Episode 30: Jay Youmans MW, Virginia Governor’s Cup

Jay Youmans MW

Jay YoumansOur special guest today is Jay Youmans. Jay is a Master of Wine, Certified Wine Educator, Advanced Sommelier, owner of the Capital Wine School in Washington, D.C., and the judging director for the Virginia Governor’s Cup.

The Virginia Governor’s Cup, now in its 35th year, is considered one of the most rigid wine competitions in the country. Nearly 500 Virginia wines were entered in the 2017 competition and 23 selections received gold medals. Jay talks about the rules of the competition, the judging panel and he’ll also share his thoughts on the growth and quality revolution of Virginia wine.

Jay is 21st American to achieve the prestigious Master of Wine title. He’ll discuss his wine education journey with us on this edition of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country. Catch a new episode every Saturday morning at 8:30 on Cville 107.5 and 1260 WCHV and live stream the show by searching WCHV on the Tune In app.

Episode 22: Jennifer Breaux, Breaux Vineyards

Jennifer Breaux

Jennifer Breaux, the VP of Sales & Hospitality and Director Education at Breaux Vineyards in Loudoun County is our special guest on this episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country. 

Breaux Vineyards is celebrating 20 years of winemaking in Virginia. What started out as three “accidental” acres of vines on the family’s property in the mid 90’s has grown into one of the largest vineyards in Virginia with more than 100 acres under vine. On the show, Jennifer shares her family’s winemaking journey, some of her favorite holiday pairings and why she thinks the rustic and elegant Nebbiolo grape is thriving at Breaux Vineyards.

Visit Breaux Vineyards:

Breaux Vineyards,
36888 Breaux Vineyards Ln,
Purcellville, VA 20132
540-668-6299

Episode 21: Holiday Entertaining Guide

The holiday season is in full swing and I have some fabulous holiday gift ideas for the wine lover in your life on today’s show. Plus, tis the season for entertaining, I will share some of my favorite host gifts, easy entertaining ideas for quick appetizers, recipes for delicious wine cocktails and perfect pairings on this episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country to help take the stress out of your holiday season.  I am sharing 3 of my go-to recipes for fabulous and festive appetizers and my top 3 sparkling wine cocktail recipes, plus a delicious recipe for holiday sangria!

Crystal Palate’s Wine Country airs every Saturday morning at 8:30 on Cville 107.5 and 1260 WCHV.  You can stream the show live each week on WCHV.com in Virginia. You can also download the Tune In App  to stream the show from anywhere nationwide or catch up on all episodes here.

 

Episode 20: Thanksgiving Pairings

Bill Curtis, Tastings of CharlottesvilleIt’s all about holiday wines and Thanksgiving pairings on this episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country. For some great ideas, we invited Bill Curtis, the owner of Tastings of Charlottesville on the show. Curtis opened the doors to Tastings in 1990 and was one of the first people in the country to have a fully integrated restaurant, bar and wine shop under one roof.

Tastings has been a staple in downtown Charlottesville ever since it opened its doors 26 years ago. An eclectic blend of new and old world offerings are housed in the wine shop area of Tastings just waiting to be discovered by inquisitive palates.   Curtis tries every single wine before he buys to ensure a quality selection for his customers. Over the years, he has  garnered quite the reputation as a wine guru. Here are a few of the accolades Bill Curtis has received over the years.

“William C. Curtis is a leading authority on Virginia wines.” – New York Times 

“This dude knows his wine.” – Scott Jones, Southern Living

“If Thomas Jefferson were alive today, you would probably find him at Tastings of Charlottesville.” – Monticello.org

On the show this week, we are talking about classic and outside the box Thanksgiving pairings, the evolution of quality in Virginia wine, one of his favorite bottles of Virginia bubbly and perfect hostess gifts this holiday season. When you’re in Charlottesville, make sure to stop by and visit Tastings for an exceptional wine and food experience.

Tastings of Charlottesville

502 E. Market Street
434-293-3663

Crystal Palate’s Wine Country airs every Saturday morning at 8:30 on Cville 107.5 and 1260 WCHV.  You can stream the show live each week on WCHV.com in the Charlottesville market. You can also  download the Tune In App or catch up on all episodes here.

Episode 19: Tim Gorman, Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery

We are heading to Afton, Virginia for this episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country. Tim Gorman, winemaker and vineyard manager with Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery shares his family’s journey of winemaking in the Commonwealth. For the Gorman’s, Cardinal Point has always been a family affair.

