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Judging the Best of the Monticello Wine Trail


March 13, 2019 | Ivy Publications

Yesterday, over 58 wines within our local Monticello Wine Trail were judged to establish whose wines will take home one of the Top 6 medals and who will win the prestigious Monticello Cup for the 29th Annual Monticello Wine Trail Wine Competition.

Every year, prior to the beginning of the Monticello Wine Trail Festival, the 33 vineyards that make up the Monticello American Viticultural Area (AVA), a subsidiary of the Jeffersonian Wine Grape Growers Society, are asked to submit their top three wines to the competition. This year, 20 of the wineries submitted wines. Under the direction of the Virginia Wine Academy for the second year in a row, 14 judges came together at Veritas Vineyard & Winery for a day of wine tasting and scoring.

Over the course of the day, Chris Parker and Andrew Hodson, the founders of the Virginia Wine Academy, took the two panels of judges (7 on each panel) through the judging process. In flights of five wines, judges sat quietly and analyzed each varietal placed before them in a blind tasting. The judges were given five minutes to taste and “grade” each wine on a tasting rubric, knowing only whether the wine was a Chardonnay, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, etc.

The tasting rubric that these judges use is extensive and takes them through the varying steps of tasting a wine—visual, aromatics, taste and overall conclusion. The visual category is where they identify the clarity, intensity and color of each wine. From there, the judges move on to looking at the aromatics, from the condition and level to the aroma (fruit, floral, spice, oak, etc.). Before scoring a wine in its entirety, judges look at its taste—sweetness, acidity, tannin, texture, body and flavor.

Andrew Stover, a sommelier consultant from Washington, D.C. who was invited to be a judge, shared, “The quality has been quite high, even though I’ve only tasted the first 10 wines.” Since becoming certified in 2006, Stover has judged in dozens of competitions around the country, sharing that this was the first “niche” competition of which he has been a part, and that he was impressed by the wines being produced by our boutique industry. “Overall the competition showed a very high level of quality across all of the categories—a level of quality that really shows that Monticello is producing some of the top wines in Virginia in my opinion. Because it is a very small group of wineries, the quality is overall higher than in other state wide competitions I have judged in other states (not Virginia),” said Stover. When asked what stood out for him during the competition, he noted that “The skin-contact Viogniers were very distinctive.”

Once both panels of judges scored all 58 wines, they re-judged those that made the top 40%, which comprises those that scored the highest in three categories: balanced, complexity and drinkability.

On April 29, the seven-day festival, presented by Mercedes-Benz of Charlottesville, will kick off with the Monticello Cup Awards at Vault Virginia, when the winning wines will be announced to the public. From April 30–May 2, a series of collaborative dinners will be hosted by local restaurants and wineries, followed by the 3rd Annual Rose Lunch, winery tours and tastings, and a Spirited Wine Trail Reception, all on May 3. The popular Grand Tasting at the Sprint Pavilion, on May 4, will feature more than 25 local wineries and live entertainment, and is always a great opportunity for wine enthusiasts to sample some of their favorite varietals. Concluding the festival will be the 4th Annual Sparkling Brunch at Veritas Vineyard & Winery. For all event details and locations, click here.

A big thanks to this year’s talented judging panel, and we can’t wait to hear who was chosen for the 2019 Monticello Cup Award!

2019 Judges:

Whitney Berry
Beth Chan
Robert Harllee
Megan Hereford
Ryder Kenerson
Richard Leahy
Priscilla Martin
Jeff Ottaviano
Lindsey Parris
Mike Potasnik
Justin Ross
Andrew Stover
Erica Vorhauer
Neal Wavra

From Ivy Publications, online and print publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a bi-monthly parenting magazine; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Home Magazine, a quarterly flipped edition with CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine that includes direct mail; the CharlottesvilleFamily Ultimate Go-To Guide and Home Go-To Guide, an annual flip book book with our popular daytrip section, as well as directories of family & home services; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a relocation handbook and a guide to local attractions like Monticello, vineyards and the University of Virginia.

