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A Close Look at the Wines of The Williamsburg Winery

The Author at the Winery with the Wines

Last year we celebrated Independence Day by attending the Blues, Brews, and BBQ Party at the Williamsburg Lodge.  Rather thunderstorms rolled in, everything was cancelled, and then we returned to our hotel rooms.  It was not a complete disaster as I was surprised by the wines poured: 2006 Williamsburg Winery, Governor’s White and 2003 Williamsburg Winery, Arundell, Cabernet Sauvignon.  They were actually rather decent!  Thus on my inaugural visit to The Williamsburg Winery I knew I had to purchase some older vintages to try along with more current selections.

After participating in a Basic Tasting I stopped by the wine store to purchase six bottles.  Both the online and winery stores maintain an extensive list of older vintages.  There are bottles of Chardonnay back to 1988 which one may buy and Cabernet Sauvignon back to 1989.  I tried to balance vintage strength against affordability in coming up with my six bottle selection.  The 1994 and 1995 vintages were produced by former winemaker Steve Warner.  The 2005 and 2007 vintages were produced by current winemaker Matthew Meyer.

2007 – The best year I have witnessed in Virginia so far.  The growing conditions were perfect with little to no rain during harvest.  The total rain fall for August-October was approximately 9.5 inches.  Rating – Exceptional

2005 – An excellent year for both red and whites.  The rains held off during crush and we had consistent temperatures throughout the growing season.  Rating – Excellent

1995 – A dry, hot summer.  Bold ripe fruit.  Not as complex as 1997.  Rating – Excellent

1994 – Some rain through summer.  elegant Whites.  Well-structured Reds.  Rating – Very Good

Excerpted from A Review Of Past Vintages, The Williamsburg Winery

This week we gathered at Lou’s house to taste the wines and I suppose to also swim in the pool and eat.  Lou is curious so he promptly agreed to let me provide the red wines blind.  The 2005s and 2007s were double-decanted at my house and had 1.5 hours of air before tasting.  The 1994 and 1995 were decanted at Lou’s house  and had 15 minutes of air before they were tasted.

The 1994 and 1995 were completely past prime and barely drinkable which is a shame given the price of the 1995.  The 2007 vintage with its increased flavors does appear to be a step above the 2005.  Both of these vintages improved with air and I believe smelled their best on the second day.  My favorite wine was the 2007 Trianon which struck the best balance of dark fruit, acidity, and structure for near term development.  The flavors of the 2007 Merlot Reserve are richer than the 2005, but the 2007 has ample tannic structure requiring short-term aging.

While we got settled in we started off with a white wine which Lou poured blind.  Weygandt Wines had a few bottles of this so Lou picked one up to try.  Amazingly, Adriene guessed it was made of Roussanne!  I thought it was a Chardonnay from Jura.

2004 Alban Vineyards, Roussanne, Edna Valley – $30
The color was vibrant golden straw.  The nose was oxidative at first then it blew off to reveal finely textured apple orchard notes with underlying aromas of delicate tropical fruit.  In the mouth there was good texture, lightly creamy at first then oily, with some tannic notes.  The flavors expand in the mouth with a refreshing finish.  There was lots of salivating acidity in this balanced,  fully mature wine.  This opened up nicely over an hour.  *** Now-2014.

1994 Williamsburg Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon – (375 mL) $6
This wine was aged for 12 months in oak.  This was a light+ brick color which looked aged!  The nose was minty fresh, a touch underripe.  In the mouth the hard red fruit was dried out followed by a minty aspect.  There was a little bit of watery acidity and some texture.  Not Rated, Past.

1995 Williamsburg Winery, Merlot Reserve – $48
This wine was aged for 12 months in oak.  The color was lighter than the 1994 and was tawny.  There was an old, musty nose.  Perhaps a bit more body but musty flavors with old perfume in the aftertaste.  Not Rated, Past.

