Monday, May 21, 2007

Weekend in Virginia Wine Country

The gorgeous, sunny and mild weather this past weekend was ideal for a trip out to Virginia wine country. On Saturday we went to Linden Vineyards in Linden, VA. We did the regular tasting which is complimentary. On offering were a 2006 Seyval, 2006 Rose 2005 Cabernet Franc, 2003 Claret and 2006 Vidal Riesling. As usual, the Seyval and Claret were my favorites. The dry Rose was nice too and a refreshing choice for the warm day. We were early enough to be able to grab a table on Linden's beautiful patio. We ordered a couple of cheeses, including the Mountaineer, a rind ripened, raw milk cheese made from Jersey cow's milk and similar in style to a Dutch gouda, and a Derby, or an aged-cheddar style made from the milk of Brown Swiss cows. We also had a Venison Sausage and several baguettes and lots of wine of course. Lovely day. We were scheduled to spend the night in Winchester so we made our way in that direction in the early evening.

Winchester actually has a ton of charm and lots to do in the downtown area. The shops were closed by the time we arrived, but we walked around the Old Town area which was quaint and really just lovely. We went to The Village Square for dinner, and decided to dine in the VSquared Piano Bar area. The ambiance was great - very dim lighting, old school big and heavy furniture and the piano player was great. I had a Hummus and Flatbread appetizer as well as a Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken (yes sort of boring but two of my faves for sure). Others enjoyed Veggie Wraps, Seared Ahi Tuna with Greens and a Soy Dipping Sauce, a very rich Mushroom Soup, Salmon On Potato Gratin with Spinach and a Soy Glaze, and a large and moist Beef Tenderloin served with Mixed Green Vegetables. I continued the lighter style wine theme we all had going and had a nice and crisp Pinot Grigio, which was perfect with the creamy hummus and peppery and tangy dressing on the salad. We decided to check out Sweet Carolines afterwards, and let me tell you, Winchester certainly is a hot spot for nightlife if that bar is any indication. We had a great end to the evening.
The wine club went to Veramar Vineyard in Berryville, VA on Sunday. On offering that day were a Chardonnay, Seyval Blanc, Riseling/Vidal blend, Rooster Red and D'Ora (a dessert wine). They also were showcasing two of their newer wines - Pink Chicken and Red Chicken. I enjoyed the Seyval but the Pink Chicken, a dry rose, was the hands-down favorite. We ordered a few bottles and enjoyed a great day filled with great wine, snacks, company and views of the rolling hills. Allan even brought some raspberry-flavored brownies for the group to enjoy. Afterwards, Allan and I went to Ray's the Steaks. We actually didn't have to wait more than 20 or so minutes, which was great, and were seated in a cozy table in the middle of the small restaurant. Allan had the view of the open kitchen which he enjoyed. I started with a Caesar Salad and also had a side of Broccoli and the Strip Steak Served with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms. I ordered it medium rare and it was moist and pink in the center - absolutely melt in your mouth delicious. I thought the onions were gorgeous, though perhaps there were a few too many of them. The mushrooms were firm yet soaked in the caramelized onion juice and were delicious. The broccoli was nice too - slightly rich but not too buttery. Allan had the Rib-Eye which came with large slices of fresh garlic on top and with Mashed Potatoes and Creamed Spinach on the side. The steak was beautiful and tasty and the spinach was rich and a bit salty but certainly quite tasty. It is also really nice that sides comes with some of the steaks and are no extra cost. We decided to buck the usual match and had a bottle of Pinot Grigio with the meal. I thought it worked nicely actually. It was a great meal to cap off a really fun and certainly decadent late-spring weekend.

Linden Vineyards
3708 Harrels Corner Road in Linden, VA

Village Square Restaurant
103 North Loudon Street in Winchester, VA

Veramar Vineyard
905 Quarry Road in Berryville, VA

Ray's the Steaks
1725 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, VA

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