It was a cloudy, overcast day when we jumped in the Safari Wagon and began the hunt through the beautiful Virginia Countryside. We had been to all of these wineries before but wanted to rate the wines so we made a return trip.
The first stop on the safari was Vint Hill Winery. Vint Hill does not grow their own grapes they focus more on teaching wine making.
We met Andrew our wine host and he was happy to discuss the wines and history of the property. It has an interesting past so you may want to stop by for a tasting and hear this interesting story. If you are a wine label collector they have some very unique ones. Something happened with my camera and none of my pictures of Vint Hill except the one of Andrew took. I borrowed the other photos from the web site:
(Description taken from the web site)
Phillips Falk Sauvignon Blanc – Aromas of crisp green apple on the nose and palate. Refreshing wine that pairs well with seafood.
Safari Guide 1 – Apple mouth, very refreshing. Rate 3+
Safari Guide 2 – Very acidic with a nice finish. Rating 3
Vint Hill Chardonnay – This medium bodied Chardonnay displays hints of peach and pear on the nose. On the palate, mango, peach, pineapple, caramel and a hint of butter.
Safari Guide 1 – Smoky, light buttery mouth. Rate 4
Safari Guide 2 – Light buttery finish. Rating 3+
Vint Hill Viognier – This full bodied Viognier has hints of honeysuckle and citrus on the nose followed with pear, pineapple and a touch of coconut on the palate.
Safari Guide 1 – Mellow, fruity mouth, enjoyable. Rate 3
Safari Guide 2 – Nice citrus fruit finish. Rating 4
Covert Wineworks Misty White Blend – This full bodied white blend has a floral nose followed with peach, apricot and mango on the palate.
Safari Guide 1 – Nice crisp taste. Rate 3
Safari Guide 2 – Has a peach and apricot mouth. Rating 3
Covert Wineworks Bebe Cabernet Franc – This light bodied Cabernet Franc has hints of plum, currants and blueberries on the nose. Dark berries and spice on the palate. Pair with pork, barbeque or pizza.
Safari Guide 1 – Peppery spicy mouth. Rate 3
Safari Guide 2 –Peppery and lightly tannic. Rating 3+
Vint Hill Cabernet Sauvignon – A full bodied Cabernet with big tannic flavors. On the palate, the wine delivers dark berry fruit, currants and ripe fig.
Safari Guide 1 – The big tannic flavors made this a no for Guide 1 but would be wonderful for a red wine lover. Rate 2
Safari Guide 2 – Liked the spike of tannins up front. Rating 4
Covert Wineworks Enigma Red Blend – We have used the best fruit available from CA, VA and WA to create this beautiful red blend. Layers of complex fruit flavors and textures are displayed in this full bodied red wine. What’s in it; is our secret.
Safari Guide 1 – Full bodied but less tannic flavors made this somewhat better for Guide 1. Rate 2+
Safari Guide 2 – Has a mild smooth taste. Rating 4
Covert Wineworks Coco D’Lapporte – Our Port style dessert wine has been infused with roasted cocoa nibs. Coco is rich with dark fruits and hints of chocolate. Pairs nicely with dark chocolate and cheese cake.
Safari Guide 1 – Wonderful, sweet but not over powering with a chocolate mouth. Rate 4+
Safari Guide 2 – Nice chocolate and brandy flavor. Rating 4
We tasted a wonderful′ Rose’ which is not on the web site wine list.
Safari Guide 1 – Light dry rose, very pleasant. Rate 3
Safari Guide 2 –A dry rose with a nice fruit finish. Rating 4
We tasted ten wines and the tasting fee is $10.00. Find out more about Vint Hill at http://www.vinthillcraftwinery.com
Next on the safari was Pearmund Cellars where we were met by our wine host Alex. Alex made us feel right at home as he explained the wines to us.
Later a large group came in and he got busy with them so Diana took over and did a great job of giving us helpful information about the wines we tasted.