2005 Williamsburg Winery, Merlot Reserve – $28
This wine is 100% Merlot which was fermented in stainless steel with a proportion undergoing malolactic fermentation.  It was aged for 18 months in French and American oak.  Alcohol 12.8% vol, pH 3.61, TA 6.07 g/L.  The color is a medium, ruby purple.  The tight nose starts off a little foxy then eventually takes on higher-toned red fruit.  In the mouth there is a good smooth body which is a little racy.  The flavors are a bit mouthfilling with flavors of cherry and some wood.  There was a little bit of heat on the first night in the aftertaste.  This shows structure at this point with fine+ grippy tannins which are starting to resolve. ** Now-2015.

2005 Williamsburg Winery, Trianon – $36
This wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet Franc, 10% Petite Verdot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon which was fermented in stainless steel with a proportion undergoing malolactic fermentation.  It was aged for 18 months in French and American oak.  Alcohol 12.7% vol, pH 3.59, TA 5.55 g/L.  The color is a light to medium ruby.  The light fresh nose reveals greenhouse aromas and a pepper note.  In the mouth the drier red fruit follows the nose with more tannins and some dark red fruit.  With air the red berries take on brighter and higher-toned flavors.  There is a fair amount of structure and fine drying tannins. * Now-2015.

2007 Williamsburg Winery, Merlot Reserve – $28
This wine is a blend of 88% Merlot and 12% Petit Verdot which was fermented in stainless steel with a proportion undergoing malolactic fermentation.  It was aged for 18 months in French and American oak.  Alcohol 12.7% vol, pH 3.72, TA 5.66 g/L.  The color is a medium+ purple ruby.  The light nose has more berry nose and with air fresh-cut grass.  In the mouth there is an old perfume note, greenhouse notes, and a touch more concentration than the 2005.  It is a somewhat savory with a bit more richness, plenty of structure along with ample fine drying tannins and wood box notes in the aftertaste.  With air the flavors tilt towards cranberry.  ** Now-2017.

2007 Williamsburg Winery, Trianon – $32
This wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot which was fermented in stainless steel with a proportion undergoing malolactic fermentation.  It was aged for 18 months in French and American oak.  Alcohol 13.7% vol, pH 3.83, TA 5.96 g/L. The color is a medium ruby purple.  The light to medium nose has a strange scent at first but then takes on red berries and oak.  The mouth follows the nose and is a touch savory with good flavors which expand in the mouth.  The dark fruit, wood box, and a drying aftertaste. ** Now-2018.

Tasting Wine At the Williamsburg Winery

July 27, 2012 1 comment

After our Independence Day holiday at Colonial Williamsburg we stopped by The Williamsburg Winery.  The 320 acre estate is located only several miles from Colonial Williamsburg next to the James River.  Purchased in 1983 by Patrick and Peggy Duffeler planted Chardonnay, Seyval Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon from 1985-1988.  In the early 2000s those vines were pulled up to allow planting in 2003 of different clones of Merlot, Vidal Blanc, Petit Verdot, and Traminette.  Most recently Viognier was planted in 2009 with Cabernet Franc and Malbec in 2010.  There are now some 50 acres of vineyards.  The estate produces wine from mostly estate fruit but also sources from 12 vineyards in Monticello and Loudon County.

With the Reserve Tasting fully booked we decided to do the basic tasting.  At the low-end the 2009 Arundel,Cabernet Sauvignon is both approachable and affordable.  In the mid-range the 2010 Acte 12, Chardonnay gets a floral boost from the addition of Traminette and should appeal to many.  The 2006 Gabriel Archer Reserve reveals tangy, cranberry flavors which are focused and chewy.

2011 Williamsburg Winery, Dry Rose – $12
This wine is a blend of 94% Merlot, 3% Traminette, and 3% Vidal Blanc.  There was a very berry nose.  In the mouth the tart red fruit flavors were very dry with high acidity, perhaps a touch of tannins, and a decent finish.

2010 Williamsburg Winery, Acte 12, Chardonnay – $18
This is a blend of 97% Chardonnay and 3% Traminette which includes non-estate fruit.  It was primarily barrel-fermented and aged.  The richer yellow nose contained some floral hints and ripeness.  In the mouth it was moderately fresh with some tart fruit, some wood notes, and a bit of weight.