Ivy Publications opened the Charlottesville Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA, a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginia artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire to locally made artisan foods, water, wine, beer and cider, and more. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Monticello Wine Trail Takes 2019 Cup and Multiple Golds


February 27, 2019 | Ivy Publications

Last night, the 2019 Annual Virginia Governor’s Cup Gala was held at Richmond’s Main Street Station. After 102 wineries submitted more than 500 wines, an esteemed panel of 18 judges selected 68 Gold Medal winning wines to be celebrated at this year’s gala. Locals, Afton Mountain Vineyards, Barboursville Vineyards, DelFosse Vineyards and Winery, Early Mountain Vineyards, Horton Vineyards, Jefferson Vineyards, Keswick Vineyards, King Family Vineyards, Trump Winery, Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, Brix & Columns Vineyards and Virginia Wineworks all made the prestigious list, showcasing the true talent coming out of our local wine region.

Twelve of these Gold Medal winning wines were selected for the 2019 Governor’s Case after outscoring all the other entrants on appearance, aroma, flavor, overall quality and commercial suitability. Seven of the wines selected for the case were from our very own region, including Barboursville Vineyards’ 2017 Vermentino Reserve, Early Mountain Vineyards’ 2016 Eluvium, Horton Vineyards’ 2016 Petit Manseng and King Family Vineyards’ 2016 Mountain Plains and 2016 Meritage.

During the awards presentation, a video was shown outlining the process of the judging, including interviews with a handful of judges like local Sommelier Erin Scala and highly noted wine authority from London, Steven Spurrier, who in the video compared Virginia’s wine region to that of Europe, and which elicited an excited and thunderous applause from the crowd. After announcing the highly regarded Governor’s Cup Case, Governor Ralph Northam awarded the 2019 Governor’s Cup to local Horton Vineyards for their 2016 Petit Manseng. Not only was the Petit Manseng one of a few select white wines to ever win the cup, but also was the first Petit Manseng to ever receive the award.

Horton’s win was particularly touching after the passing of the vineyards’ founder and winemaker Dennis Horton last June, and it shows the vineyards’ and Horton family’s continuation of Dennis’ pioneering legacy and passion for winemaking. Their second Governor’s Cup, the Horton family also won the cup in 1993 for their 1990 Cabernet Sauvignon, which was produced from the vineyards’ first crop and crafted at Montdomaine Cellars. Horton’s wines have also gained regional and national recognition over the years, including the awarding of the Gordon Murchie Lifetime Achievement Award to Dennis at the Virginia Governor’s Cup in 2011, and more recently, the showcasing of Horton Vineyards at a Smithsonian Winemakers’ Dinner. Dennis’ wife Sharon, daughter Shannon and granddaughter Caitlin, who are now continuing the family business, were all present to accept and celebrate the award. During her acceptance speech alongside longtime business partner Joan Bieda, Sharon Horton credited the vineyards’ win to her hardworking vineyard team, including Vineyard Foreman Tony Baeza Cruz who has been with Horton for 20 years.

Throughout the evening, Shannon poured some of their vineyards’ award-winning wine for gala attendees. In a tearful moment, she expressed how proud her father would have been of the prestigious recognition for their work from the Virginia Wineries Association. The winning wine is 100% Petit Manseng and characterized as having sweet tropical fruits, wiped clean by a fierce blaze of blinding acidity—a beautiful, sumptuous, golden wine.

Horton Vineyards was featured in the recent edition of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living. Learn more about Horton’s history in Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, Book Seven.

That evening, the talented members of our local wine industry proved once again how much our region has to offer wine connoisseurs around the world. The innovative and creative spirit that drives the Monticello Wine Trail continues to advance the industry and its wine production, impressing wine lovers along the way. We would like to sincerely congratulate Horton Vineyards on their Governor’s Cup win, as well as all of the other vineyards who highlighted our region with gold medals and for being selected for the Governor’s Case. We cannot wait to try all of the award-winning wines and to see all that these talented people have in store for our wine country!

Below, top left, Winemaker Luca Paschina of Barboursville Vineyards congratulates neighbor and Horton Vineyards’ Co-Founder and Viticulturist Sharon Horton. Below, right, gala attendees are able to try some of the spectacular wines from this year’s Governor’s Case, including Early Mountain Vineyards’ 2016 Eluvium. Below, bottom left, the team at Brix & Columns Vineyards celebrates their Gold Medal winning wine. Congratulations to all from your biggest fans here at Charlottesville Wine & Country Living!

 

 

From Ivy Publications, online and print publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Home Magazine, a quarterly flipped edition with CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine that includes direct mail; the CharlottesvilleFamily Ultimate Go-To Guide and Home Go-To Guide, an annual flip book book with our popular daytrip section, as well as directories of family & home services; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a relocation handbook and a guide to local attractions like Monticello, vineyards and the University of Virginia.

