There are wine clubs, and there are wine clubs, but the Wine Dogs have found few compare to the Wine Club at Rappahannock Cellars, where Munchkin is in her fifth year of membership.
On Saturday, the Munchkin and Pomeroy joined fellow Wine Club members at the club’s Progressive Soup Party. That's the special thank you that proprietor John Delmare hosts every year for Wine Club members.
Marketing Director Allan Delmare runs the 850-member club, and Kelly Delmare, Rappahannock’s tasting room manager, was responsible for the event. “It’s a great gift to have your son and daughter come back and engage in the business,” their proud papa said, admitting “It is a lot more fun to come to work every day.”
Even the youngest of the 12 Delmare pups (nine girls and three boys) got involved as daughters Grace, Sophia, and Maura saw that check-in ran smoothly and kept tables supplied with bread.
The complimentary wine starts flowing as soon as guests arrive at the soup event (this year’s selections, the Noblesse Blanc and North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon). A four course meal follows, with soup and wine paired to perfection.
The Wine Dogs agreed that the Chardonnay was an excellent complement to the rich Champagne Brie soup (a perennial favorite), and the New World Red balanced nicely with the Spicy Black Bean and Italian Sausage soup. But the Chapelle Charlemange Cab Franc, paired with Wild Rice and Mushroom soup, stole the show, earning a full eight paws up.
Fresh baked pecan cookies and the amber-hued Solara finished the meal.
Wine Club members also get a taste of what’s happening in the vineyard and the barrel room at the soup event.
Winemaker Jason Burrus said the buzz around Virginia this year is excellent grapes courtesy of the drought, producing high-quality/high alcohol wine. He expects the stars of 2010 to be the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Viognier (2009 is definitely the year for Cab Franc, Jason says, and the winemaker says he’s bottling a Glenway Vineyard CF and “it is divine”).
Big wines weren’t the only big news at this year's event. Wine Club members Rob and Lynn had their first date at Rappahannock Cellars two-and-a-half years ago; on Saturday, Rob popped the question (and the cork); Lynn said yes; and the happy couple will probably hold their wedding at Rappahannock as well.
Membership has its privileges, as Pomeroy knows.
Rappahannock has a club room where Members can bring guests for complimentary tastings or a glass of wine (is Munchkin drunk under the table?).
The Wine Dogs love the special Members-only section of the deck, where the paw-ty never stops. You never know who is going to pop up (or pop out, as this Wine Club member did to hear Robbie Limon play).
Wine Club members get discounts on wine and first notification to all events held at Rappahannock Cellars. Munchkin and Pomeroy highly recommend the Barrel Tastings with Jason and Vineyard Manager Tom Kelly. That’s where the Wine Dogs’ began to train their sensitive canine noses and sophisticated little palates to fully appreciate the great grape.
So how can you join the club? Just buy two bottles of yummy Rappahannock Cellars wine every month at a 15 percent discount, and you're in. That's right. No membership fees, and unlike a cellphone contract, you can cancel whenever you like with no penalty.
The club is exceptionally flexible. If like Munchkin your palate runs to reds, you can go red-only - or just swap out the white when the mood strikes you (a woman's prerogative and all). Don't like sweet wines - substitute.
Rappahannock will ship your monthly selections, but why pass up an excuse to visit Virginia Wine Country and pick up your wine personally. Perhaps you'll run into your favorite Wine Dogs there.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
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