2010 Williamsburg Winery, Traminette – $18
This is 100% Traminette which was sourced from estate vineyards.  It was fermented in stainless steel then aged in French oak barrels.  The nose was very floral with tropical aromas and sweet honey.  There is a touch of residual sugar followed by tea notes mixed with yellow fruit.  The black tea aspect is a bit heavy.

2009 Williamsburg Winery, Arundel, Cabernet Sauvignon – $11
This wine is blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.5% Cabernet Franc, and 12.5% Petit Verdot which was aged for 6-9 months in American and French oak barrels.  The nose reveals greenhouse aromas with pepper notes.  In the mouth the tight red berries make way to some blue notes.  This is very approachable with mild tannins and a slightly racy aftertaste.

2007 Williamsburg Winery, Burgesses’ Measure, Merlot – $15
This is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon which was aged primarily in wood.  The nose reveals greenhouse aromas with perhaps clove.  In the mouth the tart red fruit shows more focus with obvious but nice tannins.  There is old-school perfume in the dry finish.

2006 Williamsburg Winery, Gabriel Archer Reserve – $26
This is a blend of 34% Cabernet Franc, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, and 6% Petit Verdot.  The nose is light but reveals darker fruit.  In the mouth the cranberry and tart red fruit flavors are integrated with acidity.  The wine is tangy and a little bit chewy.  This showed the most focus.

NV Williamsburg Winery, Vin Licoreaux de Framboise – $18
This is a blend of red wine and raspberry juice.  The raspberry nose works well. In the mouth the are tart, pure raspberry flavors which are completely puckering.  Interesting but very hard to drink.  As suggested, best drizzled on things.

Reexamining Three Wines from Tarara Winery

When I tasted through the wines at Tarara Winery the pours were generous enough for me to develop reasonable tasting notes.  I certainly enjoyed tasting them and quickly decided I wanted Jenn to try them. I even thought it would be fun to surprise a few friends with glasses of the white wines and they too rather enjoyed them.  My favorite was the 2011 Boneyard White which should drink for a few years but its vibrancy is great right now.  The 2010 Charval is seductive and should be drunk this year.  The 2010 Boneyard Red has good components but requires a few years of age for them to integrate together. It is pretty cool to see both Petit Manseng and Pinotage included in these wines but it is more fun to taste them.  If you are curious about Virginian wine then definitely check out Tarara.  The prices are very reasonable too.  I look forward to trying the single-vineyard wines.

2011 Tarara Winery, Boneyard White – $15
This wine is a blend of 42% Chardonnay, 28% Viognier, and 19% Petit Manseng of which 90% was fermented in stainless steel and 10% in neutral French oak. The Chardonnay underwent malolactic fermentation and the wine was blended after three months. It was cold and heat stabilized.  For detailed information please look here.  The color is a light yellow and straw.  The light nose reveals gravelly white fruit.  In the mouth the flavors are vibrant on the tongue with lively acidity, and a touch of yeast that mixes with the white and yellow fruit.  The middle reveals a creamy mouthfeel and minerals before the lightly sweet tropical fruit in the finish.  *** Now-2014.

2010 Tarara Winery, Charval – $20
This wine is a blend of 65% Chardonnay, 15% Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Petit Manseng, and 7% Viognier. The majority of the fruit was fermented in stainless steel with approximately one barrel of each in oak. Fermentation was with a combination of indigenous and commercial yeasts. After six months the barrels and tanks were blended then cold and heat stabilized followed by filtering.  For detailed information please look here.  This vintage was fermented to dryness. The nose reveals white peaches and nectarines.  In the mouth there are flavors of focused white fruit and a touch of minerality all delivered with a very round mouthfeel.  The white, floral fruit continues in  a lush manner through the long aftertaste where gentle spices are left on the tongue with the tiniest barrel note.  Though there is a soft personality there is enough acidity to keep things moving.  ** Now-2013.

2010 Tarara Winery, Boneyard Red – $15
This wine is a blend of 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 21% Petit Verdot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 11% Tannat, and 5% Pinotage. The maceration lasted 37 days, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation, and was aged for 16 months in 20% new and 80% second and third use Virginia Oak.  For detailed information please look here.  There is a light+ nose of lifted black fruit, greenhouse aromas, and a touch of toast.  In the mouth the fruit is ripe but focused with blue fruit then fresh spices.  There is a good mouthfeel with the finish wrapping up with vanilla and sweet spice.  This needs one or two years to come together.  ** 2014-2018.