Continuing to develop our newest brands, Ivy Publications opened the Charlottesville Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA, a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginia artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire to locally made artisan foods, water, wine, beer and cider, and more. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

 

Wine and Calligraphy: 5 Tips for Learning the Craft


February 21, 2019 | Ivy Publications
There has always been something so romantic and timeless about the handwritten note. Whether you are writing “thank you” notes, sending invitations or perhaps creating name cards for your next dinner party, having beautiful script can elevate both your versatility and entertaining artistry. So, when we heard Early Mountain Vineyards was hosting a calligraphy workshop with Jen Maton of local If So Inklined, it is safe to say we were pretty excited. Ahead of the class, we asked Maton to share a few of her tips for getting started in the beautiful art of calligraphy.

  1. Take a deep breathe and relax. A glass of wine helps with that!
  2. Remember that when you press down on the pen, you will create thick lines. And when you lift up, you will create thin lines. Another way to put it is: the upstroke = thin, and the downstroke = thick.
  3. Use only high quality tools and materials. A little extra money spent goes a lot further. Cheap pens will result in frustration. The upcoming class teaches what different tools you can use to achieve modern brush lettering and where to buy them.
  4. Practice makes perfect! Practice sheets are the key to success.
  5. Have fun! The upcoming class is structured to teach you brush lettering in a low key (stress-free way).

The Modern Brush Pen Calligraphy class with If So Inklined will be this Sunday, from 1–3pm at Early Mountain Vineyards. Tickets can be purchased here. You can learn more about Maton and If So Inklined by visiting her website here and seeing her in Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings, Volume 2.

 

Lead Images by Rachel May Photography

Photo of Jen Maton by Rachel May Photography

Photos of calligraphy course booklets courtesy of If So Inklined

 

 

From Ivy Publications, online and print publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Home Magazine, a quarterly flipped edition with CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine that includes direct mail; the CharlottesvilleFamily Ultimate Go-To Guide and Home Go-To Guide, an annual flip book book with our popular daytrip section, as well as directories of family & home services; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a relocation handbook and a guide to local attractions like Monticello, vineyards and the University of Virginia.

Continuing to develop our newest brands, Ivy Publications opened the Charlottesville Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA, a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginia artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire to locally made artisan foods, water, wine, beer and cider, and more. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

 

Cheers to the Virginia Wine Expo


February 20, 2019 | Ivy Publications

Calling all of our fellow wine lovers! The Annual Virginia Wine Expo is February 26–March 3! This six-day event in nearby Richmond highlights not only Virginia’s premier wines, but also the best in state and national spirits, cider and cuisine with special dinners, brunches, seminars and tasting events. The expo’s signature events will be held at the beautiful Main Street Station, while other foodie and pairing events will take place at local restaurants and venues, giving attendees a chance to explore the city. We love attending this event each year and seeing our talented local vineyards, craft brewers, distillers and cideries showcased! A few popular locals you can look for at this year’s event include Barboursville Vineyards, Bold Rock Hard CiderCastle Hill Cider, CrossKeys Vineyards, Early Mountain VineyardsHorton Vineyards, and Veritas Vineyard & Winery. Here is a little round up of what you can expect at this year’s expo.

©2018 Scott K. Brown Photography, Inc.

Tuesday through Friday, attendees can enjoy a plethora of foodie and craft beverage events at various locations around Richmond. Many of our local vineyards will be included in wine-paired dinners, including the Buckhead’s Chop House Signature Wine Dinner, which will include Barboursville Vineyards‘ Malvaxia Reserve, on Tuesday, February 26, and Virginia’s Past, Present & Future Signature Wine Dinner at Acacia Mid-Town, which will include a 2017 Early Mountain Vineyards Rose, on Thursday, February 28. You can browse the full schedule of events here.

Love spirits and/or craft brews? Be sure to check out the SMOKED! event on Friday, March 1. This tasting event will feature food from at least 14 different barbecue restaurants, as well as craft beers and ciders, over 50 different whiskeys, and of course… wine.

©2018 Scott K. Brown Photography, Inc.

Saturday, March 2, is the expo’s most packed day with the popular Walk-Around Grand Tasting event, seminars and other experiences, like a special vertical tasting with local Keswick Vineyards. The Walk-Around Grand Tastings (one in the afternoon and one in the evening) will include over 10 of our local vineyards, as well as two local cideries and distilleries. Plus, we will be in attendance, sharing our most recent issue of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living!

