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Old 12-04-2004, 03:34 PM
Ewan McNay
 
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Default VA wines - one from White Hall, Horton tasting. Long, sorry.

Down in Charlottesville last weekend, we stopped in at Horton on
the way back, to find that in addition to their usual spread they
were doing a barrel tasting of four wines.

Before that, though, we'd drunk a couple of other wines to note.
First, drunk alone and then with a baked brie, was the local
wine White Hall Cabernet Franc '02. Both then and on drinking a
second bottle last night (with the Easter ham etc.), this hits
with 'soft' as the cear adjective; not something I've encountered
before, it feels almost like there's a (very pleasant) pillow
filling the mouth. This is also a move (at least from the '00
which were the last White Halls I tasted) to a more
'French-feeling' style - forgive the lack of precision, I've not
drunk enough french to be more precise . Surprisingly acid,
especially with subsequent sips. We bought a lot of this, and
it's a case where I'd really like someone more expert to taste it
and tell me what I am actually experiencing! Anyway, at $12.99
it seemed very good value to us and a definite step up from any
other VA wine we've had. We really regret mot having made it out
to White Hall. I'd give this an A.

The second was the wine with dinner at Oxo, a C'ville restaurant
that turned out to be highly recommendable. This was Novy '99
Page-Nord Syrah; chosen on the rec. of the waiter (over a bunch
of French Syrahs that I don't recall) after our desired Zin was
not available, and drunk with a range of foods including lamb,
rabbit, and venison. Much pricier (I think $60 restaurant price)
and reasonably complex, would enjoy again but nothing special; on
the other hand, a good balance of fruit and tannin. Solid B,
brought down by price.

Horton tasting:

In contrast to the White Hall evidence, Horton have mostly
maintained their focus in making short-life, what seemed to be
almost 'tourist' wines. And a lot of them - they were offering
17 whites, 12 reds, four sweets and also some fruit wines. So
just the highlights.

'01 Rkatsiteli - a new grape for me, this was very citrus and
quite acid, very distinctive. Needs a couple of years, I think,
but may turn out very well. B+

'00 Viognier Reserve - this is the flagship wine, but I didn't
rate it highly (and especially not at $30). Too harsh and seemed
to need a bit of sugar for balance. C+.

'02 Stonecastle Blush - the best of several semi-sweet wines
aimed at picnics (or hot-tubs, as they promote!). Blend of Cab.
Franc, Syrah, Mourvedre, Nebbiolo and Touriga Nacional (and this
was by no means the most mixed - one of the reds, '00
Stonecastle, had 9 grapes; but ended up with *very* strong
tobacco which was overpowering). The blush had enough depth to
hold the interest, and nothing to distract, so well-targetted.
Solid B.

'01 Syrah - with 18% mourvedre, 6% pinotage. Not great value at
$20, but a reasonable drink; doesn't feel as though it will get
any better though. B-

'00 Nebbiolo - in contrast, this has a strong backbone which
feels (as ever, with the caveat that this is all probably
completely wrong!) as though it will tone down and become
smoother and more complex; great fruit. We won't drink the
bottle we bought for at least 3 years, but even at $20 seeems
good value. B+/A-

Other than the Nebbiolo, the 'best of show' were the sweets.

'98 Vidal late harvest ($6 for 375 ml) and Lot 99, NV Viognier
Late Harvest ($16) were both good, although we actually preferred
the cheaper (which is hence great value): slightly less complex
but better balance (right now) of sugar and acid. I suspect that
the Lot 99 may develop more (and the Vidal not at all) but for
the next year or so, we'll drink the Vidal. B+ and B- (although
we still bought both)

'99 Port - well, we're fans of their '96 port (apparently the
only VA port?) so were looking forward to this, and it came
through - dark, rich, deep, and powerful. Yummy. $20 and worth
twice that. A. I think this is better than the '96, but we need
to taste them alongside to confirm, and it may be unfair to
compare at different ages - especially in light of:

'96 Late Bottling Port, from barrel. Wow - this now smells and
tastes nothing like grapes; more soy sauce, leather, and wood. I
actually don't like it as well as I do the bottle-aged version,
but the chance to see what the extra years in barrel have done
was great.

[The other barrel-tastes were '03 Albarino, '01 Petit Verdot
(easily the pick, but not for me in the class of the Nebbiolo,
and they were only selling case futures so we passed) and '02
Tempanillo. Nothing outstanding.]

Enough typing .





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Old 12-04-2004, 04:41 PM
Ewan McNay
 
Posts: n/a
Default VA wines - one from White Hall, Horton tasting. Long, sorry.

p.s. I forgot - we also stopped in at Prince Michel, site of a
long-ago tasting of their then-flagship 'Le Duc' which started me
on wine.

Sadly, they're no longer making this - and the rest of their
range(s) were nothing outstanding. They *do* have a delightful,
and well-cheffed (at least on the evidence from our visit),
restaurant, though.

Too bad. I can't even find any to buy with a brief online search
- ah, well. memories

  #3 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 12-04-2004, 05:20 PM
Dale Williams
 
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Default VA wines - one from White Hall, Horton tasting. Long, sorry.