A Pair of Wines Drunk in Williamsburg

During our annual Independence Day holiday at Colonial Williamsburg I usually try to drink a few different bottles of Virginian wine.  Not personally, rather with my family so that I may hear their remarks.  For our candidates I headed to The Cheese Shop which is conveniently located between historic Colonial Williamsburg and the campus of William & Mary.  The main floor houses a deli in the back of which is located the stairs to the basement wine shop.  The store carries an edited selection of international wines.  I was particularly interested in Virginian wine so the staff recommended the Barboursville wine.  I grabbed the Boxwood because I have read some decent remarks about their wines.  The Barboursville drank quite well upon opening the bottle.  It lets loose is flavors in a manner that should appeal to many and though I wish it were less expensive, it seems to be reasonably price.  The Boxwood seems to require more cellaring so that it will flesh out and reveal its subdued non-fruit flavors.  This should put the bright raspberry and cranberry core into good balance which I suspect will maintain youthfulness.  The Barboursville was the favorite so if you find yourself at The Cheese Shop in Williamsburg then I recommend you try this reasonably priced selection of theirs.

2009 Barboursville Vineyards, Cabernet Franc, Reserve, Orange County – $22
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc from five different clones which was fermented in stainless steel then aged for 14 months in new and used French oak barriques.  A light to medium strength nose of dark red fruit.  In the mouth it is quite open and expansive with red fruit, a tangy aspect, perhaps a touch of toast, and up-front personality.  ** Now-2015 .

2008 Boxwood Estate, Boxwood – $28
This Medoc style wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot sourced from six to eight year old vines.  The fruit is destemmed, fermented in stainless steel then aged for up to 12 months in French oak barrels. There were fresh, lifted and bright red raspberry and cranberry flavors.  Acidity came out towards the back along with fruity tannins, a lifted perfumed finish, and a tight black fruit note.  With air the wine puts on a little weight becomes a little creamy and develops a subtle greenhouse and pepper note. ** Now-2017 .

Visiting Tarara Winery in Loudon County, Virginia

A few weeks ago I received a picture and text from my friend John. He was attending a concert at Tarara Winery where he was really enjoying the 2010 Boneyard red wine. After emailing Frank Morgan, Drink What You Like, I decided I should check it out. John and I recently drove over there in our oppressive summer heat. After immediately breaking out in to a sweat I appreciated walking into the cool underground tasting room. John and I got comfortable at the tasting bar where we tasted through an enjoyable flight of wines. I thought all of the white wines showed remarkably well and are well priced. And The Boneyard red really was enjoyable! I purchased three of the wines I tasted so that Jenn could try them out. These bottles will be featured in a subsequent post.

Tarara Winery was founded in 1989 by Whitie and Margaret Hubert. The almost 500 acre estate is located near Leesburg, Virginia alongside the Potomac River. The estate features vineyards, orchards, a pond, and various buildings and venues. The winery itself is located next to a steep drop off which abuts the flood plain of the Potomac River. From the entrance and deck there are distant views of Sugarloaf Moutain in Virginia. The winery sources fruit from the estate Navaeh Vineyard, the Tranquility Vineyard in Purcellville, the Honah Lee Vineyard in Orange, the Moutainview Vineayard in Roanoke, and the Indian Springs Vineyard in Winchester.

The winery itself is located in a man-made cave. Jordon Harris and Jon Boyle are responsible for the winemaking. The fruit is primarily fermented with indigenous yeasts, though some commercial yeasts are employed to reach dryness. Fermentation occurs with limited temperature control. The wines are aged in mostly Virginia Oak.

2011 Tarara Winery, Boneyard White – $15
This wine is a blend of 42% Chardonnay, 28% Viognier, and 19% Petit Manseng of which 90% was fermented in stainless steel and 10% in neutral French oak. The Chardonnay underwent malolactic fermentation and the wine was blended after three months. It was cold and heat stabilized. The color was a light yellow with green highlights. The nose was ripe with textured white fruit along with floral passionfruit. In the mouth the lively ripe white fruit had good body, nice texture, and good aftertaste.