©2018 Scott K. Brown Photography, Inc.

The expo will conclude on Sunday, March 3, with a sparkling brunch, wine seminar and Walk-Around Grand Tasting. Whether you are a foodie, wine or craft beverage lover, or love all three, there will be plenty to enjoy and explore during this year’s Virginia Wine Expo! Each year, the expo includes more exciting events, and we cannot wait to see all that the 2019 expo has in store for participants. We hope to see you there!

If you need to brush up on your wine-tasting skills before the Virginia Wine Expo, be sure to also check out our recent blog post with Valley Road Vineyards about proper wine tasting technique.

 

All photos: ©2018 Scott K. Brown Photography, Inc., Courtesy of the Virginia Wine Expo

 

 

From Ivy Publications, online and print publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Home Magazine, a quarterly flipped edition with CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine that includes direct mail; the CharlottesvilleFamily Ultimate Go-To Guide and Home Go-To Guide, an annual flip book book with our popular daytrip section, as well as directories of family & home services; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a relocation handbook and a guide to local attractions like Monticello, vineyards and the University of Virginia.

Continuing to develop our newest brands, Ivy Publications opened the Charlottesville Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA, a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginia artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire to locally made artisan foods, water, wine, beer and cider, and more. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Wine Tasting 101


February 13, 2019 | Ivy Publications

With over 40 local wineries to visit for a tasting, learning to expand your palate has never been so easy—or so pleasurable. Whatever you desire—flowery, fruity, smoky or light—you are sure to find the perfect wine. However, when it comes to wine tastings, the experience should involve more than just your taste buds. We asked Stan Joynes, owner and CEO of local Valley Road Vineyards, to share some tips on how to properly taste wine. Joynes recommends the “5 S’s” of wine tasting—Seeing, Swirling, Sniffing, Sipping and Savoring.

Joynes’ breakdown of the “5 S’s:

  • See the Wine.
    Taste wine in a room that is well-lit, and if you can, hold the wine up to a white background to examine the color and clarity.
    Tip:
    The intensity of the color will hint to how the wine is likely to taste, and, generally, depth of color will signal intensity of flavor.
  • Swirl the Wine.
    Swirling the wine in your glass helps release the hundreds of aroma compounds that wine contains. They are so small that they float on evaporating alcohol into our noses.
    Tip: The easiest way to start swirling is to place your thumb and forefinger at the base of a stemmed wine glass while it’s sitting on a flat surface. Then, while gripping the base, move the glass in small circles. As you become more adept, try swirling without a hard surface under the glass.
  • Sniff the Wine.
    Smell is the principal sense used in wine tasting, so sniffing the wine before the initial sip is essential. The “bouquet” of a wine is the total aromatic experience it produces, and assessing a wine’s bouquet can reveal not only its strengths but also its faults, such as oxidation due to age or cork taint. Experiencing the wine’s bouquet assists you in anticipating the wine’s flavors. 
  • Sip the Wine.
    Thoroughly tasting a wine requires recognizing its full array of taste and mouthfeel attributes which involves the combination of the wine’s textures, flavors, weight and overall “structure.” To get the most out of your tasting, start by holding a sip for a few seconds just inside the front of your mouth. With lips pursed, draw in a breath and let the oxygen pass slowly over the wine. The aromatics will be excited by the body heat inside the mouth and will be transferred to your olfactory receptor site.
    Tip: To get the fullest experience of the wine’s attributes, take a larger sip and let it flow into the whole of your mouth, coating the tongue.
  • Savor the Wine.
    The “finish” refers to the sensation you get from swallowing the wine, and it is defined principally by the length of time the wine taste stays with you after you swallow. The finish sometimes provides a sensation noticeably different from the taste you got on your palate. Items to look for include an alcohol taste, which is not desirable, and tastes that dominate in a way that renders the wine unbalanced. 

Ready to put your wine tasting skills to the test? Check out Valley Road Vineyards’ Blind Tasting Event on February 16!