While stationed abroad, Tim’s parents developed a deep respect and love for German Riesling. The family’s time in Europe served as the inspiration for the family vineyard in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The first vines were planted at Cardinal Point 30 years ago. What started out as a few acres in the mid 80’s has turned into a thriving business for the Gorman’s. Cardinal Point now has 15 acres of vinifera vines on the farm in Afton and a vibrant tasting room.

On the show, Tim shares his family’s winemaking journey, the risks and rewards of growing wine in Virginia and how spending time in Europe as a child was instrumental in his appreciation of great wine and great food.

Plus, we are opening up Tim’s award-winning 2014 Clay Hill Cabernet Franc. This vintage was part of the 2016 Virginia Governor’s Cup case.  Find out Tim’s favorite pairing with Cab Franc and some other great wines that deserve a place at your dinner table.

Visit Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery

9423 Batesville Road
Afton, Virginia 22920
540.456.8400

Tasting Room: Open  daily from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Cost: Tastings, $10 per person

Crystal Palate’s Wine Country airs every Saturday morning at 8:30 on Cville 107.5 and 1260 WCHV.  You can stream the show live each week on WCHV.com in the Charlottesville market. You can also  download the Tune In App or catch up on all episodes here.

Episode 18: Paradise Springs Winery & Barrel-Art

Paradise Springs Winery

Kirk WilesKirk Wiles, co-founder of Paradise Springs Winery, the first bi-coastal winery in the country is joining me in Crystal Palate’s Wine Country on this episode. What started as a small operation  in quaint Clifton, Virginia a decade ago has expanded to a second operation across the country in Santa Barbara, California. From coast to coast, Paradise Springs is taking advantage of the unique growing conditions and terroir in both locations. Kirk shares the vast history of the Virginia property and how he his bringing a taste of the Commonwealth to his tasting room in Santa Barbara. Listen to the show here and catch a new show every Saturday morning at 8:30 on Cville 107.5 and 1260 WCHV. Download the Tune in app and search for WCHV to listen live nationwide.

Paradise Springs Winery
13219 Yates Ford Road
Clifton, VA  20124
(703) 830-WINE

Tasting room is open daily

Barrel-Art

Plus, the holidays are right around the corner and Mike Prieto with Barrel-Art will be stopping by to share some great ideas for unique gifts for the wine lover in your life. You’ll find everything from custom-made adirondack chairs, personalized Lazy Susan barrel heads, riddling racks from Champagne and even wine barrel beds for your precious pooch. Mike also shares how a devastating incident several years ago would later give root to this thriving business. My interview with Mike starts at 16:50.

Barrel-Art 
Mike Prieto – Owner
mike@barrel-art.com
(757) 639-5771
Hampton, VA

Read more about Barrel-Art in a recent article I wrote for hrScene.com.

Episode 17: Jennifer Knowles, Plume Restaurant, DC

Jennifer KnowlesAs we wrap up Virginia wine month, we are taking a jaunt to the nation’s capital to talk with Jennifer Knowles, a great advocate of Virginia wine. Jennifer is an advanced level sommelier and the wine director for The Jefferson Hotel in DC and Plume Restaurant.

Jennifer has extensive experience developing award-winning wine programs at some of the top restaurants in the country. Before arriving at Plume, Jennifer was the wine director at the Inn at Little Washington, one of the premiere dining establishments in Virginia, before landing at The Jefferson Hotel. Plume is the only Forbes 5 Star restaurant in Washington, D.C. On the show, Jennifer will share some of her favorite Virginia wines and perfect pairing ideas.  She will also discuss Plume Restaurant’s impressive Madeira program. In fact, it’s one of the most respected and diverse Madeira programs in the country.

To say that Jennifer is a passionate supporter of the Virginia wine industry, would be an understatement.  She has been a featured speaker at the Virginia Wine Summit, served on the judging panel for the Virginia Governors Cup Awards and is also involved with the Virginia Wine Council. Jennifer was recently named best Sommelier by the Int’l Academy of Gastronomy and received the 2013 Golden Goblet Award by the Association of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs.

Crystal Palate’s Wine Country airs every Saturday morning at 8:30 on Cville 107.5 and 1260 WCHV.  You can stream the show live each week on WCHV.com in the Charlottesville market. You can also  download the Tune In App or catch up on all episodes here.

