With Valentine’s Day almost here, many of us are thinking about how we want to celebrate. Scroll on for five romantic ideas to share with your special someone. Be sure to also check the Charlottesville Welcome Book for local Valentine’s Day-inspired events taking place throughout the next week.
3. Set up your own wine and chocolate pairing. Check out our Wine & Chocolate story in Book Three, and learn which wines pair well with the different Gearharts Fine Chocolates. Then, set up your own delectable tasting session for you and your significant other. This is a great post-meal way to enjoy hand-crafted chocolates on Valentine’s Day. (Photo below by Jen Fariello)
4. Plan a cozy stay-cation. Valentine’s Day is the perfect night to book an evening in one of our area inns or bed & breakfasts like the Inn at Willow Grove (pictured below). Enjoy local sparkling wine while you escape the rush of everyday life together.
5. Enjoy an evening on the town. Booking a limousine service, such as A & A Limousine or Top Shelf Transportation, gives you the freedom to spend and enjoy time together as a couple while visiting vineyards or just exploring the town, even if you do not have your plans solidified.
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Tis’ the season for entertaining and hosting. It is well known that a cheese board is the perfect bite to serve prior to a meal or during event activities, like tree decorating. However, knowing the proper wine to pair with your artisanal cheese spread is sure to take your hosting to the next level. We hope you enjoy these four cheese and wine pairings from Award-Winning Cheesemonger Nadjeeb Chouaf:
Challerhocker (swiss cheese): with Viognier
Tulip Tree Trillium (triple cream, mold-ripened cheese): with Extra-Dry Sparkling
Stickelton (English blue cheese): with Port Style
Caromont Farm’s Ashed Blue: with Gewurztraminer
If you are looking for local cheese to serve at your next event, consider visiting Our Lady of the Angels in nearby Crozet or Caromont Farm in Esmont. Caromont Farm also sells at the Charlottesville City Market (Open April–November 17, 2018).
Want to learn more about these wine and cheese pairings? Click here to see them featured in Charlottesville Wine & Country Living.
***THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST! THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO THE SPRING. PLEASE CHECK BACK AGAIN!***
Join Charlottesville Wine & Country for an elegant farm-to-table dinner celebrating the bountiful 2017 harvest in Jefferson’s Virginia. The dinner will be held at the beautiful Veritas Vineyard & Winery on Thursday, November 16. The cocktail hour begins at 6pm in the Tasting Room with hors d’oevres, live music and the exclusive Wine & Country Taste of Gold Competition whereby guests are invited to taste and vote for their favorite Petit Verdot amongst the 2017 Governor’s Cup Gold Medal winners within the Monticello AVA. The Gold Medal wines featured are from Jefferson Vineyards, King Family Vineyards, Valley Road Vineyards and Veritas Vineyard & Winery.
Following the tasting competition, guests will be treated to a spectacular autumnal feast at candlelit farm tables, with an introduction of each amazing course and wine pairing by Award-winning Winemaker Emily Pelton. Pelton will be sharing her knowledge and insights with us throughout this special evening, giving guests a truly memorable experience. Pelton will pair the Petit Verdot, Viognier, Harlequin Chardonnay and Kenmar with the feast.
Veritas’ specialty white wine, Viognier, is a pale gold color with aromas of ripe peach, apricots and orange zest for a mouthfeel with a long finish. This Virginia favorite emphasizes the “unique aromatic complexity of the grape.” The Harlequin Chardonnay, which is aged for six months in new French and American oak, is a soft, yellow-gold varietal that exudes notes of lemon curd, ripe honeydew melon and golden delicious apples for a long finish. Deep purple in color, the Petit Verdot is a deliciously aromatic wine with notes of violets and dark fruit. Flavors of blackberry, plum, mulberry and molasses complement a mouthfeel luxurious in tannic structure. The Kenmar, a wine of aromatic intensity, exudes flavors of exotic fruit, mango, honey and pineapple, countering the sweetness of a traditional dessert wine. The scents of fragrant roses and floral spice complete this wine.
The delectable four-course meal of finely prepared foods by the talented Executive Chef Joel Walding will showcase our region’s diverse abundance of produce inspired by the seasonal harvest (menu below). Thoughtfully paired, each dish will be brought to its most flavorful taste by its delicious Veritas Vineyard & Winery companion.
