Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
This is the first installment of the vinogals road tripping to visit NC wineries. First stop…Zimmerman Vineyards. We were headed to the Lexington area to check out Childress Vineyards (post to come later) and saw that Zimmerman was close by and we were game. We drove up to their charming tasting room which took me back to the cabins from my summer camp growing up.
Norman greeted us immediately, knew we were there to get down to business and started our tasting. The $5 tasting fee got us 6 tastes and a souvenir glass. It was interesting to contrast their 2006 steel barrel Chardonnay with their 2005 oak barrel Chardonnay. You can really taste the crisp fruity acid in the steel barrel and experience the darker lower acid butter flavor of the oak aged wine. We moved onto the Viognier which I remember being common in the Virginia vineyards I visited near Charlottesville. Norman described the Viognier as a "goofy grape" he has been working on for 7 years. Apparently this varietal requires more work and patience to control the many grape buds shooting off these vines. The first red wine was titled "Sisyphus" after a figure in Greek mythology who angered Zeus and was sentenced to eternal punishment of rolling a stone uphill. This image is also the branding logo for the vineyard's label. Sisyphus is a Bordeaux type blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc and was the choice for me to take home. Our last red was the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon which we expected to have a bit more tannin but was well balanced. We finished off with a sip of their sweet white wine consisting of a Chardonnay and Viognier blend having 12% residual sugar.
Check out CJ's serious swirl action as we were in the midst of tasting!
Zimmerman seems like a small vineyard compared to the Charlottesville area vineyards I visited earlier this year. I'm interested to continue learning about NC vineyards to see how Zimmerman stacks up. Norman was very friendly and willing to answer questions and share his enthusiasm for wine making. They have a nice picnic area overlooking some of the vineyards. They don't sell food at Zimmerman but you are welcome to bring your own picnic and perhaps purchase a bottle (or 2) of their wine to sit, sip and enjoy the views.
Interested in planning a NC wine tasting day trip? Discover NC wines at www.visitncwine.com.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Check out Pie Town's nightly drink specials. What can be better than half off bottles of vino on a Saturday night? The gals love that!!
Mondays - $5 House Margaritas!
Tuesfays - $3.5 Fosters 16oz. Can!
Wednesdays - $5 House Mojitos!
Thursdays - $2 Domestic Bottles!
Fridays - $5 Firefly John Daly's!
Saturdays - Half Off Bottles of Wine!
Monday, June 14, 2010
- Sunday: wine and cheese reception
- Monday: winemaker lecture on viniculture (growing the grapes), field trip in the vineyard with the viniculturist, barrel tastings in the production area, make your own wine, proper wine tasting techniques
- Tuesday: 10 hours of tasting and learning about French wine
- Wednesday: same but with Italy, Chile/Argentina, United States
- Thursday: same but with Germany, Austria, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand...followed by learning to "saber" a bottle of sparkling wine (that's chopping the top off with a sword, people!)
- Friday: big test for level 2 Sommelier Certification (I actually passed!)
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Some little girls dream of every single detail of their wedding. Dreams of princess dresses and first dances with prince charming then being whisked off into the sunset. Dreams of Barbie marrying Ken and living happily ever after.
Not me. Not at all me.
I was never one to like getting dressed up as a little girl. I'd like to think I grew out of Barbies before most girls. I don't even remember "princesses" being a big deal when I was little like they seem to be nowadays. Maybe it was growing up with an older brother. I'm thankful to have an older brother to keep me a little rough around the edges.
But, the one memory that shaped my lifetime wedding dreams was the champagne fountain at my aunt Stephanie's wedding when I was 9 years old. I was mesmerized. I clearly remember staring up at the fountain and watching bubbly flow down cascading silver chains and adults filling up delicate stemmed glasses.
A champagne fountain was the only detail that I knew I wanted at my wedding. My dream came true in November 2008. If my rest of life's details follow in my aunt Stephanie's footsteps, I'll be one lucky gal!!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Well, the only dream I had of my wedding day was a champagne fountain. But, that is another post entirely.
After a beautiful ceremony, guests enjoyed beer and wine on a picturesque outdoor balcony overlooking a golf course and awaited the guests of honor. The sunshine was such a welcome reminder that spring is here that the vinogals had to opt for a summery white wine. I'm not sure the label on this wine but us gals don't worry about labels when there is an open bar!
At the end of the night, our feet were worn out from mingling with friends old and new, dancing, and a few trips to refill the vino. This couple had the perfect answer to an energy draining reception…a candy bar!! Ok; so I was pretty busy tearing into the candy bar but still couldn't miss the wooden wine glasses on the table. The bride's father dabbles in woodworking and even made a candy dish as a gift for me for my wedding. He definitely went all out for his own daughter's wedding with these hand carved wine glasses with wooden rings around the stems. I have no idea how he was able to pull off this carving masterpiece but it sure is cool.
I'd be proud to raise a toast in these goblets any day. Here is to a long and happy life together. Congrats LT & KT!
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I am inspired by a wedding last weekend in historic Philadelphia and a couple recent wine tasting trips to Charlottesville, VA to learn and blog about Thomas Jefferson: a real vinoguy. He's my kinda guy.
My visit to Monticello revealed that Jefferson was an incredibly multifaceted man (author of the Declaration of Independence, 3rd president of the US, founder of UVA, international statesman, architect, farmer, gardner, science enthusiast, and America's first distinguished viticulturist). Source: www.monticello.org
He believed that with some work, America could produce wines that would represent on the world stage. He was definitely familiar with the world's wines to that point and preferred the light French and Italian style to the heavier styles of Spain and Portugal. It seems he also appreciated sweet wines as he placed orders of port and praised North Carolina's scuppernong wine as the "first specimen of an exquisite wine". His philosophy was that wine is a "necessity of life" and America as a society should embrace wine as a moderate beverage much preferable to harder liquors.
Unfortunately, despite his experimenting in many varieties of grapes, the lack of pesticides available in the US is thought to have prevented him from successfully producing wine at Monticello. However, wine was served! When I visited Monticello, the wine cellar was undergoing some work so was closed to the tour. But, the photo below of the beer cellar shows that beer and cider were served with dinner and wine was served following dinner.
Hopefully, TJ would be pleased to know that some of his original vineyard sites began cultivation in 1981 and now operate as Jefferson Vineyards. I've done the wine tasting here ($5 tasting fee includes the glass) twice and would recommend any visitors to Monticello make a small detour to indulge in the tasting! I picked up a couple mementos from the tasting and especially enjoyed the steel barrel Chardonnay. The tasting room is small but there is a nice outdoor area for guests to sit, sip some good wine and check out TJ's view.
Cheers to my guy, TJ!