2011 Tarara Winery, Viognier –
This was a light+ yellow straw color. The good nose was more focused than the Boneyard White. The flavors were very lively with peach notes. The gentle ripeness returned in the finish.

2011 Tarara Winery, Petit Manseng – $23
This wine is 100% Petit Manseng which was fermented in stainless steel. This was a nice light+ yellow color with a straw hint. The nose was focused. In the mouth there was an initial focused burst of fruit followed by an almost creamy mouth feel. Sweet yellow and floral fruit then came out.

2010 Tarara Winery, Charval – $20
This wine is a blend of 65% Chardonnay, 15% Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Petit Manseng, and 7% Viognier. The majority of the fruit was fermented in stainless steel with approximately one barrel of each in oak. Fermentation was with a combination of indigenous and commercial yeasts. After six months the barrels and tanks were blended then cold and heat stabilized followed by filtering. The light nose revealed fresh, crisp white fruit. The flavors started off tart with focus then developed into a luscious mouthfeel with sweet spice flavors. There was an underlying layer of ripe fruit with perhaps a hint of nuts. This was a pleasure to work around the mouth.

2010 Tarara Winery, Long Bomb 4 – $20
This was a light+ garnet color. The medium nose had greenhouse aromas along with pepper. The mouth followed the nose with gentle greenhouse flavors mixed with black cherry. There were mild tannins and old-school perfume in the aftertaste.

2009 Tarara Winery, Long Bomb 3 – $20
This wine is a blend of 88% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. Maceration lasted roughly 21 days, fermentation was with a combination of indigenous and commercial yeasts. It underwent malolactic fermentation and spent 18 months in 84% neutral American oak. This was a touch darker in color compared with the 2010. The medium aromatic nose revealed greenhouse aromas and spearmint. In the mouth the tart black and red fruit mix with a light amount of green house. There was a touch more structure. It tastes like a cooler vintage.

2010 Tarara Winery, Boneyard Red – $15
This wine is a blend of 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 21% Petit Verdot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 11% Tannat, and 5% Pinotage. The maceration lasted 37 days, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation, and was aged for 16 months in 20% new and 80% second and third use Virginia Oak. This medium+ bodied wine was rich with lots of black cherry, black fruit, and Cabernet Franc notes. There were sweet spices and an almost brambly nature in the finish. Drying tannins wrapped things up. Tasty.

2010 Tarara Winery, Late Harvest, Petit Manseng – $30
This was a light+ golden-yellow. The nose revealed some toast and yeast aromas. In the mouth it was very sweet with toast, a little coffee, and a thick presence. There was more sweetness than the acidity bore but the viscous aftertaste was refreshing.

The Author

A Savory and Affordable Virginian Wine

It has been some time since I last drank a wine from Virginia.  This first experience with Veritas Winery was a pleasant surprise.  Veritas Winery was founded by Andrew and Patricia Hodson one decade ago in 2002.  When their daughter Emily completed her Masters in Enology from Virginia Tech she became the estates winemaker.  The selection featured in today’s post is primarily Cabernet Franc sourced from vineyards planted in 2001.  Yields are below four tons per acre.  The vineyards are located at 800 feet on Edneytown soils.  This soil series is located on the ridges and side slopes of the Blue Ridge mountains.  They are granitic soils which are very deep and well-drained.  The vines are old UC Davis Clone 1 planted in rows oriented North-South at a density of 740 plants per acre using cordons with spur pruning.  Andrew commented that in the last five years other vineyards have been planted or replanted with new clones using cane pruning thought to be better adapted.  For comparison they recently planted an acre with three new ENTAV-INRA clones at ~1500 plants per acre.  These clones should bring floral, pepper, and spice components to the wine.   Andrew remarked that 2010 was a great vintage for Cabernet Franc.  They experienced an entire month of above 90 F temperatures resulting in tannic maturity, classic flavors, and splendid color.

