29 Jul 2011
About an hour outside of Washington DC sits an amazing wine destination to rival those of Sonoma, Napa, Walla Walla and even France. Breaux Vineyards is on 404 acres among the beautiful backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Producing 18 grape varieties and over 10,000 cases of wine, husband wife team, Christopher and Jennifer Blosser (owner’s daughter) oversee the operations of this beautiful facility.
Paul Breaux, a local real estate broker, found himself captivated with the 404 acres of property and in 1994 purchased the land (which included 3 acres of planted grapes) to fulfill the vision of Breaux Vineyards. With the help of winemaker Dave Collins, Breaux has blossomed and has been voted Virginia’s favorite winery 3 consecutive years.
I was first introduced to Breaux through their interactions on Twitter leading up to the 2011 Wine Blogger’s conference. Fellow tweeter @suzielin encouraged Jennifer Breaux-Blosser to reach out to me at the conference and boy am I glad she did. During a tasting of “the other 46″ (wines from other than California, Washington, Oregon and New York), I was introduced to their Cab Franc, Nebbiolo and Meritage blend. All three showed very well. I was excited to run into Jennifer as I was leaving the conference and she asked if I wanted to take home some wine…”duh,” I thought and politely stuffed three wines into my suitcase for the 3000 mile journey home.
The video is shot from my friend’s downtown condo with the rushing of the Spokane Falls in the background and highlighted by the great downtown skyline. Enjoy, and drink happy!
2010 Breaux Vineyards Viognier
This is classic tropical Viognier here folks. Love the amazing nose of peaches, papaya, and lychee fruit. In the mouth the wine is not quite as thick as some other Viognier I’ve had recently but does score well with a nicely balanced acidity. The price point is a little higher than I would want to see ($24) but overall this would pair well with a slightly sweet dish (pea salad, fruit salad), sweet-n-sour pork or a light chicken dish. Viognier has been named Virginia’s signature grape and this is a classic example of why! 3+/5
2002 Breaux Vineyards Merlot
Okay, I have to admit. I drank way too much of this wine. Most of you know I’m a Merlot lover, when done right – and this one is done right. It is most likely the age of the wine (going on 10 years) but this was without a doubt the BEST Merlot I had the entire visit to the commonwealth. The wine showed a typical browning from the age and was moderately translucent. LOVED the deep, slightly burnt cherries and dark chocolate that emanated from the glass. For a wine of such age the tannins were still relatively thick and the finish showed a strong amount of fruit and almonds. This is a library wine, so getting it might be a challenge. 4/5
2007 Breaux Vineyards Cabernet Franc
Cab Franc is another of Virginia’s four prominent grapes (Viognier, Merlot and Petite Verdot being the others). Most of the Cab Franc I tried in VA was reticent of under ripe fruit and bell peppers. While the hearty grape grows well, there does seem to be quite a bit of vintage variation. This wine boasted a great complexity of flavors ranging from coffee to deep plums and tobacco. My full tasting resulted in the same score as my first impression at the conference. 3+/5
20 Jul 2011
I bet I taste over 100 wines this weekend! What will you be doing?
This coming weekend I will be attending the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, VA. Having been born in Roanoke, I’m excited to get back to my roots and sample the grapes grown in the one of the oldest planting regions in the country. Thomas Jefferson tried for years to establish Virginia as a wine growing region and with several failed attempts, Virginia is now the 7th largest wine producing region in the country.
After last year’s wine bloggers’ conference, I made note of five things that I wanted to do to the blog.
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization: I began focusing efforts on maximizing SEO by paying attention to blog titles, first paragraph text, image titles, and tags. The results have led to several posts that have consistent daily traffic from Google searches.
- Improve the quality of my video: I migrated to an HD camera and invested in a third party video editing software. While my computer quality caused a five month delay in videos, I definitely saw an increase in quality once I made the switch.
- Improve the quality of my writing: I think the writing quality has improved but I still catch editing mistakes after the blog is already published. The true judge of quality, YOU. With over 100 posts since last year’s conference, I hope you’ve seen an improvement.
- Reorganize content: In September 2010 I spent an entire weekend re-organizing the blog content and investing in a new blog template. The result is a menu of drop down choices that are logical and easy to navigate. The front page is divided into featured headlines (top), Nectar Tasting Room news (left), wine reviews (right) and social media content (bottom).
- Improve wine reviews: I simplified my wine reviews providing the content that I would want to read when looking into various wines. The simple 5 point rating system helps users identify what my ratings are. I’m also very proud to be one of the contributors to the very popular Hello Vino iPhone app.
This year I go into the wine bloggers conference as a business owner and I am still very passionate about the field of wine writing. While my time to dedicate to writing is significantly reduced, I do plan to make more effort to get back to contributing to the blog. I’m amazed at how frequently customers come in who were first introduced to Nectar Tasting Room because they read this blog. My goal is to find the motivation and inspiration to bring this blog back to the 20,000 page view / month hay day.
The agenda in Virginia is jam packed and begins with an international wine tasting on Thursday night. Wine tasting begins as early as 10am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and officially doesn’t end until after 9pm (unless you head to the super secret private invitation parties). Wine for breakfast…just like every other day of the week, right? While networking is a critical component to the conference, my goal this year is pack in as much information and education that I can. Rarely does one have the opportunity to taste so much variety of wine in such a short amount of time. I’m particularly looking forward to Saturday’s “Virginia’s Wine History, Geology, and Business Climate,” and the vineyard tours.
How much wine will I taste? Not sure, but my guess is well over 100 different wines. My goal; document every one. I hope you look forward to reading about them as much as I look forward to tasting them.
Scenes From Last Year’s Conference