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The internet bring folks together—instantly. Across the world, folks Facebook, Tweet and otherwise blog about everything going on in their lives; fortunately many of them are imbibing at the time. What are some of Virginia's top bloggers enjoying at the moment? Two of them—J. D. Humphreys and Warren Richard—share their current Virginia wine finds with VWL:
The baked garlicky penne was the perfect companion to Horton's "The Tower Series" Norton 2007. My meal concluded with a delicate fruit-topped panna cotta that played very nicely together. I was first introduced to Horton's Norton during my visit to Horton Vineyards years ago on a Saturday wine excursion with friends. While blazing through the extensive wine list, I concluded it was robust red (Virginia) wines I preferred most, characteristics I cherish in Horton's Norton. Native to Virginia since the 1820s, owner Dennis Horton reintroduced Norton to a skeptical wine market in the early 1990s. This masterpiece is a regular visitor (that doesn't stay long) in my wine rack.
On pour, Horton's Norton is a deep rich maroon purple with a thin ruby halo on the brim that remains opaque even when just a few sips remain in the glass. A swirl and sniff, after decanting, gives a preview of what you're about to experience—spicy with dark fruit aromas and oak. Sipping reveals further notes of black currants, tart cherries with the spicy, dry oak finish that has a tendency to gently tickle the sinuses when sipped too fast. Red wine drinkers should rejoice while strict white wine drinkers would find it intimidating.
Not only does Norton pair well with Italian dishes, its spicy character would pair beautifully with rabbit or venison, making it ideal for post-Thanksgiving meals. By itself, very apropos to savor next to the fire after a day of holiday shopping and festivities.
When the weather transitions to cooler temperatures, I tend to favor heavier dishes that feature beef and pork. I also take stock of the bolder Virginia wines that have been resting on my wine rack. So on the first brisk autumn evening, I decided to plan a meal that would be complemented by the 2007 Petit Verdot from Linden Vineyards.
I sampled this gem at Linden Vineyards' barrel tasting and was impressed enough to purchase a bottle upon its release. My wine selection always depends on food, and on this particular evening my menu included filet mignon seasoned with cracked pepper and fresh thyme leaves served with a side of roasted potatoes. A simple meal to be sure yet elegant with spicy, earthy flavors; I wanted the wine to be likewise elegant and flavorful. My search of the wine rack ended when I grabbed this selection from Linden Vineyards.
The 2007 vintages were the product of an optimal growing season of cool nights and hot dry days that resembled California rather than Virginia, so I anticipated a more fruit forward wine. Dense in color, the 2007 Petit Verdot presented a nose of dark plums and currants, dried herbs, and mocha; in the mouth, rich dark plum flavors finished with a spicy edge. With the pepper-crusted beef and roasted potatoes tossed with herbs, the wine was a perfect match.
As the cooler seasons hold sway, why not consider a favorite Virginia red wine? I can recommend the 2007 Petit Verdot from Linden Vineyards.
Bloggers Imbibe is a new column featuring opinions from well-respected wine bloggers from across the state who focus on Virginia vino. —PEH
For more articles, see the Winter 2010 issue of Virginia Wine Lover magazine.