Sunday Funday Two-Fer: La Grange Pickup Picnic and Casanel Rosé on the Deck

What a gorgeous, if hot, day.  Saturday was too busy for a trip out, but Sunday was a great day for the Winery at La Grange club pickup.  Wine Friend 1 and I packed picnic lunches and met up for an afternoon of wine and fun.

First stop, La Grange pickup.  For their quarterly pickup, members head into the barrel room for the sampling of the wines, and there is always an offer to trade one or two wines.  Today’s lineup:

  • 2016 Riesling, grapes sourced from Washington State. – Nice and crisp,  a good sample of this varietal.  Too bad summer is almost done!
  • 2017 Petit Manseng – Estate grapes, what an interesting wine.  Seth previewed it for me during our interview.  Wine Friend 1 didn’t like it as much, I still enjoyed it and actually see it as a fall firepit wine.
  • 2016 Pinot Noir – Washington state fruit – this was a nice example of this fruit – lighter and soft, with some nice fruit and gentle oak.  I liked it and see it as a fall wine.
  • 2015 Cabernet Franc Classic – All Virginia, though not estate, this wine was pretty much what you expect from cab franc – a little green peppery in its taste – I was suprised to see a mix with chambourcin to round it off, but on reflection, it wasn’t as vegetal as Va cab franc can be.
  • 2016 Kali Blend – fruit sourced from Paso Robles, CA.  Paso Robles keeps coming up on my radar, west coast wine peeps love Paso.  Lots of plum in this one, really a nice on, and one that I think will age quite happily.  I think I have an earlier Kali blend in my wine frig, so that comparison will be nice.
  • 2015 Carmenere – Yakima Valley Washington – they re-released this one – I had one bottle left at home.  I truly love this wine, and it was my favorite of the reds in this lineup.

Edward let us taste the 2014 tannat and 2015 Cab Sauv, which were our alternates – we could swap the carmenere for one of those.  These were both good – the tannat was a soft version of the grape, and the cab sauv was pleasant and light – almost a good summer red wine, as Wine Friend 1 (who doesn’t care for BIG BOLD cab sauv) noted.

We didn’t do any trades but went to the outside bar and ordered glasses of the recently released 2017 albariño.  We sipped at our table in the shade while eating.

Katie swung by and shared that she was fascinated – the crowds yesterday loved the Carmenere – whereas in the previous package that held it, people were trading it out.  Six months aging in the bottle definitely changed the wine, and I for one still love this one – I had one bottle still on the rack.

I said it was a two-fer, and sure enough, WF1 was happy to head to Casanel with me.  She had never been, and I was eager to go back and check out their current lineup.

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Erik, who had done my previous tasting there, was at the bar and greeted us.  We went through the tasting flight of eight wines.  They had two different Pinot Gris with two very different styles to them.  The first, the Elliana, had what felt to me like a strong mineral quality to it, and to my taste, it overpowered the fruit.  The second, Patricia Marie, was much more to my liking.  Melon and vanilla were refreshing and pleasant.  They the chardonnay reserve, which was a nice, solid wine, a good chardonnay – I didn’t get any butter or toast on this one, just nice clear chardonnay. WF1 loved the K2 – a good red blend – nice oak in it along with nice fruit.  The 2016 Cab Sauv was the lighter style WF1 liked, and I thought it had good fruit for a Virginia Cab Sauv.

Winner in show at Casanel today was the 2018 José Rosé.  WF1 and I both thought this was a great example of what rosé can be – not sweet, not tart, nicely balanced with clear fruit.  We ended up on the deck with a cold bottle of this.  More on that in a minute.

The 2016 Carmenere – I really do like this, and this is a solid one, I am so happy it’s grown in Virginia.  Nice and dark but pleasant, WF1 liked it better than the Carmenere at La Grange.  I note that the grapes are grown here, so it’s quite different, but I liked this one a lot.

Finally, the 2016 Petit Verdot.  I do really like this grape in Virginia.  This was a nice example, plenty soft but with lots of the characteristic PV dark flavor and astringency at the end from all the tannins.

Erik ended up getting an OK to give us a splash of the White Spark – their 100% Chardonnay sparkling wine.  I liked this – I find it very brut, and there is a ton of apple to it – and I love that in sparkling wine.  They did very well with this one.

The deck was a great place.  It was 92 degrees, but the breeze overlooking the pond was stunning.  The 2018 rosé was a perfect complement to the view and weather.

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Casanel is another place to go for a great time.  I thoroughly enjoyed our stop here, and WF1 really enjoyed a different spot with new to her wines.  I always appreciate an extra taste of something fun and special.  Sparkling wine is relatively new in Virginia wine, and I’m excited to see more and more of it happening.  Casanel has some exciting stuff you cannot find at other places, so check them out!

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