I've never understood why the Horton Viognier got such good press, I agree.

You didn't taste the Horton Norton? I've heard good things re that.

Thanks for the notes.
Dale

Dale Williams
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Old 12-04-2004, 05:45 PM
Ewan McNay
 
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Default VA wines - one from White Hall, Horton tasting. Long, sorry.

Dale Williams wrote:
You didn't taste the Horton Norton? I've heard good things re that.


Oh - my bad .

We actually got into a conversation with the winemaker, Neil,
about this wine; I have some '93 and '97 at home (the '93 because
we never got around to finding the right time to drink it - this
was the pick of the vintages 94-99 for me, back when I lived down
there). He says that the '93 is now past peak and fading but the
'95 is at peak, and he was kind enough to dig some of the '95 out
of the cellars for me to take home and compare.

Anyway, we did taste the '01 Norton, but it cannot have impressed
as we didn't buy any and my notes are minimal. I think we just
decided that we liked the grapes better in their port form . I
have a slight recollection of it seeming too thin, but that could
be hallucination.

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Old 12-04-2004, 09:59 PM
Bill
 
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Default VA wines - one from White Hall, Horton tasting. Long, sorry.

Dale Williams wrote:

I've never understood why the Horton Viognier got such good press, I agree.

You didn't taste the Horton Norton? I've heard good things re that.



I thought the Horton Viognier was outstanding, probably the best US
Viognier, the first two
years it was offered. In its third year, it took a nose dive. I have not
bothered to buy any of
it for at least 8 years or so.

Horton Norton is a wine that you would never identify as coming from
Virginia. I have drunk it
many times and am constantly surprised that a wine so complex and dry
can be made from
the native non-vinifera grapes. I think of it more as a curiosity than a
sought after wine because
the price is just not competitive.



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Old 12-04-2004, 10:10 PM
Mark Lipton
 
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Default VA wines - one from White Hall, Horton tasting. Long, sorry.

Bill wrote:

Dale Williams wrote:

I've never understood why the Horton Viognier got such good press, I
agree.
You didn't taste the Horton Norton? I've heard good things re that.


I thought the Horton Viognier was outstanding, probably the best US
Viognier, the first two
years it was offered. In its third year, it took a nose dive. I have not
bothered to buy any of
it for at least 8 years or so.


I'm with you, Bill. The '93 Horton Viognier still stands in memory as
one of the best US viogniers I've ever had. Haven't seen or bought any
in the many years since, though.

Mark Lipton
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Old 12-04-2004, 10:29 PM
Furious Shepherd
 
Posts: n/a
Default VA wines - one from White Hall, Horton tasting. Long, sorry.

Horton's Norton is excellent. I hope to make the drive from PA for more this
summer.

"Dale Williams" wrote in message
...
I've never understood why the Horton Viognier got such good press, I

agree.

You didn't taste the Horton Norton? I've heard good things re that.

Thanks for the notes.
Dale

Dale Williams
Drop "damnspam" to reply



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Old 12-04-2004, 10:37 PM
James Silverton
 
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Default VA wines - one from White Hall, Horton tasting. Long, sorry.


"Furious Shepherd" wrote in
message ...
Horton's Norton is excellent. I hope to make the drive from PA for

more this
summer.

"Dale Williams" wrote in message
...
I've never understood why the Horton Viognier got such good press,

I
agree.

You didn't taste the Horton Norton? I've heard good things re

that.

Thanks for the notes.
Dale


Speaking as someone who has hopefully been watching and drinking
Virginia wines for some time, IMHO they are interesting, improving and
sometimes very good but here, in this neighboring state, I find their
prices non-competitive. I must admit that I rather enjoyed a champagne
type wine from Prince Michel (I think) at Christmas.


--
James V. Silverton
Potomac, Maryland, USA




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Old 12-04-2004, 11:02 PM
BallroomDancer
 
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Default VA wines - one from White Hall, Horton tasting. Long, sorry.


"Ewan McNay" wrote in message
...
Down in Charlottesville last weekend, we stopped in at Horton on
the way back, to find that in addition to their usual spread they
were doing a barrel tasting of four wines.

I want to try the White Hall, will be looking for it, based on your
recommendation. I live in southeastern VA. Best wines that I tried from the
area where Horton is located were the reds from Barboursville (especially
Octagon Reserve), also a smaller winery named Burnley (the wineries are a
couple of miles apart). Going a bit further west, I have found several wines
that I like from Shenandoah. Most of the Horton wines can be purchased
locally (Chesapeake, VA - near Virginia Beach) for 10 to 25% cheaper than at
the winery. I do have most of a case of Horton 1998 Cabernet Franc. My wife
and I liked the Nebbiolio and the Port.
However, we have generally been drinking Austrailian and German wines,
finding them priced lower for comparable taste. YMMV.
Jim


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Old 13-04-2004, 01:09 AM
Bill
 
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Default VA wines - one from White Hall, Horton tasting. Long, sorry.