We hope you will join us for this celebration of the harvest and we invite you to experience Wine & Country Living.
*You must be 21 or older to attend. Event will proceed rain or shine. Tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable. Refunds will be issued only if the event is canceled.
Use the discount code “wineandcountry” for $25 off when you purchase two or more tickets! This offer expires at noon on Monday, November 13, 2017.
The 2017 Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival kicked off with the Monticello Cup Awards at The Jefferson Theater on April 13. Prior to the evening, 10 wine industry professionals judged wines from over 30 wineries at the Capital Wine School in Washington, DC. Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery won this year’s Monticello Cup for its 2014 Union. Below (bottom, right), Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery’s Winemaker, Tim Gorman, accepted the Monticello Cup.
Following a day of pairing events, the festival concluded with a tasting event at the Sprint Pavilion on the Historic Downtown Mall. Beautiful weather and the showcasing of over 25 local wineries made this a popular event! The day started with a VIP catered tasting at 12:30 p.m. with the general event starting at 1:30 p.m.
During the tasting event, attendees were able to choose from one of two wines from each winery while learning about the different vineyards and their practices.
The Taste of White Hall dinner prepared by Kitchen Catering and Events started with seated appetizers. The White Hall Vineyards 2014 Gewurztraminer, made in an Alsatian style, was paired with a beggar’s purse of double cream cheese with rosehip jam. Then, a delicious lemon and garlic seared scallop over shaved carrot salad with parsley was served with crisp 2016 Rose from both Stinson Vineyards and Grace Estate Winery.
The talented winemakers helped carefully plan the menu and delighted guests throughout the beautiful evening with details about the wines and interesting anecdotes as they served wines table-side. Pictured below (from left to right) are Winemaker Megan McGuire of White Hall Vineyards, General Manager Lisa Champ of White Hall Vineyards, Winemaker Brad McCarthy of White Hall Vineyards, Winemaker Frantz Ventre of Grace Estate Winery and Winemaker Rachel Stinson Vrooman of Stinson Vineyards.
In western Albemarle County, the village of White Hall rests just at the edge of Sugar Hollow and the George Washington National Forest that lead up into the mountains. The charming century-old White Hall Community Building is the site for regular Ruritan meetings, country dances, the fall Apple Butter Festival and generally serves as a gathering spot for the little community. It was the perfect place for this group of gifted winemakers to celebrate their wines together.
The main courses tipped off with a delicate braised rabbit with Mediterranean white beans, herbs, red onions and arugula. The rabbit was well suited to White Hall Vineyards 2015 Chardonnay. The Chardonnay has subtle well-integrated oak flavors and a beautiful extraction of fruits and a lively acidity.
Paired well with richer dishes, the Grace Estate Winery Petite Manseng, and White Hall Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon were served with Mojo ropa vieja with mufungo (beef braised in a garlic citrus sauce), fried plantain and pork cracklings. Cognac barrel aging is used for the Petite Manseng to form a truly unique white wine that can appeal to red wine drinkers. The Cabernet Sauvignon underwent extended maceration giving it a dark cherry color, flavors of plum and fig, and a lengthy blackberry finish with wisps of smoke.
Lamb kabobs on rosemary skewers with saffron, apricot and currant couscous with charred scallion and cucumber cream were then paired with Stinson Vineyards 2014 Meritage, a velvety complex blend of their finest grapes. The Grace Estate Winery 2014 Tannat offered a sultry array of red fruits with early tones of coffee and a significant lingering finish of tannin.
As the meal progressed and the delicious food and wine flowed, new friends were made and each table was chatting and enjoying themselves immensely as is the tradition on our wonderful Monticello Wine Trail. The evening concluded with a sweet treat—pineapple layer cake with mango cream frosting paired with Stinson Vineyards 2014 Petit Manseng, a smooth late harvest wine with an intriguing natural sweetness.
The Taste of White Hall Dinner was truly a delightful community endeavor and a wonderful showcase of the talented winemakers’ work.
