Package Pickup Sunday! (Part 1)

What’s better than a club package pickup weekend than TWO packages in the same weekend???  It’s a hit on the ole credit card, but getting to taste the wines as I’m picking them up is such a treat.

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Wine Friend 1 and I hit the road early to get to Stone Tower early.  We didn’t want to get overwhelmed by the crowds.  We had a quick lunch at a new spot in Middleburg, and then headed to Stone Tower.  We got there at a good time – the parking lot wasn’t overwhelmed and the tasting bars had room – this is a good thing.  We headed right downstairs to the basement for the club pickup – and they had opened the tasting bar and lounge area there.  There was live music (which I didn’t exactly love these versions of my favorite 80s hits). This club package included the 2017 Estate Viognier/Petit Manseng blend, a Wild Boar reserve pinot noir, and a Wild Boar cab franc.

We grabbed the wines and headed to the bar for the complimentary tasting.

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(sorry for the camera shadow in there – wasn’t going for art on the menu snapshot).  The pourer actually started us with the Cremant de Bourgogne.  Stone Tower purchased acreage in Burgundy and is growing Gamay, Pinot Noir, and other grapes there.  They had this wine made for them (champagne method but not in Champagne, so it is Cremant).  I bought a bottle of this in the summer, and it’s a great summer bubbly rose.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, though Wine Friend 1 was less than crazy about it.  I like the tart but almost sweet with the bubbly in it.  The pourer shared that they had 200 cases shipped over, sold them, re-released their Blanc de blancs, and then when that sold out, re-released this.  Sounds like good/tricky marketing, but I like this wine, and thought about buying a bottle to have for either thanksgiving, xmas, or new years.

Next up, the 2017 Estate Sauvignon Blanc.  This is from all Va grapes.  I like this, but as I shared previously, it has a creaminess that I don’t love.  I would have been more excited had it been the wild boar label, as that one is crisper.  Neither Wine Friend 1 nor I were enthused about this one.

Second taste, the “Maison Sanglier Rose” – their rose made from the grapes they are growing in burgundy.  It was a decent rose, but it was light and had slight sweetness rather than the depth and crispness I tend to like in a rose.  It was a good one, and in the summer would be a fun drink, but as we are in fall and it’s cool, this missed the mark for me.

Third up, the winner of the show for us, the 2017 Wild Boar Petit Manseng/Viognier blend.  These grapes are sourced, not from their property in Virginia.  This was an amazing crisp wine.  You could taste both grapes clearly, and they had wonderful fruit to them without being sweet – the notes mention peach and guava, which you can taste clearly.  They called it a fall white, and while it’s hard to imagine cold white wine by the firepit, this could be the one.

Next – the 2016 Wild Boar Pinot Noir Reserve – grapes sourced in California.  We learned something.  Our amazing pourer shared lots of info, and Wine Friend 1 had great clarifying questions.  It turns out, they don’t ship the grapes across the country, as they would likely rot along the way.  They actually purchase the wine and barrel it, in this case for an additional year in neutral oak.  This has to have been the best pinot noir I’ve had – I typically don’t care much for pinot noir because it’s so light.  This one however was very present and had a strong earthy quality that spoke to me.  It was an impressive bottle, and I’m excited to have it in the club package.

The 2016 Wild Boar Cab Franc was next.  It was a very light cab franc, as its sourced from the west coast also.  It was a decent representative of the grape, and will be a nice wine when I open it, but it didn’t knock me off my feet. I do prefer Virginia Cab Franc, with its really great green and earthy qualities.

The final tasting was the 2016 Estate Windswept Hill – their Bordeaux blend.  I do like this wine, but I also think it needs a little more time to sit – it’s not totally ready for us to drink it yet.  I can taste quality in the grapes (which at the price point, I hope so!), and it’s a good, clean wine.  I just suspect that given some more time, it will open up beautifully and be this knockout Bordeaux blend.

We ended up with a glass each of the Petit Manseng/Viognier to enjoy in the lounge there.

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This picture doesn’t show it, but by 1:45, the place was hopping.  The doors to the left in the picture led to their larger seating area, where the band was playing – and it was packed.  There were raw and fried oysters being served, as well as pizza from their stone oven out front.  People were having a great time, and it was getting very crowded.

I learned a lot from our pourer too – they are currently producing 50,000 cases per year – with 80+ acres planted at the site, and planning to get to 100 acres, and they added the acreage in Burgundy.  This is a mass producing winery, but they are maintaining some good quality too.  The site was just stunning but it was a little too cold to be outside, even with the heat lamps on.  Had we not done the lunch before, we would have settled in with oysters on the half shell and pizza and made a nice afternoon of it all!

This pickup made me feel good about this membership – the lineup was solid, and there is good stuff on this tasting menu.  They are adjusting the club for 2019 – with new options – mixed packages or red only or white/rose only – and three pickups instead of four.  It will be interesting to see where this one goes.

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