Photos courtesy of Plume, DC. 

Episode 12: Jon & Mills Wehner, Chatham Vineyards

Oysters Half ShellJon and Mills Wehner of Chatham Vineyards join me on this episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country on WCHV to talk about the unique wine growing region of Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

The Eastern Shore is probably best known for its vibrant fishing and crabbing communities. While the briny, delectable and various oyster offerings and sweet Chesapeake crab get the lion’s share of attention, there is something quite unique about the terroir here that is garnering interest across Virginia and beyond.

Jon, a second-generation Virginia wine grower, talks about the evolution of Virginia wine since the late 70’s. Jon also discusses his minimalistic winemaking philosophy and talks about his success with planting not only Chatham’s award-winning Chardonnay, but bordelais varietals on the sandy, loam soils surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Jon’s wife Mills also joins us on the program to tell us about Virginia’s Wine and Brine month that celebrates one of the most classic wine and food pairings in the world, plus she gets personal and shares what its like to raise their three children on the farm.  You can catch a new episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country every Saturday at 8:30 on Cville 107.5 and 1260 WCHV.  Enjoy the show! You can also watch my mini-documentary on Chatham Vineyards below.

Visit Chatham Vineyards:

232 Chatham Road
Machipongo, VA 23405
757.678.5588

Tasting Room Hours

Open Daily 10 am – 5 pm Apr – Dec.
Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays Jan – Mar.
Closed for major holidays.

 

Episode 11: Rachel Stinson Vrooman, Stinson Vineyards

Rachel Stinson Vrooman with Stinson Vineyards is in Crystal Palate’s Wine Country this week. Stinson Vineyards located in Crozet, Virginia, is a family-owned operation in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Father-daughter duo Scott Stinson and Rachel Stinson Vrooman take their wine-making inspiration from the “garagiste” style wineries in France.

On the show, Rachel talks about making wine with her husband Nate Vrooman of Ankida Ridge Vineyards and her father Scott, wine philosophy and working with some interesting grape varietals that you haven’t seen very much of in Virginia including Tannat and Mourvedre. Rachel is using Mourvedre to make a delicious, fruit-forward, dry, crisp and mineral-driven rosé that is garnering rave reviews from many critics.  Tune in to hear more from Rachel. You can catch a brand new show every Saturday morning on Cville 107.5 and 1260 WCHV. Enjoy the show. Cheers!

Visit Stinson Vineyards:

Stinson Vineyards

4744 Sugar Hollow Road
Crozet, Virginia 22932
434.823.7300
info@stinsonvineyards.com

Tasting Room hours are Thursday through Sunday and Holiday Mondays 11am to 5pm.

 

Keswick Vineyards 2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet GrapesCabernet Sauvignon is revered as one of the most sought after wines in the world. Look no further than Bordeaux and Napa Valley and you will find a cult following for prestigious bottles produced in those regions. Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. Other regions like Washington State and Australia are gaining momentum in the production of this classic grape, but what about Virginia?

Yes, you heard that right. Not only is Virginia coming into its own as a premiere wine destination, the winemakers here are discovering that red wines, particularly Bordelais varietals are doing exceptionally well in the Commonwealth, specifically in certain regions and microclimates.

For many years Virginia was gaining a reputation for crisp white wines and sweeter dessert style wines made most notably from Petit Manseng and Vidal Blanc, but pioneers like  Jim Law with Linden Vineyards and Rutger de Vink with RdV Vineyards in Northern Virginia have really pushed the envelope with Cabernet Sauvignon and their efforts and risk are paying big dividends for the entire industry.

While the clay-based soils in much of Central Virginia are more suitable for other red varietals and whites, it seems that Cabernet Sauvignon can succeed quite well when grown in rocky, shale and schist soils that are found in pockets throughout Central Virginia.

Keswick Winemaker Stephen Barnard and Crystal Cameron Schaad
Keswick winemaker Stephen Barnard sporting his Pokeman shirt for his daughter at the WCHV studios.

Enter Keswick Vineyards and winemaker Stephen Barnard. I had an opportunity to sit down with Stephen this week for my latest episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country which airs on Saturday mornings at 8:30am on Cville 107.5 and 1260 WCHV in the Charlottesville area. We tasted the newly bottled 2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon made from 100% Cabernet from two blocks of grapes with the highest elevation planted 550 feet above sea level.

