Last weekend, Brianza welcomed visitors to an event that had it all — great wine, delicious food, good music, gracious hosts, and a great atmosphere. Local food vendors shared cheese and beer cheese during the day. During the early evening, we were treated to a sausage on a baguette, with a wonderful Marinara sauce. Both the sausage and the Marinara are made for the winery locally, using Tony’s special recipes. Of course, there was wine. Brianza features both white and red wines, offering dry and sweeter tastes. Rucca, a local duo, performed a wide variety of songs, from Johnny Cash and June Carter to the Indigo Girls.
A lot of wine lovers are finding their way to Brianza. Though only open for a few months, the winery has created a well-deserved reputation for themselves. This is definitely a place to visit over and over.
by admin with No Comments
Visitors to the KentuckyWineLover know about the new book I’ve been working on for the last few months. The last couple of months have been hectic with lots of experimentation and cooking with wine. Denise Nelson and I have been working on the book and trying out recipes and making decisions about what we want to include. Hopefully, we’ll have some news soon about what’s included and when you can expect a release.by admin with No Comments
Fall is the time for festivals in Kentucky, celebrating everything from ham to apples. Wine lovers will find celebrations of wine as well.
Bullitt County will once again host a wine festival on September 25 &26, at the Bullitt County fairgrounds. Go to www.bestkywineries.com for details about hours and times.
The Northern Kentucky Wine Festival will be held at MainStrasse in Covington on October 17. Visit http://www.mainstrasse.org/ for information about the upcoming festival.
In Lexington, on October 24, wineries from the state will also pour tastes at the Incredible Food Show held in Lexington Center next to Rupp Arena.
Many of the wineries host their own events. Check out the website of your favorite winery to look for their event or go to the Kentucky wine page at kentuckywine.com
Festivals are a fun way to try wines from many wineries so you can choose which ones to visit.by admin with No Comments
Central Virginia’s wineries are some of the finest in the state. Keswick Vineyards is one of the best. Located on the historic Edgewood Estate, the vineyard covers 40 acres. The drive to the tasting room winding through the vineyard in lovely and inviting, making visitors enthusiastic to try the wine. We have always found our visit to be enjoyable and the wine to be special.
Our favorite wine this visit is Trevillian Red, a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Petit Verdot. The wine is a superb big red with fruity aromas and flavors of dark fruits and coffee.
You will want to plan a visit if you’re in Virginia. The trip is worth it. The vineyards, the tasting room, and the wine make the visit one to remember.
by admin with No Comments
Our visit to Virginia this summer included a visit to Jefferson Vineyards, located just a couple of miles from the grounds of Monticello. With gorgeous views in every direction the winery and tasting room is open to the public every day of the year except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, and many visitors find their way there every day.
We have visited there many times over the years and always enjoy ourselves. One of their most memorable wines is their blended red, Meritage. The 2012 vintage, is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. The wine has flavors of bright fruits but with an earthy finish. Lovers of big reds will find this wine to be superior.
Last week, we opened a bottle of white we purchased there, a Petit Manseng. The Petit Manseng grape, mostly grown in Southwest France, has found its way to the eastern American vineyards and many wineries are offering this flavorful white wine. Jefferson’s Petit Manseng is one of the best I’ve tried. Aromas of lemon zest, almond, and honeysuckle are followed by flavors of grilled pineapples. The wine is delightful.
If you’re visiting central Virginia, you won’t want to miss a stop at Jefferson Vineyards.
Until this year, wines from Gabriele Rausse Winery have been difficult to find, but definitely worth the search. We first happened upon one of his wines a few years ago and loved it and have continued to buy his wines whenever we found them. Gabriele is one of the founders of the Virginia wine industry, first coming to the United States in the 1970s. His first position at a Virginia winery was at the new Barboursville Vineyards, in 1976. He left there in 1979, and has since helped get many other wineries on their feet, either by working there or just consulting. In 1997, he established his own winery, where he continues to make wine with his two sons Tim and Peter.
Also, he is Director of Gardens and Grounds at Monticello, and cares for the vineyard there. Grapes, like Sangiovese, can be seen on the terraced vineyard below the gardens.
This year, we were pleased to discover that Gabriele Rausse Winery had opened a tasting room. While the hours are limited (only open Thursday, Friday, and Sunday), it is well worth the planning to fit it in your schedule if you are visiting. When we visited, we discovered a charming facility with a wide variety of wines to try. Tim Rausse served us and shared information about the wines. Our favorite was the Nebbiolo, an Italian grape, that produces a full-bodied, elegant red wine.
Our tasting experience was great and we will be sure to plan more visits there in the future. I recommend it.