Vineyard with Saddleback Mountain, Image from Veritas Winery

This bottle certainly reflects the warmth of the vintage.  While the nose was aromatic from the beginning the mouth really expanded after a few hours of air.  If you are new to Virginian wine or are looking for a daily drinker you will find this wine satisfying.  It delivers pleasure for the nose and mouth at a very attractive price.  Many thanks to Andrew Hodson for enthusiastically answering all of my questions.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2010 Veritas, Cabernet Franc, Monticello – $14
This wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot which was fermented in tank then aged for nine months in 90% French and 10% American oak.  The wine was a medium ruby with garnet highlights in the glass.  The medium strength nose was followed by a mouth of young blue and red fruit.  It rode an initial wave of toast flavors with underlying tart fruit.  With air this wine became a bit savory, mouthfilling, and showed ripe tannins.  While it does not require age, I would decant this for one to two hours before drinking. ** Now-2016.

Brown Bags at Weygandt Wines

December 15, 2011 2 comments

Just Some of the Brown-Bagged Wines

Last night I stopped by at Weygandt Wines for the monthly Food and Wine Bloggers night.  Hosted by Tim O’Rourke with invitations sent out by Joon Song of Vinicultured, the event was attended by several bloggers, people in the business, and many wine lovers.  The theme was a blind tasting and in the end there were 14 bottles of wine sourced from both the store and other places.  I suspect two dozen people rotated through.  To some degree everyone attempted to guess what they were drinking but that did not distract from social, talkative, enjoyment.

I enjoyed the range of wines with the Jean Francois Ganevat, Poulsard being the most unusual experience.  Of the whites I enjoyed the 2010 Gerard & Pierre Morin, Sancerre along with the 2008 Heitz, Sauvignon Blanc.  In terms of the red wines the  2010 Domaine Collotte is of good value, the 2002 Olga Raffault interesting, the 2007 Domaine Dugat-Py, Gevrey Chambertin was very drinkable, the 2009 Domaine les Aphillanthes needs to be revisited, and the 1995 Thunder Mountain was surprisingly good.

I have included my casual tasting notes.  They are presented in the order in which the bottles were numbered but not necessarily tasted.

#1 – 2010 Gerard & Pierre Morin, Vieilles Vignes, Sancerre
This is imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This had a very light color.  There was a light nose, grassy, and textured.  In the mouth there were expansive flavors midpalate, note of stone, and acidity in the back of the mouth.  Attractive. Not Rated.

#2 – 2010 Domaine Collotte, Cuvee de Noble Souche, Burgundy
This is imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  A young color of ruby with purple tinge.  I thought this was Gamay!  The nose had notes of pepper and with time developed a good perfume.  There were some gravelly flavors and fine tannins. Not Rated.

#3 – Jean Francois Ganevat, Poulsard, Cuvee de l’enfant terrible, Cotes du Jura
This is a Jeffrey Alpert Selection.  This was a garnet-orange color.  Fizzy when poured it sported a foxy nose.  Quite unique with piercingly high acidity and citrus notes.  Interesting but not my preference, probably better with food. Not Rated.

#4 – 2002 Olga Raffault, Les Picasses, Chinon
This is imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  It is made from Cabernet Franc grown on soils of limestone and clay.  A garnet color showing some age.  A perfumed nose, good red fruit, some stemmy forest wood flavors. Not Rated.

#5 – 2010 Chateau de la Bonneliere, Rive Gauche, Chinon
This is imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  A grapey color.  Young Cabernet Franc flavors with plenty of supporting acidity. Not Rated.

#6 – 2007 Domaine Dugat-Py, Vieilles Vignes, Gevrey-Chambertin
This is imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  A garnet color.  The slightly earthy nose is richer.  But the body was slight with precise, elegant flavors, tannins, and lots of acidity. Not Rated.

#7 – 2009 Domaine les Aphillanthes, 1921, Cotes du Rhone Villages Rasteau
This is imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is mostly Grenache sourced from a parcel planted in 1921.  A nose of black fruit and some pencil lead.  Very ripe, powdery fruit, a little spice, grapey tannins in finish.  Quite different from the other reds, powerful, I found this overbearing at first but when I revisited it later the wine had shaken off the baby fat and showed structure. Not Rated.

