After two wonderful days, I planned to keep Monday, Memorial Day, a quiet one. Upon checking Twitter, I saw a tweet to me from @raelinn_wine asking me what I was up to for the day followed by a text message. Having run and nothing planned, I told her I was free. She was busy packing but wanted a break and some wine. I suggested Gray Ghost given its location and knowing we both hadn’t been in a while. The first time I met up with Raelinn at a winery was last fall at Sharp Rock followed by Gray Ghost. I haven’t been back to Sharp Rock since and hope to get there soon. Gray Ghost on the other hand won me over last year and I’ve been back many times following daily hikes at Shenandoah Park. It was always cold so we’d sit upstairs in the big cozy chairs or on the soft couches. I love the history of the name and how it ties into the Civil War. Raelinn and I decided it was time to go back and I was so excited to finally get to the winery when it was warm and the vines were green and gorgeous.
I was thrilled when the winemaker came to greet us and pour our wines. For the most part, all the wines were new from the last time we tasted and for Memorial Day the tastings were complimentary. We started with the 08 Chardonnay aged 8 months in French oak. It was a lighter bodied wine, crisp, with tree fruit and a clean finish. Those not wanting oak, this is your wine. The 08 Reserve Chardonnay was also aged 8 months in new French barrels and went through ML. This is my kind of Chardonnay and I was so excited to learn it won the silver medal in the San Francisco Chronicle competition. It was smooth, medium bodied with subtle hints of vanilla, apple and a creamy finish. I’ll be bringing a bottle home to my dad. We had the Victorian white next. This was aged in stainless steel and had 1% residual sugar. This is a wine I prefer with food rather than on its own. I highly recommend this to those who like a drier white wine with a smooth finish. The 09 Gewürztraminer was just released this weekend and has 1.5% residual sugar. This was a yummy wine. It was floral with only a touch of sweetness. The balance is what you want and it was a treat! I was pleasantly surprised so far with all of the whites. I had no idea though what was to come. The 09 Vidal Blanc just won the Double Gold in the 2010 Taster’s Guild International Wine Competition and I couldn’t wait to see what this wine had to offer. It has 2.5% residual sugar but the high acidity cuts it down and brings out a well-balanced wine. Delicious is all I have written in my notes and believe me, that doesn’t begin to say how good the wine tasted.
We moved onto the reds next starting with the 08 Merlot. On the nose it was all black cherry. On the palate it was smooth, medium bodied with black cherry but had a nice structure to balance out the fruit. The wine spent 10 months in French oak and it made me want barbeque. I turned into a giddy girl though when the 07 Cabernet was poured. The wine is 95% Cabernet with the remainder being an equal split between Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Thirty percent of the grapes were aged in American Oak and 70% in French Oak for 18 months. Again, all I have written many times is delicious with lots of smiley faces. I am a girl who loves her big reds. The Victorian Red made up of 65% Cabernet Franc and 35% Chardonnay was a gorgeous red in the glass. This wine was aged in stainless steel and has 1% residual sugar. It was a refreshing wine perfect for a hot day. Last but not least was the Adieu. I remember the 08 Adieu and liking it. We learned it won 28 medals and I can understand why. The 09 Adieu however, I think I like better. Apricots filled my nose and it was desert in a glass. Not too rich, not too sweet, just perfect. This is a desert wine you can do so much with outside of just sipping. It would be great over ice cream, fresh fruit or added into brownies. Ok, I don’t like chocolate but the cook in me sees that being tasty. If you are looking for a truly delicious desert wine that won’t kill you with the heavy, richness many have, this is your wine. I recommend trying it while it’s available.
I stayed true to my palate and had a glass of the 07 Cabernet Sauvignon while Raelinn went for a glass of the Vidal Blanc. The outside setting at Gray Ghost is so pretty and totally different from every other winery I’ve been too. I loved it. We toasted our troops and enjoyed the perfect afternoon in a wonderful setting. It was the perfect ending to a great Memorial Day/wine weekend. I can’t wait to go back and if you haven’t made it out to this winery, I highly recommend you get there. The wines are delicious, there is something for everyone and the gas price is about 20 cents cheaper than those of us close to DC.