Later a large group came in and he got busy with them so Diana took over and did a great job of giving us helpful information about the wines we tasted.
(Description from the web site)
2011 Old Vine Chardonnay – Warm, butter flavor with hints of pear and ripe apple. 100% malolactic fermentation.
Safari Guide 1 – Clean, clear mouth, very nice. The butter flavor makes it a Guide 1 favorite. Rate 4
Safari Guide 2 – Has a stainless steel crispness. Rating 3
2011 Viognier – Sweet and ripe on the palate with apricot, pineapple and mango notes. Long and flavorful finish.
Safari Guide 1 – The smooth finish of this Viognier made is a favorite. Rate 4
Safari Guide 2 – Nice sweet and tart mouth. Rating 3+
2012 Riesling – Fresh and fruity with notes of tangerine and melon with a citrus finish.
Safari Guide 1 – Crisp and fresh. Rate 4+
Safari Guide 2 – Had a different (nice) fruit mouth maybe tangerine. Rating 4
2013 Petit Manseng – A refreshing and crisp, dry white with notes of grapefruit and lemon peel.
Safari Guide 1 – Very pleasing crisp mouth, very enjoyable. Rating 4
Safari Guide 2 – A pine apple mouth and zesty. Rating 3+
2010 Late Harvest Petit Manseng – Harvested at 29 brix and bottled with 6% residual sugar, this wine is a well-balanced dessert wine. Floral with a breeze of honeysuckle on the nose and silky smooth in texture.
Safari Guide 1 – An excellent dessert wine. Rate 4+
Safari Guide 2 – A sweet petit Manseng. Rating 3+
2011 Late Harvest Traminette – Harvested at 29 brix and bottled with 6% residual sugar. The gentle viscosity in this well-balanced wine tickles the palette with hints of vanilla, honey and nut with a sweet spice finish.
Safari Guide 1 – This guide favors Traminette and really enjoyed this one. Rate 4+
Safari Guide 2 – Nice sweetness. Rating 3+
2011 Cabernet Franc – Enjoy the hints of bright raspberry and tart cherry flavors complimented by a light white pepper; leaving with a smooth spicy finish.
Safari Guide 1 – Peppery, spicy finish, usually not a Guide 1 favorite but this was milder. Rate 3
Safari Guide 2 – Light peppery finish not tannic. Rating 3+
2010 Merlot – Reminiscent of fall: ripe cranberry, cherry and a touch of nutmeg with enough gentle tannins to maintain the structure.
Safari Guide 1 – Not a fan of Merlot but this was not bad. Again a red wine drinker would love it. Rate 2+
Safari Guide 2 – Not too tannic with a smooth finish. Rating 3+
2011 Cabernet Sauvignon – Rich black currant, black cherry and toasted wood make this Cabernet hearty despite its lighter body. A velvety finish with lingering flavor enhances its drinkability.
Safari Guide 1 – Low Tannic flavor made this drinkable for Guide 1. Rate 3
Safari Guide 2 – Nice spicy finish. Rating 3+
2011 Petit Verdot – This opulent wine brims with beautiful flavors of blackberry and deep earth. The deep garnet extraction is intense like its unique bouquet and flavor.
Safari Guide 1 – Dry, tart, enjoyable for a red wine. Rate 3
Safari Guide 2 – Not my favorite grape. Very tannic. Rating 3
2010 Ameritage – Our blend of classic Bordeaux varietals: 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 15% Malbec and 15% Merlot. Smooth, rich and superbly balanced.
Safari Guide 1 – Nice, drinkable wine. Rate 3
Safari Guide 2 – A nice Bordeaux style wine. Mild in taste. Rating 3
2010 Ameritage Reserve – Equal portions of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot this hearty, full-bodied red is as powerful as it is smooth.