On April 13, the Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival, a highly-anticipated spring tradition in Charlottesville, will begin. The Festival involves three days of celebrating the Monticello American Viticultural Area’s best wines. (Photo below by Jack Looney)
Along with featuring the coveted Monticello Cup Awards at the Jefferson Theater on Thursday, April 13, the Festival will host delicious food and wine pairing events on Friday, April 14. Friday’s pairing events will showcase the phenomenal food and wine culture in the area with a Sparkling Brunch, Rosé Lunch, barrel tasting, winemaker dinner, and an evening of chocolate, music and wine.
On the final day of the festival, Saturday, April 15, more than 25 regional wineries and vineyards will be featured for the tasting event at the Sprint Pavilion on the Historic Downtown Mall, and there will be plenty of catered food and live entertainment.
Wine-lovers and foodies alike will love this opportunity to experience Charlottesville’s incredibly rich food and wine culture. You can visit monticellowinetrailfestival.com for more information and tickets.
Tuesday night, the Governor’s Cup Gala was held at the Hotel John Marshall in Richmond to celebrate the best of Virginia’s wines. The competition is now in its 35th year, and after being revamped in 2012, it continues to grow as one of the most stringent competitions in the country.
Honored for her work with the Winemakers Research Exchange (WRE) was Winemaker Emily Pelton of Veritas Vineyard & Winery. She received the Wine Person of the Year award. Emily (seen above at left with David King) has lead the effort to promote research and experimentation in the wine industry as a founder of the WRE. Also honored with the Gordon Murchie Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless legislative work on behalf of the vineyard industry was David King, winery and vineyard owner of King Family Vineyards and Virginia Wine Board Chairman.
Governor Terry McAuliffe spoke to the great accomplishments of Virginia’s ever-growing vineyard industry and it’s impact on the state’s robust economy, job growth and tourism. He then awarded the state’s highest wine award to The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards, located in Hamilton, Virginia, for their 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon produced by winemaker Michael Shaps of Michael Shaps Wineworks in Charlottesville. The winning Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied wine with well-balanced acidity, aged in French and American oak and expresses notes of dark cherry and coffee. It is 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and is complemented by a soft tannic structure integrated with the fruit along with notes of clove and tobacco for a complexity and extended finish.
Shaps (seen above at the podium) creates wines for many vineyards throughout Virginia. “Our team is especially proud of this wine. It is a classic Virginia Cabernet Sauvignon. It is perfectly balanced and has mature tannins that are ripe but not overly extracted; and it has nice acidity,” says Shaps. “The fruit comes from mostly Carter’s Mountain [Orchard] with some additional fruit from Mount Juliet Vineyards. Carter’s Mountain has southwest exposure, constant breezes, great drainage and a slightly cooler climate to retain nature acidity.”
The evening’s celebration was a true testament to Virginia’s wine industry and it’s extraordinary talent and accomplishments. A big Charlottesville Wine & Country congrats to all!
The 10th Anniversary Virginia Wine Expo is scheduled for March 8-12 in Richmond, Virginia. This four-day event will showcase wines from Virginia and California to Portugal and Spain, and will include delicious artisanal foods as well as other craft beverages, including whiskey and beer.
Leading up to Saturday, attendees can enjoy local and international artisan food, including a six-course wine-paired dinner at Richmond’s new restaurant Shagbark, noodle and dumplings, California tapas, and the Burger Blast™, a presentation of some of Richmond’s best craft burgers.
Saturday, March 11, after a four-course brunch at Belle & James, the much-anticipated Walk-Around Grand Tasting, presented by Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig, will begin. Guests will be able to sample and buy cheese, chocolates, nuts, smoked meats and more while they taste some of the over 250 wines available.
Sunday, attendees can attend the second day of the Walk-Around Grand Tasting, an opportunity to experience vendors missed the first day. Throughout the weekend, guests can also choose to attend the various seminars offered about the expo’s wines and the wine industry.
The 10th Anniversary Virginia Wine Expo is sure to be a fabulous time for all wine-enthusiasts and a superb showcasing of regional, national and international wines. It is advised to book your tickets or ticket packages now, as events tend to sell out.
Saturday, CrossKeys Vineyards hosted a Vertical Wine Dinner to showcase the vineyards’ estate grown Merlot. Event and Catering Manager Hannah Cooper designed the affair, preparing the long romantic banquet table and setting each place for the many courses and parings to come. Executive Chef Dexter Burgess and Assistant Winemaker Steve Monson created a five-course plated dinner perfectly paired with Merlots from 2010-2015. The result was an exquisite winter CrossKeys Vineyards dinner.
