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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Crafty Wine Dog Finds New Virginia Gems


Virginia Wine & Craft Festival
Front Royal, Virginia

Munchkin traveled incognito on Saturday for the Virginia Wine & Craft Festival, a wonderful street festival centered around Front Royal's Gazebo. GRR to festival organizers for the "no pets" policy – the Wine Dogs, of course, get a pass as working press.
And our favorite Yorkie certainly did work. As she made her way up and down the town’s historic Main Street, Munchkin was a pup with a purpose -- her mission, to sniff out the best CabFranc of the festival, with luck a new gem to add to her cellar.
An early stop at Unicorn Winery found two standouts – the '05 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon were the stuff of pure fantasy – but no Cab Franc.
Indeed, Virginia’s signature CabFranc and Viognier grapes were in surprisingly short supply.
Many of the vintners brought their fruit wines, which were a tad on the sweet side for Munchkin's sophisticated palate. She did, however, find a number of pleasant surprises and made lots of new friends.

The Kluge Estate’s bubbly Blanc de Blanc tickled Munchkin’s fancy (and her nose). The winery also produced a spectacular Rose’, as did Bill Gadino with his dry Moonrise Blush, a two-Cab blend (Franc and Sauv). Munchkin is waiting for Pomeroy’s input to decide which to take to the beach this summer.
Chateau Morrisette was tasting their impressive Liberty, also a Cab Sauv/Cab Franc blend. It is one of a series of dog-labeled wines unleashed by the folks whose mascot, the Black lab Zulu Petals, is the reigning Wine Dog of the Year.
Cooper Vineyards had an outstanding Merlot (and a reminder that Lucy's Weekend is coming up May 29-30).

Munchkin found good examples of her favorite varietal at a couple of familiar locations -- Rebec Vineyards (along with a perfect Pinot Noir) and North Mountain (who had a great Chambourcin).
But it was trusty Wine Dog friend Rappahannock Cellars with the paws down favorite Cabernet Franc (we’ll be sipping on the deck listening to Robbie over Memorial Day weekend). No wonder owner John DelMare looked so content when he was spotted taking in the festival with part of his pack!

Munchkin did uncover a couple of new wineries to put on the Wine Dogs visit list. San Soucy Vineyards was tasting an excellent Viognier and Tempranillo. Wine Dog Cab (their Black Lab) will be hosting a Bark and Wine Festival on June 26.

The other gem was tiny Spring Creek Wine Cellar in Pamplin City, Virginia. Gene and Evelyn McCluney have a true farm winery. They produce 300 cases of wine totally from grapes grown in their vineyard. All are pure varietals (no blending).

Munchkin was so excited about her discoveries she stopped at a conveniently placed desk along the street (with a glass of wine, of course) to write Pomeroy about her finds. A special thanks to Uncle Jeff for filling in as guest photographer.

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