Sunday, January 27, 2013

Playing Catch-Up: DuCard & Sharp Rock Vineyards

I have been a writing wine slacker of late. You know when things you like to do, start feeling like work? Well that's where I was with this blog for a bit, I just wanted to do the drinking and not the "homework" of writing them up, but have no fear I'm playing a little catch up today.

Back in November, possibly early December after driving several windy roads, Debbie, Scott & I found ourselves at DuCard Vineyards. DuCard is a former apple orchard that has been growing grapes for the past 12 years. They had 8 wines for us to try, 2 whites and 4 reds and 2 dessert wines.

The white wines were both from 2011, there was a Signature Viognier and the Gibson Hollow White which was a blend of Viognier and Vidal Blanc that had a very distinct taste of peach. The whites were fine wines, but we really enjoyed the reds. Starting with the 2010 Cabernet Franc Vintner's Reserve there were distinct notes of tobacco and blackberries that made this wine a rich, dry red. Next we sampled the Popham Run Red 2009/2010 bordeaux style blend with Cab Franc, Cab Sav and Merlot, a much lighter blend than the Cabernet Franc. Moving on to the 2010 Petit Verdot aged 2 years in the barrel, served from a decanter, this was another big favorite and would be great paired with a steak. The last red we tried was the 2010 Virginia Native Norton, that when tasted with chocolate really softened this wine. I am not the biggest Norton fan, but if you are, you would most likely enjoy this version. On to the dessert wines there was the 2009 Sweet Virginee Vidal Blanc with 6% rs an apple nose with hints of pear, it was light and refreshing and my preferred dessert wine. The second was the 2010 C'est Trop a port-style wine made with Norton grapes and fortified with brandy, a very rich wine that was a favorite for port lovers. We each picked a glass and found an outdoor table by a trickling stream to take in the mountain views on the unusually warm winter day.

 After our leisurely stop at DuCard, we meandered north to Sharp Rock Vineyards. Which seemed almost like a little village with a couple of  B&B cottages and old barns on the property. It is a 220 year old farm that has had the vineard going for 22 years with 14 varietals grown onsite.

We had a unique tasting table on the second floor of an overhang outside of one of the tasting bars with a great views. We were not given tasting sheets so I think we tried 7-8 wines and definitely enjoyed 5 of them. The Pinnacle Blanc started us off strong as a blend of 25% Sav Blanc and 75% Chardonnay, steel aged and just crisp enough without being tart. We also enjoyed the Rose made from a Cabernet Sauvignon that spent 2 days on the skins. Debbie really enjoyed the 2011 Reserve Chardonnay, oak
aged with a smoky nose and definite hints of bacon. The 2010 Synergy a Petit Verdot (55%) and Merlot (45%) blend was also one of my favorites. Scott's favorite of the day was the 2010 Old Rag Red, a Bordeaux blend of Cab Sav, Cab Ranc, Petit Verdot and Merlot. We also found the 2011 Chamois Rouge to be a very nice off dry blend of Chambourcin and Cab Sav.

The layout of Sharp Rock is great, its somewhat secluded off the main road, and it was frequented by picnickers and tasters of all ages. The views were refreshing and it inspired comments like "I think I'm gonna like this place...lay in the lawn and look into the sky..." or maybe that was just the earlier wine stops talking...