White Hall Cabernet Franc 2014

I like a good Cabernet Franc.  So, when I see one on the shelves of my local store, I tend to gravitate toward it like a little rocket ship sucked in by Gorath.  Gorath, for those who haven’t been watching old science fiction movies, is a super dense “wandering” star featured in an eponymous 1960’s Japanese movie.  In addition to this wine being a varietal very frequently used in blending rather than a single star in the bottle, it was made by a vintner in Virginia.  OMG!  The gravitational pull just doubled.

Winemaker:  White Hall Vineyards
Varietal: Cabernet Franc
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  Monticello, Virginia
Price:  $14.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  This White Hall offering was a pretty ruby in color with scents of red berries, menthol and turpentine in the bouquet.  The body was light and acidity fairly high while tannins were medium.  Alcohol was at 13%.  I got quite a bit of pepper on the palate along with currant, pomegranate and turpentine.  In a perfect world, I would have enjoyed it all the more with less turpentine and more body.  Even so, it was certainly no plonk, especially if you like a racier style of red.

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Happy New Year! 2016

Here we are at the beginning of yet another year.  I’m elated to have made it through, and I’m excited about opportunities that may lie just around the corner.

Here’s wishing everyone a fabulous 2016 with much success, happiness and wonderful wine enjoyment.

Oenophilogical_HappyNewYear_2016

Tasting at James River Cellars

Virginia is for Wine Lovers!  I’m not joking.  According to the Virginia Wine Board’s website there are 251 wineries in the State.

Recently, I trekked to the Richmond area where I managed to have a Virginia wine experience.  While there are a number of wineries within a reasonable driving distance from Richmond proper, the closest is probably James River Cellars just north of Richmond in Glen Allen.

The winery is easy to get to – a short way off I-95 on US Route 1.  The winery is set back from the road, and the drive up to the tasting room takes you past a driving range.  When I stepped in the front door, I was immediately greeted by the winery staff.  Friendly and knowledgeable, the staff took me through a full range of wine options for the very modest fee of $5.  Normally, the fiver gets you samples of 13 different selections.  If you’re lucky – like I was on my visit – they may have an additional selection or two open which they will share as well.  Below are the wines I got to try.


Regular Tasting:
2013 Reserve Chardonnay
2014 Chardonnay (un-oaked)
2014 Petit Manseng
2013 Vidal Blanc
2013 Rad Red – 43% Cabernet Franc, 30% Petit Verdot, 20% Chancellor, 7% Sangiovese
2012 Cabernet Franc
2012 Monitor vs CSS Virginia – 47% Cabernet Franc, 44% Merlot, 9% Tannat
2012 Meritage – 45% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 11% Peti Verdot
2014 Montpelier – 63% Pinot Gris, 20% Chardonel, 17% Chambourcin
2014 Hanover White – 45% Chardonel, 45% Pinot Gris, 5% Petit Manseng, 5% Muscat
2013 Chambourcin
2013 Real Santa Red – 58% Merlot, 42% Touriga Nacional

Bonus:
2014 Chardonel
2012 Petit Verdot
2012 Hanover Red – Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Touriga Nacional

There was a lot to take in during this tasting.  Even so, I thought they had a number of selections I might like to buy.  The Reserve Chardonnay had bright acidity, a silky mouthfeel and citrus flavors including lemon and grapefruit.; the Petit Manseng had flavors of spiced stone fruits; their Petit Verdot was smoky and earthy; and there are two wines I’d call specialty wines which would make great additions to holiday celebrations.

Those specialty wines are the Chambourcin and Real Santa Red – a blend of Merlot and Touriga Nacional.  The winemaker has added sugar to the Chambourcin which for me makes it a bit like berry (cranberry?) sauce in a bottle.  It is definitely a dessert wine, in my opinion.  Then there is the Real Santa Red to which they have added cinnamon.  Although not dessert-wine sweet like the Chambourcin, I think Real Santa Red would be a nice accompaniment to holiday pies (apple, pumpkin, cherry, etc.) and cakes.

If you find yourself in the area, you should definitely stop by the winery.  If you can’t make it to the folks at James River, their wines can be purchased from the winery and shipped or at a number of retailers in Central Virginia.  See their website at jamesrivercellars.com for details.

 

Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt Glühwein

Right after I graduated from college, I spent two years in Munich (München), Germany.  It was an eventful time in my life.  It was the first time I’d ever lived in a metropolitan area.  Turns out I’m a city dweller at heart.  Also, my first son was born.  Yeah, that was a big one.  It was an amazing time in many ways.  It seemed there was a surprise, a new experience around every corner.  One of the most beautiful was seeing the Kristkindlmarkt on Marienplatz.  There had been snow early and often our first year, so there was a frosting of snow on the buildings and some of the stalls as we wandered the market looking at the handicrafts – we bought crystal tree ornaments.  All the while the pungent aromas of glühwein and roasted chestnuts filled the air.