#8 – 2003 Edmunds St. John, Rocks and Gravel
This blend is roughly 35% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 30% Mourvedre.  The nose was quite sweet like a rich vanilla-cake with a dash of spice.  The nose was quite different from the body which was quite restrained. Not Rated.

#9 – 2008 Heitz Cellars, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
This was enjoyable and drinkable with citrus flavors, decent body, and some concentration. Not Rated.

#10 – 1995 Thunder Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bates Ranch, Santa Cruz Mountains
This was an aged garnet color.  A very pretty nose, lifted and complex with mature aromas but it ended with a vegetal note.  In the mouth it was crisp, precise, and had an enjoyable texture.  I thought it was Austrian! Not Rated.

#11 – 2004 Chateau de Valcombe, Prestige, Costieres de Nimes
This is imported by Robert Kacher.  The wine is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache.  I found a nose of old ladies perfume with flavors of wet cardboard and very fine tannins.  I did not like this. Not Rated.

#12 – 2010 Domaine Croix des Marchands, Fraicheur Perlee, Gaillac
This is imported by First Vine.  The wine is a blend of 34% Mauzac, 33% Muscadelle, and 33% Loin de l’Oeil sourced from 30-year-old vines.  Unfortunately, I did not taste this bottle. Not Rated.

#13 – 2004 James Judd & Sons Vineyards, Malbec Verdot, Paso Robles
This is a blend of 75% Malbec and 25% Petite Verdot.  The 2005 was aged for 22 months in American, French, and Hungarian oak barrels.  I found this overblown and hot, not my style. Not Rated.

#14 – 2008 Blenheim Vineyards, Blenheim Farm Petit Verdot, Monticello
This smelled like bleach in my glass.  After I dumped it the glass took on aromas of tobacco and dried herbs. Not Rated.

Joon and Aaron

Wine Related Reproductions from Colonial Williamsburg

John D. Rockefeller Jr. commissioned the first reproductions based on finds from Williamsburg in the 1930s.   Today the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation continues to license museum quality reproductions from a wide variety of manufacturers.  Proceeds from the sales assist in restoration, research, and education.  Some of the earliest productions consisted of three types of furniture to store wine decanters or bottles.

Furniture

Kittinger Furniture was the prime manufacturer of Colonial Williamsburg furniture from the 1930s through 1990.  The first two pieces of furniture mentioned below, CW31 and CW32, were manufactured during the 1930s.

The first piece is the wine case CW31.  This double-tier case hold six bottles or decanters on each tier.  The top tier may be locked to prevent access to the bottom tier.  This was designed to hold wine decanter CW6.

The second piece is the wine cellerate CW32.  The top case contains a divided compartment that holds wine bottles and has a locking lid.  The bottom portion features a slide out serving shelf and a drawer for accessories.  The drawer has a pull handle.

The third piece is the wine cellerate CW162.  This piece is is almost five inches taller than CW32.  It also features knobs instead of a handle on the drawer.  The drawer also locks.

At least four cellarettes are in the Colonial Williamsburg inventory, three of which from the Raleigh Tavern.

  • Raleigh Tavern, Dauphne Room
    40-3251 Cellarette, walnut, American-Southern, late 18th century
    41-3583 Cellarette, walnut, American-Southern, late 18th century
  • Raleigh Tavern, Public Dinning Room
    30-57 Cellarette, applewood, American, c. 1790, Sheraton style, 2 drawers (perhaps CW162?)
  • The Coke-Garrett House, Kitchen, West
    1930-40 Cellarette, walnut and Southern yellow pine, American, 1780-1800.

Glassware

To accompany the wine case and cellarettes the decanter CW6 was licensed by Royal Leerdam Crystal.  They are a Dutch company that has manufactured bottles since 1765.

Wine Decanter CW6, Manufactured by Royal Leerdam Crystal

The Blenko Glass Company of West Virginia manufactured a series of bottles and decanters.  CW40 is a beautiful hexagonal wine bottle that reproduces a bottle from John Greenhow dating to 1770.  It features a bottle seal stamped with, “Jno Greenhow Wmsbg 1770”.  For those who carefully read my earlier posts, you might remember snippets from John Greenhow’s advertisements in the Virginia Gazette from this post.