 

Lead Image: By Skip Rowland

Second Image: By Skip Rowland

Third Image: Courtesy of Valley Road Vineyards

Wine Tasting Notes: By Stan Joynes

 

 

From Ivy Publications, online and print publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Home Magazine, a quarterly flipped edition with CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine that includes direct mail; the CharlottesvilleFamily Ultimate Go-To Guide and Home Go-To Guide, an annual flip book book with our popular daytrip section, as well as directories of family & home services; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a relocation handbook and a guide to local attractions like Monticello, vineyards and the University of Virginia.

Continuing to develop our newest brands, Ivy Publications opened the Charlottesville Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA, a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginia artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire to locally made artisan foods, water, wine, beer and cider, and more. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Celebrate Love Wine and Country Style


February 6, 2019 | Ivy Publications

Wine almost always comes to mind when we think about Valentine’s Day—whether you are looking for the perfect bottle for toasting with your candle-lit dinner, want to plan a romantic afternoon at a vineyard or perhaps are looking for that special vintage that takes you back to the early days of a relationship. And, what better place to celebrate than in our local wine country, where you can always find the perfect award-winning local wine for any occasion.

In fact, our local vineyards can do much more than just serve as the source for wine. They also make for a lovely location for a romantic outing. Plan a picturesque afternoon at a local vineyard and stroll the vines hand-in-hand. Or, attend one of the many pairing events at a local vineyard and try something new with your beau.

Tip: The vineyard and Blue Ridge Mountain vistas make for an idyllic backdrop for gift giving. Spread out a picnic blanket among the vines (on warmer days) or cozy up by a tasting room fire for an intimate gift exchange. We suggest gifting something locally and/or hand-crafted like the beautiful Ana Cavalheiro ring given at a special Barboursville Vineyards outing below.

If you prefer a more elegant Valentine’s Day, consider attending a local vineyards’ multi-course wine-paired dinner, like the Valentine’s Day Celebration at Barboursville Vineyards, and enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner with exquisite wine pairings. Some area vineyards even offer quaint cottages, inns and bed & breakfasts that overlook the rolling vines, perfect for turning a romantic evening into a mini getaway or staycation. The couple below spent a romantic weekend at Barboursville Vineyards, strolling along the vines, visiting The Ruins and staying at The 1804 Inn (a must-visit historic inn with luxury suites). Looking for an elegant gift fitting for a vineyard affair? Visit local Schwarzschild Keller & George Jewelers for timeless pieces like the stunning layered “Siviglia” necklaces completing the woman’s chic look below.

No matter how you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day, there are many local ways to make it memorable. Here are a few of our top vineyard picks:

Looking for other ways to celebrate? Check out these local ideas:

You can also check the Charlottesville Welcome Book website for a calendar of more exciting local events, as well as find inspiration for a romantic weekend at Barboursville Vineyards in Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, Book Five. To complete your plans, stop by the Charlottesville Wine & Country Shop for local wines, artisan-made jewelry and more perfect gift ideas.

 

 

Image Credits:
Photography: Rachel May Photography 
Venue, Catering & Wine: Barboursville Vineyards
Florals: Tourterelle Floral Design 
Clothing: Verdigris & Brooks Brothers
Jewelry: Ana Cavalheiro Fine Jewelry and Schwarzschild Keller & George Jewelers
Table Setting & Chairs: MS Events
Hair: Brianna B. Adams LLC
Makeup: Gohar Makeup
Female Model: Noelle S., Modelogic
Male Model: Patrick K., Modelogic

 

From Ivy Publications, online and print publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Home Magazine, a quarterly flipped edition with CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine that includes direct mail; the CharlottesvilleFamily Ultimate Go-To Guide and Home Go-To Guide, an annual flip book book with our popular daytrip section, as well as directories of family & home services; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a relocation handbook and a guide to local attractions like Monticello, vineyards and the University of Virginia.

Continuing to develop our newest brands, Ivy Publications opened the Charlottesville Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA, a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginia artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire to locally made artisan foods, water, wine, beer and cider, and more. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Uncorking the New Year with Sparkling!


December 29, 2018 | Ivy Publications

“POP!” … opening a bottle of bubbly starts the party—a sound that was heard the world over during New Year’s Eve celebrations. Charlottesville Wine & Country caught up with the winemaking team at Horton Vineyards to see the process of making sparkling wines in action and to learn about some of the exciting projects they having coming up in 2019.

While the vineyards outside slept, the Horton team was busy inside the winery during the final week of 2018 with Shannon Horton at the helm as they degorged sparkling Viognier in preparation for its release in 2019.

