Sunday, May 13, 2012

Philip Carter Winery

 You may not know this, but Virginia has some really world class wineries.  There 206 wineries in Virginia, basically running in a line along the edge of the Shenandoah Mountains.  Seventy-one of them are within about a one hour drive from our home.  Because of the seasons we experience here, Virginia produces a wine much more in the style of European wines that the very fruity wines that you get from California, where they have a much more consistent temperature and rainfall.

Baby Grapes
It's difficult to produce wine here.  They started growing grapes here 400 years ago.  Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both had vineyards and never produced a single bottle.  You have to survive the winter, the potential for an early spring followed by a sudden frost (which is what happened this year), pests, animals, and then harvesting all the fruit before it freezes again.
This weekend, we drove out to Hume, VA to visit Philip Carter Winery.  We got a Travelzoo voucher for a guided tour of the winery, a tasting of seven wines, picnic with cheese, meat and chocolate, souvenir glasses and a 10% discount on whatever wine we purchased.  We bought a bottle of Viognier, a grape that I had never heard of until I moved here.  Last year, the viognier was named Virginia's official state grape.  Viognier grapes make a dryish white wine and Philip Carter's wine has flavors of lemongrass, citrus and tropical fruits.  Their Viognier is aged in stainless steel, which I much prefer over oak-y wines, like chardonnays.  This bottle is going to be great with Maryland blue crab latter this summer.

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