Wine Bottle CW40, Manufactured by Blenko Glass Company

Wine Bottle CW40, Manufactured by Blenko Glass Company

They also reproduced a beautiful ring-necked decanter CW42 based on a decanter from the Brush-Everard House.

Wine Decanter CW42, Manufactured by Blenko Glass Company

Of course these reproducion bottles and decanters might require a tray to carry them on. To do so, there is Gallery Serving Tray AP12.

Wine Names from Colonial Williamsburg

Virginia Gazette, Publisher Parks, September 04,1746, Page 3, Image from The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Virginia Gazette, Publisher Parks, September 04,1746, Page 3, Image from The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Arrack – A distilled spirit produced through Asia and eastern Mediterranean.
Canary – Sweet Malvasia-based wines from the Spanish islands off the coast of Morocco.
Champaign – Champagne!
Claret – English name for red wines from Bordeaux.
Florence Wine – Wine from Tuscany.
French Coniack – The distilled spirit Cognac.
French White Wine – Not French red wine.
Hock and Old Hock – Wine from the Rhine regions of Germany, a contraction of hockamore which is the English of Hochheimer, meaning wines from Hochheim.
Lisbon and White Lisbon – Wine from Portugal.

Virginia Gazette, Publisher Purdie & Dixon, June 03, 1771, Page 3, Image from The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Virginia Gazette, Publisher Purdie & Dixon, June 03, 1771, Page 3, Image from The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Malmsey – English name for Malvasia, a sweet rich wine from Greece.
Mountain Wine – English name for Malaga, a fortified wine typically made from Pedro Ximenez in northern Spain.
Rennish – Wines from Germany and Alsace.
Sower Wine – Could this be sour wine, which is low-grade wine mixed with some vinegar to prevent it from spoiling?
Tent – English name for Tinto, referring to the strong red wines from Spain and Portugal
Tokay – Long-lived wines from Tokaji, Hungary.

Virginia Gazette, Publisher Purdie & Dixon, August 15,1771, Page 3, Image from The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

The Wine Bottles of Colonial Williamsburg

July 7, 2011 1 comment

Excavation at Wetherburn'sTavern,1965-66

Group of Ten Wine Bottles, 1740-1750, Inside Northwest Corner Kitchen of Wetherburn's Tavern

The Department of Archaeological Research has conducted archaeological excavations throughout Colonial Williamsburg for more than 60 years. Working in conjunction with the College of William & Mary they are curators of the largest Colonial-period archaeological collection in the United States.  All image in this post are sourced from the Colonial Williamsburg research website, unless noted otherwise.

Bottle Shapes by Age

Glass bottles were used to store a variety of beverages, food products, and medicines.  Medicinal bottles are more upright and cylindrical in nature.  Bottles that may look like wine bottles were also used to store non-wine beverages and cherries.  The so-called cherry bottles contained cherry pits and stems.  It is not known if they simply contained cherries, cherries in a liquid, or brandied cherries.  All of these bottles may be used to help date particularly areas of an archaeological excavation.

Beverage Bottles, George Wythe House, 1740-1760

Wine bottles may be identified by country of origin, date, and owner.

Wine Bottles, Shields Tavern, 1730-1760

Some wine bottles contain an applied disc of stamped glass known as a bottle seal. These bottle seals might be stamped with the owner’s name, the year of the bottle, or a coat of arms.

Wine Bottle Seal, Ravenscroft Cellar

Curtis Bottle Seal

Illustration of Bottle Seals, Ravenscroft, circa 1700

This beautiful decanter dates from the same period.

Miniature Madeira Decanter, Wetherburn Tavern, 1755-1765

While this post is concerned with Colonial wine bottles, the excavations reveal all sorts of artifacts.

The excavated wine bottles were used as models for reproduction wine bottles.  Throughout the buildings of Colonial Williamsburg you will find large displays of reproduction wine bottles.

Glasses and Bottles, Butler's Pantry, Governor's Palace, Image by TCTruffin(flickr)

Bottles in Carrier, Butler's Pantry, Governor's Palace, Image by jnshaumeyer(flickr)

Wine Bottles at Shields Tavern, Image by the Author