Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Taste of TasteCamp - Loudoun, VA

I survived TasteCamp!  Or I should say the 6 hour drive by myself.    I am going to give you a brief re-cap of the weekend and go into detail in a few posts later on.

It seems the only time I can spring out of bed early in the AM and be wide awake is to travel.  So at 4:15AM the buzzer sounded and I began my trek south. I would have arrived 20 minutes early to Boxwood Winery but I doubted my GPS and took a wrong turn or should I say the "scenic route."

Boxwood really knows how to entertain.  Walking through the doors I was greeted by Rachael Martin and a glass of their Rose. Rachael was a wonderful host and the Rose was fantastic, yes I got the WOW factor from it.

Rachael shared with us their big news.  They were closing their tasting room in the town of Middleburg and opening up the winery for tasting and tours.  I had a wonderful lunch with Rachael, as she sat at my table.  I want to thank her for opening up the winery and sharing her love of wine, winemaking and family history with us. We had quite a few things in common, both our families owned a form of media outlets (hers, many more than mine) and we both work/ed for our fathers.

A Grand Tasting followed with 11 Virginia wineries out on the crush pad.

A quick trip to the hotel - The National Conference Center, found us in a college dorm setting, complete with the furniture to match.  Who cares, we are only there to sleep and it was clean. I never did find the Starbucks.

Off to the "Last Supper" at Breaux Vineyards  A table for 40.  They shared their 2002 Virginia Merlot with us.  What a treat!  Silky and sexy is how I describe that.

Dinner was wonderful, although I would have liked my steak cooked a tad more.  We had a vertical tasting of their Nebbiolo with dessert.  The hospitality couldn't have been better.  They really opened their arms to us.

Half way back to the hotel which was about 45 minutes away Frank got the dreaded tweet from Breaux "You left two campers behind." Diane who was following the bus was kind enough to drive back to the winery to pick up the stragglers.

Day two had us up at the crack of dawn for an extremely educational vineyard walk at Fabbiolo Vineyards where they have a very unique frost protection operation.

Then it was onto Tarara Vineyards for a vineyard tour or I should say a tractor ride, another Grand Tasting and lunch. Lunch was fantastic wood fired pizza with various toppings.

Vineyard walk at Tranquility Vineyards which is operated by 8 Chains North, and then headed down the hill to Otium Cellars for a  tasting their wines along with 8 Chains North.

A quick trip back to the dorms to get the BYOB for dinner.  By this time I really wanted a beer to cleanse my palate.  I brought with me Happy Bitch Wines Rose (of course) Oak Summit Charddonay, Benmarl Frontenac, Brotherhood Pinot Noir, Robibero 87 North, Whitecliff Awosting White, & Tousey Cassis.  We headed to North Gate Vineyards for a BBQ by Smokin' Willy.  After a lovely tasting we were all standing around the TV and got to watch the Kentucky Derby and what a race it was.  I'll have another!

Dinner was perfect, not to heavy and actually went with the many of the wines that were brought. But it was a long day.  And for some like Carlo, well the picture speaks for itself.

Sunday a 45 minute drive to Linden Vineyards was the last stop of the weekend.  A beautiful winery and vineyard.  Their Sauvignon Blanc really stood out for me along with their Chardonnays.

Four take-aways from TasteCamp
 - Learned about a new disease - Grapevine Yellow
-  They have similar growing season and issues as does NY with weather (time, rain, frost, disease pressure) although their humidity is worse.
- I think New York overall makes a better Cabernet Franc (according to my taste and palate)
- Price points on wine were $20+

More details about the wineries, viticulture, and tastings to come in the upcoming weeks.




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