Safari Guide 1 – Enjoy all the red wines, which is unual for Guide 1. This was nice also. Rate 3
Safari Guide 2 – Liked this one better. Rating 4
We tasted twelve wines and the tasting fee was $10.00. Get directions and read more about this great winery at http://www.pearmundcellars.com
The hunt continued to the elegant Chateau O’Brien at Northpoint Winery. The vista from this winery is spectacular. We will come back soon to drink the wine and take in the scenery.
Our wine host Alysa greeted us and explained the wines.
(The description is from the web site)
2011 Pinot Grigio – Our carefully selected vine stock plant material originates from Italy, providing an ideal match to our warm Virginia climate. Crisp, bright, and refreshing – this early season white is fermented and aged exclusively in stainless steel – expressing premium varietal character – with a degree of bottle aging to fill out the body and complexity potential derived from our mountainside soils at the Northpoint Vineyard.
Safari Guide 1 – Citrus, fruity mouth, very good. Rate 4
Safari Guide 2 – Stainless steel crispness. Rating 3
2009 Virginia Chardonnay – A premier selection of the finest barrels in the 2007 vintage. This wine brilliantly expresses the varietal character of the Chardonnay grape in the elegant style of classic Virginia Chardonnay, and goes on to generously, but respectfully, integrate the structural and flavor influence acquired from being aged for 10 months in 100% new French Oak barrels. Attention is given to vanilla and toasted oak, while expressing subtleties of coffee and hazelnut. (Reserve Wine)
Safari Guide 1 – Light buttery mouth, made it a favorite for Guide 1. Rate 4
Safari Guide 2 – Light oakey and buttery mouth. Rating 4
2009 Northpoint Rosé – Served well-chilled our authentically made Northpoint Rose is a refreshingly delicate dry wine with hints of strawberry, citrus, and peach laced fruit.
Safari Guide 1 – Crisp clear mouth, very nice. Rate 4
Safari Guide 2 – A dry rose with a strawberry mouth and finish Rating 3
2011 Petit Manseng – A full bodied white wine, erupting with crisp yet concentrated fruit expression, and offering a lingering yet clean finish. Petit Manseng is truly at home in the Northern Virginia climate, ripening latest among the white varietals, under ideal cool conditions conducive to full development of body and flavor. (Reserve Wine)
Safari Guide 1 – Dry finish, enjoyable. Rate 4
Safari Guide 2 – A sweet start and a crsip finish. Rating 4
2009 Virginia Apple Wine – Our apple dessert wine is a full-bodied, elegant wine that captures the essence of apples at their peak of fall ripeness. Made of apples grown and hand-selected from our neighboring Northpoint orchards, the wine is crisp with delineated flavors and possesses lush aromas of vibrant ripe apples.
Guide 1 – No sugar is added to this wine so it is sweet but not over powering. Apple wine is a favorite of Guide 1 and this one is up there with the best of them. Rate 4+
Guide 2 – Sweet nice start a little syrupy on the finish. Rating 4+
After the white wine tasting we moved into another room to taste the red wines with Tony, the wine host. Guide 1 decided to skip the red wine tasting so the review will only be from Guide 2.
2009 Malbec Cellar Collection – Our Malbec is a medium-bodied wine with complex aromas of plum and fig, a velvety soft texture, and remarkable fruit flavor. This wine reveals both distinctive elegance and depth of a Malbec. Only 65 cases produced. (NEW RELEASE – Reserve Wine) (This description is for the 2010 Malbec)
Guide 2 – Light peppery and light bodied. Rating 3
2010 Cabernet Franc Cellar Collection – The 2010 Cabernet Franc Cellar Collection is intriguing and inspiring. This dark and lush red shows how well this grape matches the Virginia terroir. Smooth, round, and delightfully complex, this wine is a glorious example of the potential of Cabernet Franc. After two years in French Oak Barrels, it is now ready for your wine cellar. Supplies are extremely limited so don’t wait! (Reserve Wine)
Guide 2 – Slightly tannic and smooth. Rating 4
2010 Petit Verdot – Though traditionally viewed as a blending varietal, this single varietal Petit Verdot will leave your palate begging for more. This wine exudes abudant structure, lingering dark rich ripe fruit, and broad tannins. (Reserve Wine)
Guide 2 – Nice floral nose. Light tannins. Rating 3
2009 NORTPOINT RED CELLAR COLLECTION – Expression of Bordeaux Blend in Virginia Terroir. The best wine we have produced during this remarkable year, both in depth and volume.