For the first course, guests enjoyed smoked duck breast with Chinese pancakes and hoisin jicama slaw while savoring the 2010 Merlot.
The second course, paired with 2011 Merlot, incorporated another red meat—flank steak roulade. This delicious steak was served with oven roasted tomatoes and spinach with a mustard chipotle vinaigrette.
Guests were treated to a sweeter third course as blue cheese cheesecake was served with rosemary scented demi. This delicious treat was paired with the 2013 Merlot.
Following an intermezzo of sorbet, with which guests were able to cleanse their palates, beef short rib, roasted root vegetables and pickled asparagus was paired with the 2012 Merlot for the fourth course.
The five-course dinner concluded with a Merlot-poached pear scented with vanilla and cardamon. Served with vanilla bean ice cream and paired with the 2015 Merlot, this final course was the perfect ending to a lovely showcase of CrossKeys Vineyards’ wines.
If you would like to experience CrossKeys Vineyards’ wine pairings yourself, they are hosting a five-course Valentine’s Day Dinner on Saturday, February 11.
As a new year begins, there are countless ways to take advantage of all the Charlottesville area has to offer. We have 17 Must-Dos that are sure to make the new year an unforgettable one.
1. Attend a Winemaker’s Dinner. This year, treat you and your partner to a winemaker’s dinner, where you will enjoy the best of local cuisine paired with the area’s wines. Consider a dinner at Early Mountain Vineyards, like the Winemaker’s Field Supper featured in the most recent book of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living. Or perhaps an upcoming event like the Valentine’s Day Winemaker Dinner at Veritas Vineyard & Winery. (Left photo by Paula Bartosiewicz)
2. Experience Barboursville Vineyards’ Octagon Wine. This age-worthy, award-winning wine, highly distinct in character, is a can’t miss for wine lovers. Join the list of those who have been served Octagon, including Queen Elizabeth II and President Obama.
5. Throw an Outdoor Party. Take advantage of the beautiful mountain views Charlottesville has to offer and throw an outdoor party fitting to the season. Match your décor, refreshments and activities to a theme just as this hostess did with her hunting party in the latest book of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living. (Photos by Rachel May Photography)
6. Indulge in Executive Chef Gary Glaser’s Crab Cakes. You’ll leave raving about these scrumptious crab cakes at The Downtown Grille. Try them at the restaurant or make them yourself! Customers who dine at The Downtown Grille will receive a complementary copy of the latest Charlottesville Wine & Country Living featuring Chef Glaser’s crab cake recipe.
7. Try Gearhart’s Beer or Wine Infused Chocolates. Try a unique delicious twist on your palate with some of Gearhart’s infused chocolates. (Photos on the right by Jen Fariello Photography)
8. Travel Locally with the Inn at Willow Grove. This boutique hotel combines history, charm and luxury for the perfect intimate getaway.
9. Attend the Virginia Wine Expo. This March event is perfect for the wine lover. You’ll spend a weekend exploring an event filled with food, wine and great company. (Photos courtesy of the Virginia Wine Expo)
12. Attend the Montpelier Hunt Races. Gather a group of great friends for a beautiful fall day of tailgating and horse races. Dress in style and participate in the hat contest, or put your focus on your tablescape for the tailgate competition. (Photos by Susan M. Carter Photography)
14. Visit the Blue Ridge Trails. Complete with 500 miles of hiking trails, 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail and 80,000 acres of designated, back-country wilderness, the Shenandoah National Park is a natural treasure. (Photo by Kelly J. Mihalcoe, LLC, courtesy of the Virginia Tourism Corporation)
15. Visit the Design House. This spring, see the amazing work of the area’s top interior designers and professionals while experiencing the year’s décor trends in the Design House 2017. You’ll also be supporting a great cause—the Shelter for Help in Emergency. Below is the 2016 Design House‘s stunning library designed by Foxchase Design. (Photos by Robert Radifera Photography)
16. Travel Abroad. Take your adventures to France this year and explore Burgundy’s wine region. Indulge in the rich history of the area and learn about the connections that Jefferson had in the town of Beaune, France, also featured in the latest issue of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living.