Despite the fact that it wasn’t Münchener Glühwein, I was excited when I saw this on the shelf of a local supermarket in January.  Even though the holidays had passed, it was still cold enough to warrant a nice warm beverage.

Winemaker:  Gerstacker Weinkellerei
Wine:  Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt Glühwein
Varietal:  Red Spiced Wine
Vintage:  NV
Appellation:  Germany
Price:  $8.99 per Liter

Notes:  The color of this spiced red was a pale garnet.  Not surprisingly, the bouquet held scents of winter spices – esp. clove – and dark fruit.  Directions on the bottle instructed me to heat the wine to 170 degrees Fahrenheit without boiling. Once that was done, we were able to pour it into our holiday mugs.  Yes, we have holiday mugs!  I found this wine light-bodied with good acidity and no noticeable tannins.  Sweet at 10% alcohol, the Gerstacker Glühwein was a mug full of plummy, berry, spicy goodness.  It was simple, pleasant, warming enjoyment on a very cold night.  Temperatures outside were in the teens, but the warmth of this spiced wine and the memories it brought to mind kept us cozy inside.  For an hour or two, it was the holidays all over again.

 

 

 

Meatless Monday: Best of 2013

A recent study quoted by a number of online media sources, including the New York Daily News, shows that a diet high in animal protein helps stave off cognitive decline in elderly individuals. HOWEVER, you have to get there first. And to do that … “The research shows that a low-protein diet in middle age is useful for preventing cancer and overall mortality,” said … Eileen Crimmins, AARP Chair in Gerontology at USC.” I read that and immediately thought of A Crust Eaten’s tasty-looking recipes in the Meatless Monday posts. Which of these will I try first? Don’t know yet, but I am definitely aiming to make it to senior status! lol  I look forward to finding the right wines to pair with these and other veggy dishes.

A Crust Eaten

2013-07-13 10.56.12

Over the past six months or so, I’ve tried to post one vegetarian recipe a week to encourage people to think outside the meat and potatoes box when it comes to dinner. All of the recipes are listed under the Meatless Monday section on the Food page, but below are some of my favorites and ones that we come back to again and again.

I hope that 2014 will bring even more inspiring vegetarian recipes for me to share with you as I try to be even more creative with vegetables. Happy New Year!

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Oenophilogical (the blog) Turns One

Please celebrate with me!

I can hardly believe it, but the stats don’t lie.  It was one year ago exactly when the first post went up on this blog, oenophilogical.  Whether you want to call it a birthday or an anniversary makes no difference to me.  I’m just psyched to have made it here.

I’ve had such a great time sharing my journey through the wines of my life.  As my chosen focus is inexpensive vino, the experiences haven’t always been amazing.  Yet I hope they have at least been interesting on some level – and perhaps entertaining from time to time.

One of the nicest discoveries over the past year has been my introduction to the great community of bloggers.  And not just bloggers: wine bloggers.  I didn’t realize there were so many folks out there who share the same fixation I do.  And they’re E-VE-RY-where!!  Honestly, there have been way more visitors here than I expected, and they have come from all over (97 countries and counting).  How awesome is that?

For this celebratory post, I thought maybe I’d reminisce just a tad over my past year in wine.  Then I thought, “Who has time for that?!”  So I’ll just say a hearty “THANKS” to everyone who has made this such a great year in wine blogging.  Here’s to the next one!

photo by Fir0002

Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #6 (Mystery)–Time to Vote!

Wow! For this, it’s 6th iteration, the drunken cyclist has managed to encourage some 25 folks to write posts for the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge. Fantastic!! If you haven’t yet, use the links provided and read the posts. Then take another minute and choose your top 3 using the poll form. You don’t have to be a wine blogger to vote! Kudos and many thanks to the drunken cyclist for all his hard work.

the drunken cyclist

MysteryWell, the time for submissions is now over, and I have to say I am thrilled with the number and quality of entries this time around! The previous “record” number of entries was 15 and this month we had 25 (a 67% increase). Now comes the hard part–choosing the top post. Here are links to all of the posts submitted (in order of submission), and they also can be found over at the “official” website of the challenge: www.mwwcblog.wordpress.com

Please let me know if your post is not listed–I Googled MWWC6 every night to make sure I was not missing any, so hopefully each post is below!

Wine Ramblings        An Edible Quest          Confessions of a Wine Geek

Michael’s Wine       Oenophilogical        renenutet13       Wayward Wine

foodwineclick        Julia Bailey        sweetempranillo        Duff’s Wine

My Custard…

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