The traditional Methode Champenoise of making sparkling that Horton follows is a labor-intensive one that has been the practice for hundreds of years in Champagne, France. One of only a few wineries in the region that implements the traditional process, Shannon Horton explains “…..First the sparkling is aged on the lees or yeast for months, and as the yeast sediment builds, the winemaker forces the yeast to settle at the neck of the bottle through the riddling process. In order to remove the yeast, it is put in a freezing bath to solidify the yeast. We then remove the bottle’s seal which creates an explosion of the wine as sparkling is so known for. It’s a fun and exciting process!”

Once degorged, the wine is inspected then topped off to replace the wine that was lost.

After passing inspection, the bottles are quickly re-corked, cleaned and boxed for labeling on another day.

While Horton Vineyards is hoping to rename this sparkling in the coming year, wine lovers can expect highly acidic floral notes and a brioche aroma with this sparkling Viognier. Horton recommends pairing it with rich food like lobster tail or even a creamy and rich dessert.

As the wines were being boxed and stored, we were taken on a tour to see the other exciting sparklings currently being aged. “We have some that have been aging for 10 years now, and we’re very excited to introduce our sparkling Tannat, the first of it’s kind to be released locally!” Shannon adds.

The aged sparkling Viognier was put down in July of 2018 and will be released in 2028. The sparkling Tannat is expected to be ready for degorging in 6–9 months and then released. The grapes for this sparkling were allowed to get to full ripeness prior to picking, and the wine is expected to have a big tannic finish. Sparkling Tannat will be a part of the vineyards’ Gears and Lace series and the third sparkling that Horton Vineyards offers.

Horton Vineyards also produces a sparkling rosé—Erotes. This delightful bubbly rosé starts on the palette with a raspberry sweetness and finishes dry.

Stored deep in the cellar’s many caves lay more exciting vintages for wine lovers to enjoy in the years to come! We cannot wait to see how Horton Vineyards continues its innovative legacy and are looking forward to trying its newest sparklings later this year.

 

From Ivy Publications, online and print publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Home Magazine, a quarterly flipped edition with CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine that includes direct mail; the CharlottesvilleFamily Ultimate Go-To Guide and Home Go-To Guide, an annual flip book book with our popular daytrip section, as well as directories of family & home services; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a relocation handbook and a guide to local attractions like Monticello, vineyards and the University of Virginia.

Continuing to develop our newest brands, Ivy Publications opened the Charlottesville Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA, a beautiful lifestyle boutique featuring over 40 Virginia artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire to locally made artisan foods, water, wine, beer and cider, and more. Wine & Country Experiences are now also available and include exclusive tours and classes with leading professionals in the local farm-to-table and vineyard scenes.

Wine and Country Hosts 1st Wine-Paired Dinner in New Food and Wine Series


October 31, 2018 | Ivy Publications

Last night, our new Food & Wine Pairing Series continued with an intimate wine-paired dinner at Brasserie Saison. The affair was held in the restaurant’s private Library Room, a cozy space that harkens back to old England with its wood paneled walls.

The evening began in The Coat Room, where guests sipped Prosecco and mingled. Once seated in the Library Room, Sommelier Will Curley with Brasserie Saison took the head of the table with guests filling the seats along the farm table. The menu and wine selection were created with the upcoming holidays in mind. Throughout the evening, Curley introduced each wine as it was presented, explaining the characteristics of each selection, as well as how each best pairs with foods. The meal was carefully created for the Charlottesville Wine & Country Experience by Chef Tres Pittard and Curley.

For the first course, guests enjoyed Gravlax, a Nordic dish of thinly sliced raw salmon, topped with fennel, dill, lemon and caper. This dish was paired with three sparklings: Royal Provence “Rivarose” Sparkling Rose, Domaine Bergerie “Crémant de Loire” Chardonnay/Chenin Blanc and Laherte Freres “Ultradition” Champagne.

During the second course, guests enjoyed braised pork served in Sauce Robert, a brown mustard demi-glaze, and garnished with red onion confit. Curley selected three reds to pair with this dish: a 2016 Afton Mountain Vineyards “Tradition,” Berthet-Rayne Côtes du Rhône and a 2015 Domaine Matrot ‘Maranges’ Burgundy.

Guests finished the dinner with a pumpkin pie waffle served with foie gras and roasted figs. This was paired with Afton Mountain Vineyards‘ “VDN” Port-Style Vin Doux Naturel.

