: $15
- 2013 Hanover White: A blend of 95% Chardonel and 5% Muscat. It reminded me so much of my beloved Cayuga White from Port of Leonardtown that is no longer being produced. Fruity, a great sip wine and just enough sweet. Price: $15
- 2013 Chambourcin: Of course, right? But wait, this wasn’t your typical Chambourcin. This is a dessert Chambourcin. If you recall, we had a dessert Chambourcin at Running Hare Vineyard as well but this wasn’t the high alcohol content dessert wine Running Hare serves. This one was sweet and a bit more mellow than the robust Chambourcin’s we usually like. It would be awesome with chocolate. Definitely had the hints of berry Chambourcin is known for. Price: $16
We decided to stay at the winery and kick back with a bottleof 2013 Montpelier (below). It is a great sip wine. We were so stuffed from lunch that couldn’t even look at food but this wine didn’t need a pairing and it was great for a nice afternoon.
We have been running the Maryland winery circuit lately and visited Running Hare Vineyard locatd in Calvert County. We were told this place looked like Tuscany and Napa. That it did! The road leading to the wine tasting building is surpisingly long but when you get there its very picturesque. In the spring/summer, this place will be gorgeous! They also have a outdoor tasting room that is open during the summer months which we plan to hit up when the weather breaks.
When we go visit wineries we always bring snacks. Hummus and guac tend to be our staples. Imagine our surpise when we walked in and saw everyone sitting at tables had snacks. Some had cheese and fruit, others had dips and one table had a crockpot with soup. What?!?! You best believe we are taking the crockpot, too, next time we visit in the winter season.
We used a Living Social coupon so we were able to get a tasting, souvenir glasses and a bottle of wine to take home for $20. And for this endeavor, the Doc and the Nurse joined us for the day (they were tripping over the crockpot, too).
We tasted 7 wines. We honestly liked almost everything which is always a good thing. The Chardonnay (19.99) was great! Its wasn’t oaky and was more buttery. The Sangiovese ($23.99) was a new one for us. Kelley loved it as its a red wine (of course!) and it was spicy. The tasting associate told us its a base grape for Chianti. If you are like us, you have no clue how to pronounce this wine so here is the phonetic: San-Jo-Vee-Say. But, you have to say it fast and like you’re Italian.
Next up was the Reisling which was crisp and not as sweet as other Reislings we have had. We also liked the Jack Rabbit White ($19.99) which happened to be the Nurse’s favorite. It was described to us as “grape juice with kick,” a very good analogy. It would be great for summer and has 13% alcohol as a side note. Last was the beloved Chambourcin ($25.99) but it was made as a dessert wine. On the nose, the chocolate was immediate. Its oaked for 3 years but wasn’t oaky and it has 17% alcohol. This is one of those dessert wines that you reserve for a special occassion and some chocolate.
Running Hare Vineyard was a great winery to visit. They encourage you to stay for a while, relax and sip. Right up our alley!
Purchases: Chardonnay, Sangiovese, Riesling. At Running Hare we split the Jack Rabbit White and Chardonnay with our Wine Crew.