I wish I had the opportunity to blind-test this gem, because quite frankly I don’t know if I would have guessed Virginia. For far too long, many wine consumers, even locals have had a rather negative perception of red wines grown in Virginia. My, oh my, have things changed! Investments in viticulture, technology, better management of disease pressures and older vines are finally bearing fruit for the modern Virginia wine scene. And wine critics around the world are taking notice.

The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon will be released to Keswick’s wine club just in time for the holidays. Even though it’s quite impressive right now, a little patience will be rewarded. This wine will undoubtedly improve with 5-7 years of bottle age.

Tasting Notes

“Inky crimson hues indicate youth, but once you raise the glass and take in the multitude of complex and inviting aromas, you immediately understand that this is a serious and thought- provoking wine yearning to share its story.  Vibrant fruit aromas of summer ripe blackberries, currants and damson plum are woven together with floral notes of dusty violet, Herbs de Provence, sweet baking spices, Tahitian vanilla bean, chocolate-covered espresso beans and a hint of cedar and cigar box.

On the palate, cassis and plum take center stage followed by a crescendo of sweet spice, vanilla and toasty oak mid-palate.  This full-bodied, robust Cabernet has mouthwatering acidity, chewy tannins and a long lingering finish.” 

A pleasant 14% ABV provides wonderful FullSizeRender-9balance. The wine is aged in cask for nearly two years and sees 50% new oak and a hybrid aging regimen of French and American oak. It’s clear that this wine truly represents the Keswick family motto, “Born from the soil and soul of Virginia.”

Barnard only produces the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon in exceptional vintages. The first bottling dates back to 2007.

There is little use of commercial yeasts at Keswick, they believe that 95% of winemaking takes place in the vineyards. They rely on native yeasts for the fermentation process and take more of a hands-off Old World approach in the winery to truly allow the unique terroir to speak for itself.

While the 2014 won’t be available to the general public for a few more months, Keswick has the 2013 vintage available at the winery. You can also sample it in the tasting room. It retails for $74.95. Wine club members receive a 20% discount.

In addition to this stunning example of Cabernet Sauvignon, Keswick was awarded top billing in this year’s Virginia Governor’s Cup for Barnard’s 2014 Cabernet Franc Reserve.

If you were one to write off Virginia reds years ago, I encourage you to come back and give it another try, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. There’s no doubt Thomas Jefferson is smiling down upon his beloved Virginia and raising his glass to a job well done.

 

Episode 5: Wine 101

Crystal PalateHave you ever wondered when the first wine was produced? On this episode, I get back to the basics by discussing the history and origins of the fruit of the vine. Plus, I have some great wine 101 tips on how to properly store your wine and how to achieve the ideal serving temperature that will guarantee a much better drinking experience for you and your guests.

You will also discover some great pairing ideas on this episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country.

 

Episode 3: Luca Paschina, Barboursville Vineyards

 

On today’s show, I will introduce you Luca Paschina, the winemaker and general manager at Barboursville Vineyards. Luca has been at the forefront of the modern Virginia wine scene. He is a pioneer, a visionary and a true leader in helping establish Virginia as a premiere wine destination. He also been named by the James Beard Foundation as one of the top 25 most significant wine professionals in North America. On the show, we discuss the evolution of Virginia wines, an exciting new varietal to the Barboursville portfolio and some of Luca’s perfect pairings!

Photo Courtesy: Barboursville Vineyards 

Episode 2: Emily Pelton, Veritas Vineyards & Winery

Veritas VineyardsWhat started out as a passionate experiment in 1999 has evolved into countless accolades and a thriving business for the Hodson family. Simply put, Veritas is producing world-class wines in the heart of Virginia’s Wine Country.

This week, I am talking with award-winning winemaker Emily Pelton. She is also the daughter of Veritas owners Andrew and Patricia Hodson.  We are discussing the Veritas portfolio, some of Emily’s latest projects and an exciting research grant. Plus we’re doing a speed round in our perfect pairings segment with some of Emily’s favorite food & wine pairings. Enjoy the show!