BallroomDancer wrote:

I want to try the White Hall, will be looking for it, based on your
recommendation. I live in southeastern VA. Best wines that I tried from the
area where Horton is located were the reds from Barboursville (especially
Octagon Reserve), also a smaller winery named Burnley (the wineries are a
couple of miles apart). Going a bit further west, I have found several wines
that I like from Shenandoah. Most of the Horton wines can be purchased
locally (Chesapeake, VA - near Virginia Beach) for 10 to 25% cheaper than at
the winery. I do have most of a case of Horton 1998 Cabernet Franc. My wife
and I liked the Nebbiolio and the Port.

A Virginia wine that I like right now is the Linden Savignon Blanc.




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Old 13-04-2004, 03:10 AM
BallroomDancer
 
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Default VA wines - one from White Hall, Horton tasting. Long, sorry.


"Bill" wrote in message
...

A Virginia wine that I like right now is the Linden Savignon Blanc.

Thanks, I'll be on the lookout for that one also.
Jim


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Old 13-04-2004, 04:35 PM
Ewan McNay
 
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Default VA wines - one from White Hall, Horton tasting. Long, sorry.



Bill wrote:

I thought the Horton Viognier was outstanding, probably the best US
Viognier, the first two years it was offered. In its third year, it took a nose dive. I have not
bothered to buy any of it for at least 8 years or so.

Horton Norton is a wine that you would never identify as coming from
Virginia. I have drunk it many times and am constantly surprised that a wine so complex and dry
can be made from the native non-vinifera grapes. I think of it more as a curiosity than a
sought after wine because the price is just not competitive.


I would say that the 'nose dive after a few years' descriptor
applies to the Norton also, alas (at least on the limited data I
have). The '93 was great, '94 and '95 OK, and from then on it
seemed to be less impressive. I wonder whether the Horton
winemaker(s) have a short attention span?

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Old 13-04-2004, 04:43 PM
Ewan McNay
 
Posts: n/a
Default VA wines - one from White Hall, Horton tasting. Long, sorry.

BallroomDancer wrote:

"Ewan McNay" wrote in message
...

Down in Charlottesville last weekend, we stopped in at Horton on
the way back, to find that in addition to their usual spread they
were doing a barrel tasting of four wines.


I want to try the White Hall, will be looking for it, based on your
recommendation. I live in southeastern VA. Best wines that I tried from the
area where Horton is located were the reds from Barboursville (especially
Octagon Reserve), also a smaller winery named Burnley (the wineries are a
couple of miles apart). Going a bit further west, I have found several wines
that I like from Shenandoah. Most of the Horton wines can be purchased
locally (Chesapeake, VA - near Virginia Beach) for 10 to 25% cheaper than at
the winery. I do have most of a case of Horton 1998 Cabernet Franc. My wife
and I liked the Nebbiolio and the Port.


There was a good thread on VA wineries a while back; others of my
personal favourites (all now out of date) would be Afton
Mountain, Burnley that you note, and Oakencroft for the people
rather than the wines. I expect that the Kluge folks will do a
reasonable job, and further north I have goood reports (but no
experience) of Linden.

The best source for a goood range of VA wines I've found in the
C'ville area is the Wine Warehouse, which also has very pleasant
tastings and expert staff (if zero ambience).

  #14 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 13-04-2004, 05:10 PM
 
Posts: n/a
Default VA wines - one from White Hall, Horton tasting. Long, sorry.

Ewan McNay wrote:
: Down in Charlottesville last weekend, we stopped in at Horton on
: the way back, to find that in addition to their usual spread they
: were doing a barrel tasting of four wines.


: Horton tasting:

: In contrast to the White Hall evidence, Horton have mostly
: maintained their focus in making short-life, what seemed to be
: almost 'tourist' wines. And a lot of them - they were offering
: 17 whites, 12 reds, four sweets and also some fruit wines. So
: just the highlights.

: '01 Rkatsiteli - a new grape for me, this was very citrus and
: quite acid, very distinctive. Needs a couple of years, I think,
: but may turn out very well. B+

Ewan,

I was here last year and had similar impressions to you: that most
of the wines being offered were of the easy-to-drink school with nothing
profound (or even truly excellent). I bought a Rkats, since it seemed the
best of a bad bunch and I want to see how it ages vis-a-vis a Finger Lakes
example. What disappointed me most was their Viognier, which was nearly
always excellent in the past (often besting CA ones). The only reds that
showed potential were some odd ones, because I don't have notes here, I
can't say with certainty but I think it was the barbera and malbec.

Skieks!

Mark S
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Old 13-04-2004, 06:23 PM
Bill
 
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Default VA wines - one from White Hall, Horton tasting. Long, sorry.

Ewan McNay wrote:

There was a good thread on VA wineries a while back; others of my
personal favourites (all now out of date) would be Afton Mountain,
Burnley that you note, and Oakencroft for the people rather than the
wines. I expect that the Kluge folks will do a reasonable job, and
further north I have goood reports (but no experience) of Linden.

You might like the Naked Mountain Chardonnay which is produced in a
Chablis style with no oak.



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