After dessert, guests were joined by Chef Pittard, who shared some insights about the evening’s selected dishes and answered questions.

We had such a wonderful time working with Brasserie Saison and Sommelier Will Curley on the first wine-paired dinner in our new series. We cannot wait to see the menu they prepare for our next dinner in November, which will also feature guest winemaker Emily Pelton of Veritas Vineyard & Winery. You can learn more about our Food & Wine Pairing Series here, and find the upcoming dinner classes below!

Class III:  Tuesday, November 13 at 6pm with Guest Winemaker Emily Pelton of Veritas Vineyard & Winery
Class IV:  Tuesday, December 4 at 6pm with Guest Winemaker Shannon Horton of Horton Vineyards

 

From Ivy Publications, publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine with a calendar of Charlottesville festivals and events plus stories on education, health and family fun; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Home Magazine, a quarterly flipped edition with CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine that includes all things home, from builders and real estate professionals to insurance, landscaping, utilities and more; the CharlottesvilleFamily Ultimate Go-To Guide and Home Go-To Guide, an annual flip book with everything from daytrip ideas and home tips to directories of family & home services; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a guide to attractions like Monticello, vineyards, the University of Virginia as well as a relocation handbook.

At Ivy Publications, we’re inspired by the belief that by utilizing technology, working efficiently and attending to quality, we create publications that honor the reader and build a real connection with our local businesses. This belief has led to prosperous and long-standing relationships with our clients, who entrust us with their advertising and have enjoyed great success utilizing our niche publications to effectively reach their target markets since 1998.

Wine and Country Launches New Food and Wine Pairing Series


October 29, 2018 | Ivy Publications

Yesterday, on a beautiful autumn day, we launched the first class in our new Food & Wine Pairing Series. Attendees joined Winemaker Damien Blanchon at Afton Mountain Vineyards for an afternoon tasting, and learned about our region’s superb wines and the local boutique wine industry that has continued to impress both national and international wine connoisseurs.

Focusing on the old-world techniques of creating beautiful wines, Blanchon walked the class through his process of wine production, showcasing his French influences and education. His behind-the-scenes tour began in the vineyard’s fermentation room, where Blanchon explained the process of harvesting and processing the grapes grown at Afton Mountain Vineyards, and even let participants sample some of the wines in the fermentation stages. His love for the land and attention to the grapes were evident in his anecdotes describing the impact of weather and soil on the wines we drink.

The tour continued through the wine processing building, where Blanchon showed participants the winery’s analysis lab, as well as the in-house pressing process and machinery used after harvesting. During his tour of the naturally insulated underground barrel room, he gave the class tastings directly from the barrels, allowing participants to compare the unique flavors and tastes brought about by different harvests, blends and ages.

Following the tour of the wine processing facility, the class strolled through the vineyards down to the scenic tasting pavilion. The beautiful weather showcased the winery’s stunning views and fall foliage.

At the pavilion, the class enjoyed light snacks from the Charlottesville Wine & Country Shop before enjoying a formal wine tasting with Blanchon. Participants tasted the released 2017 varietals of the same wines they had sampled in both the production and barrel stages earlier.

We thoroughly enjoyed working with Winemaker Damien Blanchon and Afton Mountain Vineyards for our first class, and learned so much about winemaking and the work and passion that go into each bottle produced. We would like to thank everyone who participated, and we hope you will join us for one of our upcoming pairing classes!

The three final classes in our Food & Wine Pairing Series will be wine-paired dinners at Brasserie Saison. During each class, participants will enjoy talks by Sommelier Will Curley and will be joined at the dinner table by a local winemaker. You can find more information about the course here, and email concierge@ivypublications.com to sign up (classes available as a bundle or individually, and seating is limited).

Class II:  Tuesday, October 30 at 6pm with Guest Winemaker Damien Blanchon of Afton Mountain Vineyards (*Please note, registration for this class closes tomorrow, October 30, at 8am) 
Class III:  Tuesday, November 13 at 6pm with Guest Winemaker Emily Pelton of Veritas Vineyard & Winery
Class IV:  Tuesday, December 4 at 6pm with Guest Winemaker Shannon Horton of Horton Vineyards

 

Florals by Hedge Fine Blooms

 

From Ivy Publications, publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine with a calendar of Charlottesville festivals and events plus stories on education, health and family fun; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Home Magazine, a quarterly flipped edition with CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine that includes all things home, from builders and real estate professionals to insurance, landscaping, utilities and more; the CharlottesvilleFamily Ultimate Go-To Guide and Home Go-To Guide, an annual flip book with everything from daytrip ideas and home tips to directories of family & home services; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a guide to attractions like Monticello, vineyards, the University of Virginia as well as a relocation handbook.