Photo Courtesy: Veritas Vineyard & Winery 

VISIT VERITAS

151 Veritas Lane
Afton, Virginia
540-456-8000

Tasting Room Hours:

Monday-Friday 9:30-5:30
Saturday-Sunday 11:00-5:00
We are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day

Tasting fees are $10 per person

Episode 1: Christine Vrooman, Ankida Ridge Vineyards

Welcome to Crystal Palate’s Wine Country! My guest this week is Christine Vrooman, owner of Ankida Ridge Vineyards in Amherst, VA.  Ankida is known as “The Little Burgundy” of Virginia. The name Ankida is an ancient sumerian term that means where heaven and earth join. One trip to this majestic property you quickly understand why they chose that name. On the program, Christine discuss their great success with burgundian varietals (Chardonnay & Pinot Noir) on a very small parcel of land in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains and how their wine is getting international attention with a special invite to a critically acclaimed conference in Oregon. I am also taking part in the 2016 vintage experience at Ankida Ridge and will be producing a mini-documentary on the experience that will be released later this year. Stay tuned!

 

10 Must-Try Virginia Rosés

By now, many of you know that I absolutely adore a great rosé. Hands down, it’s my go-to summer wine. I always have a chilled bottle ready to go in my refrigerator. Why? It’s incredibly versatile. Contrary to popular belief, many rosés are actually dry and make a great companion for many foods including salads, sandwiches, charcuterie, grilled meats and fried chicken. You get the picture. Think about all of the impromptu potluck parties you get invited to this time of year. A rosé would be the perfect companion to just about every summertime side dish you can think of. Rosés are the very definition of summer! They are easy-going, fun, light, fruit-forward with refreshing acidity that make it perfect for a summer sipper that works with many types of cuisine. They are also very affordable, many roses at your local wine shop range in the $15-$20 price point.

Rosés range from bone dry to sweet, so there is something for everyone’s palate. Some of my favorite dry rosés come from Provence, France, but I am absolutely loving some of the local options we have right here in Virginia.

Here’s my top 10 list of must-try Virginia rosés this summer (in alphabetical order).

  1. Barboursville Vintage Rosé – An elegant dry rosé made from a blend of Cabernet Franc, Barbera and Nebbiolo with aromas of summer ripe stone fruit. Pair with a charcuterie board. SRP: $14.95
  2. Breaux Rosé – A blend of three grapes are used in this dry rose. Tantalizing aromas of red berries, cherry and citrus zest dance in your glass. Pair with baked brie and fresh berries. SRP: $18
  3. Chatham Vineyards Rosé An off-dry wine made from Cabernet Franc and Merlot has notes of juicy red berries and white peach and a kiss of residual sugar for those of you that like a hint of sweetness in your rosé. Pair with succulent sweet crab cakes from the Chesapeake Bay. SRP: $18
  4. Chrysalis Vineyards Sarah’s Patio Red – The semi-sweet rosé made from the Norton grape (America’s forgotten grape), boasts juicy aromas of ripe berry and tart cherry. It’s perfection paired with a strawberry, rhubarb pie. SRP: $17
  5. CrossKeys Vineyards Fiore Rosé – The off-dry 2015 vintage is made from Chambourcin and Cabernet Franc. The lusciously sweet berry and vibrant graperfruit notes are perfection with a fennel, feta and citrus salad. SRP: $19.50
  6. Early Mountain Vineyards Rosé – This dry fruit-forward Merlot based rosé boasts aromas of strawberry, melon, peach and a hint of sweet anise. It’s perfection with goat cheese rolled in Herbs de Provence. SRP: $24
  7. King Family Vineyards Croset Rosé – A dry Merlot based rosé with citrus notes of ruby red grapefruit, cherry, watermelon and lime.Refreshing on its own or enjoy with watermelon and feta salad. SRP: $19.95
  8. Stinson Vineyards Rosé A complex and graceful dry rosé made in the southern France tradition using the Mourvedre grape. Juicy summer ripe watermelon and strawberries are followed by a hint of herbaceousness and smoke. Pair with smoked salmon. SRP: $20.99
  9. Trump Vineyards Sparkling Rosé – Whether you are a Republican, Democrat or Independent, all of our palates can agree on a delicious sparkling rosé when we taste it! This is such a delightful, crisp and refreshing sparkling wine made from 100% estate grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This is the perfect brunch wine, think lemon-ricotta pancakes with fresh berries or a delicious frittata. SRP: $32
  10. Veritas Vineyards Rosé – A juicy, fruit-forward, dry rosé made from Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes. Pack a bottle of this for your next picnic to serve with a great cheese & charcuterie board. SRP: $18

For more sips, tips and perfect pairings, join my exclusive membership to my online learning community for only$7.95/month.

Cheers,
Crystal