Guide 2 – Very nice Bordeaux style wine. Rating 4
We tasted five wines in the white wine tasting and it was $8.00. The red wine is four wines and the fee is $15.00. More on Chateau O’Brien at http://chateauobrien.com
Fox Meadow Winery
We made a return trip to Fox Meadow Winery and again the view is absolute fantastic.
We met Bob our wine host and we were his first customers on his first day as a wine host. Bob did a great job of telling us about the wines.
(Description is from the web site)
2013 FMV Le Renard Gris – Elegant crushed sweet citrus rind aromas marry in this austere wine. Pineapple and grapefruit dominate on the palate and the firm acidity makes this a great sipping wine or one for food pairings. If you like premium Sauvignon Blanc’s get a load of this joy of a blend!
Safari Guide 1 – Citrus mouth and it was paired with mango chutney. Very good wine and chutney. Rate 3+
Safari Guide 2 – On the dry side and the pairing was great. Rating 3
2013 FMV Pinot Gris – Crushed, ripe, pink grapefruit rind aroma and flavor dominate from the aromatics through to the long, lingering, zippy finish. The elegance, richness and complexity of this wine go well beyond a typical Pinot Gris. Honeysuckle and tropical mango nuance delicately sneak into the background to round out this enjoyable, premium treasure.
Safari Guide 1 – Zippy finish is a good description. Enjoyed. Rate 3+
Safari Guide 2 – On the dry side but very nice. Rating 4
2013 Blue Mountain Mist– A joyful and playful wine. Zesty / lively / full of flavors and life. Racy bold melon aromas follow a citrus, tropical, honeydew palate. Tangerine, tangelo and star fruit lead on the finish. Easy drinking fun wine!
Safari Guide 1 – A hint of sweetness. Very nice. Rate 3+
Safari Guide 2 – A nice sweetness on the finish. Rating 4
2011 FMV Merlot-Black cherry marmalade, luscious Raspberry tones and a deep rich ripe Damson fruit build on the aromatics with a balance of quality toasty oak and vanilla tones. Cleanly crafted to focus on the fruit with flirty nuances of cocoa, blackberry, truffles and licorice. A home grown hand sorted fruit wine gem made with family care and distinction.
Safari Guide 1 – Guide 1 is not a fan of Merlot. Rate 2+
Safari Guide 2 – Nice mellow taste. Rating 4
2011 Cabernet Franc Reserve – Layers of outstanding Bing cherry, pureed blueberry and stewed damsons prevail followed by nuances of cinnamon and mocha aromas. A refined palate boasts deep bright and rich flavors of black cherry and exotic blueberry framed in a sweet vanilla and cigar box nuance distraction. Delightful !
Safari Guide 1 – Not for this Guide. Rate 2
Safari Guide 2 – Very spicy. Rating 3+
2011 FMV Le Renard Rouge (Meritage) – Mountain grown richness and elegance, our signature. Blackberry, rich cherry, deep dark fig, sweet tobacco, black cherry, white chocolate, black pepper, minerality, toasty oak, licorice, coffee, peppermint and vanilla. This handcrafted gem will gently and completely knock the sock off anyone. Rich, elegant, savvy and suave.
Safari Guide 1 – To red wine for this guide but great for a red wine lover. Rate 2
Safari Guide 2 – Nice blackberry mouth and not to tannins. Rating 3+
We tasted six wines and the fee was $10.00. Learn more about Fox Meadow at http://foxmeadowwinery.com
On our way home we stopped by to visit our friends at Hiddencroft and the patio with fire pit is finished and looking fantastic. Had a glass of sangria and it was very tasty.