At Ivy Publications, we’re inspired by the belief that by utilizing technology, working efficiently and attending to quality, we create publications that honor the reader and build a real connection with our local businesses. This belief has led to prosperous and long-standing relationships with our clients, who entrust us with their advertising and have enjoyed great success utilizing our niche publications to effectively reach their target markets since 1998.

Biking Charlottesville Wine Country


August 29, 2018 | Ivy Publications

Jefferson’s Virginia has been attracting cyclists for years with a plethora of routes, a challenging landscape and stunning views. But, what may surprise some is that cycling has also become an exciting new way to experience both the natural beauty of Virginia’s scenic environment and the exquisite offerings of our renowned vineyards and breweries. The area’s “Tour de Vine,” as it has been dubbed, allows cyclists to try the remarkable array of wines, beers and ciders that are crafted right here in Virginia, exploring the flavor profiles of the local terrain as they traverse it by bicycle.

We caught up with Professional Cyclist Ben King, who grew up in Charlottesville, to learn what he enjoys about biking the region. Scroll on to learn more from King and for a list of biking trails and tours you, too, can try!

King’s passion for biking began as a kid in Charlottesville. After his dad, who also raced professionally, saw the growing passion and potential in his son, the two began riding together regularly. And the rest, as they say, was history. Today, and multiple national championships later, King finds that Charlottesville is still one of the best places for cycling because of the incredible businesses one finds along the way. Despite having traveled internationally for competitions, riding through the beauty of the Virginia countryside remains to be one of King’s favorite pastimes.

In fact, cycling the area offers numerous stops along the way at wineries, breweries, distilleries, charming roadside shops and eateries, and B&Bs. King himself has visited the likes of White Hall VineyardsGlass House Winery, Stinson Vineyards, and a plethora of others while cycling.

This area, with its love of wine culture and dedication to supporting cycling, indeed seems to reinforce this marriage between cyclists and explorations of local establishments. Easy access to routes such as the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail or the Monticello Wine Trail give cyclists the opportunity to take their love of wine and beer into account while exploring their passion for the outdoors.

King encourages everyone to take part in the unique experience of cycling through the picturesque back roads and explore Virginia like never before. You can learn more about Ben King in Book Six of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living

Wondering how to get in on the area’s “Tour de Vine”? Here are a few ways you can also enjoy the stunning views and trails:

  • Cville Tours offers a Charlottesville Winery Guided Tour that’s perfect for starters who want a leisurely ride through Charlottesville’s wine country.
  • Looking for something a little more intense? Enjoy a four-day ride through back roads around Charlottesville and the Shenandoah Valley with Velo View Bike Tours‘ Charlottesville Wine Country Tour. Traveling over 100 miles, this tour will allow you to visit the area’s finest wineries while taking in the incredible scenery of the Virginia countryside.
  • For those who are confident in your cycling abilities, skip the tour and take on a trail yourself! Bike a trail at a vineyard, like DelFosse Vineyard & Winery‘s trail, or bike the entire Monticello Wine Trail. For a long distance ride, explore the Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway .

Photos by 3 Cats Photo

Original story by Sarah Pastorek in Book Six of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living.

 

From Ivy Publications, publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings, an art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine with a calendar of Charlottesville festivals and events plus stories on education, health and family fun; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Home Magazine, a quarterly flipped edition with CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine that includes all things home, from builders and real estate professionals to insurance, landscaping, utilities and more; the CharlottesvilleFamily Ultimate Go-To Guide and Home Go-To Guide, an annual flip book with everything from daytrip ideas and home tips to directories of family & home services; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a guide to attractions like Monticello, vineyards, the University of Virginia as well as a relocation handbook.

At Ivy Publications, we’re inspired by the belief that by utilizing technology, working efficiently and attending to quality, we create publications that honor the reader and build a real connection with our local businesses. This belief has led to prosperous and long-standing relationships with our clients, who entrust us with their advertising and have enjoyed great success utilizing our niche publications to effectively reach their target markets since 1998.