Last year, while visiting southern Virginia, we discovered a wonderful winery in North Carolina. The grounds are amazingly beautiful, the Tuscan style tasting room is impressive, and the wine is amazing. The winery was established by members of the Raffaldini family which dates back to 1348, in the town of Mantua, Italy. They visited many sites before choosing the Yadkin Valley, between the Brushy Mountains and the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains as a locations for a vineyard and winery in the United States. The Ronda, North Carolina, winery is surrounded by gorgeous views in all directions. After buying the land in 1999, the vineyard was planted in 2000, and the tasting room opened in 2004.
Raffaldini’s wines are all Italian varieties. Montepulciano, the grapes in the photo, creates a wine that is full-bodied with a distinct fruity flavor. The winery also produces a Montepulciano Riserva. Vermentino Riserva, a white varietal, is one of their most popular and comes from the oldest Vermentino vines on the East Coast. Both Riservas are developed using the Appassimento drying process to give them a richer character. Appassimento is an ancient Italian method of using a portion of dehydrated grapes in the making of the wine, to create a wine with different structures in the flavors. A Girasole, sunflower in Italian, is created with free run juice from Sangiovese and Montepulciano. The wine is a dry, medium-bodied rosé, which is very popular especially in the summer months. Other wines include a Pinot Grigio, a Sangiovese, Rossi (a red blend), and La Dolce Vita (a Moscato, Asti style). For more information go to my link page.
Jay Raffaldini has created a bit of Tuscany in the mountains of North Carolina and is making some of the best wines I’ve had the pleasure of tasting. It’s about an hours drive from southern Virginia and a two hour drive from Asheville, North Carolina. If you are in the region, be sure to visit. Wine lovers will feel right at home and return again and again.
by admin with No Comments
We visited Barboursville Vineyards during our annual trip to Virginia last week. As always, we had a wonderful time and enjoyed all of the wines we tasted. Barboursville Vineyards got its beginnings with the planting of a vineyard in 1976, opening the winery soon after. The vineyards and winery have grown over the years, as has the number of wineries in the state of Virginia. Today, there are nearly 200 wineries, making Virginia the fifth largest wine producer in the United States. Only California, New York, Oregon, and Washington have more. Barboursville Vineyards remains one of Virginia’s premier wineries with a multitude of awards from national and international competitions and recognition by wine experts around the world. Check out my link page to visit their website.
It seems like Barboursville gets lovelier with each visit; there’s always new grape vines and additions to the tasting room or the other buildings. Walking around the grounds, exploring the ruins that are featured on the labels of the wine, dining at the Palladio Restaurant, or just stopping by the tasting room for a chance to try the new vintages or enjoy a glass of wine, your visit will be memorable. This visit we tried many wines and found many we enjoyed. I would have to recommend the Vermentino Reserve, which won a Double Gold at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition. It is a relatively new varietal for the winery and is an excellent medium bodied, dry white wine, with aromas of pears and flowers. We also enjoyed our old favorites: such as Barbera Reserve, Sangiovese Reserve, and Nebbiolo Reserve. While the new vintage of Octagon was not available for tasting, we enjoyed a couple of glasses while relaxing at the winery.
As we were getting ready to leave, we ran into Luca Paschina, the winemaker, and were treated to a visit to the library tasting room and a special tasting of a 2008 Octagon. This wine is one that ages well and the 2008 was very smooth.
If you are ever visiting in Central Virginia, Barboursville Vineyards is a must for any wine lover.by admin with No Comments
Northern Kentucky’s newest winery has become a popular destination on Saturdays for local wine lovers. The setting is beautiful, the wine is great, and the people there are friendly and helpful. Tony, the owner, and Crystal, the event planner, welcome guests, pour tastes and answer questions. What more could you ask for?
This past Saturday, there was a special event to celebrate the release of a Noiret. This new wine is from a French hybrid grape produced by Cornell University. Noiret produces a smooth, jammy, red wine with a big finish. Brianza has 362 vines of this limited grape. The wine is very drinkable right now and will benefit from some age.
The event featured music from a local duo named Rucca. With music ranging from self-composed songs to recent recordings such as Hell on Heels by the Pistol Annies, Lauren and Ashley entertained the crowd for a couple of hours. If you get a chance to see Rucca somewhere, I recommend them. With guitars and an occasional tambourine, their vocals are impressive.
Relaxing in a gorgeous surrounding, with good wine, and good music was a great way to spend a Saturday evening. Check my Links for Brianza’s website. You’ll enjoy your visit.
by admin with No Comments
Once again, the wine festival at Jane’s Saddlebag was a huge success. Many visitors enjoyed the wine, the music, the vendors, and the food. From 11 AM to 8 PM, there was a stream of wine lovers strolling their way around the booths. Wineries were pouring tastes of some of their most popular varietals.
Even the rain showers that fell on the crowd didn’t stop the fun. People just found shelter until it was over and then walked on to enjoy another wine.
I enjoyed meeting many wine lovers and talking about wine. If you missed it, just wait for next year. Watch for news about the 2016 festival.