Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

November 7th: PART TWO: Delfosse Vineyards, Ankida Ridge and Onward to Richmand Virginia's Omni Hotel

Delfosse Vineyards and Winery
500 Delfosse Winery Lane
Faber, Virginia  22948
The thing that struck me about this winery is once again the sheer beauty of the setting. Built in 2000 this winery is surrounded by hills that make up the Blue Ridge system. The owners have produced gorgeous terraced vineyards which in a way reminded me in a small way of those in the Douro area of Portugal. The surrounding forest makes for excellent and relatively easy hiking trails and a log cabin which is over 100 years old and fully remodeled, overlooks the lake and surrounding countryside including the vineyards.
While the scenery is great, the wines are expressive and very well made and reveal a strong French influence. I wonder why since the former Owner and President of Delfosse was Claude Delfosse who sadly passed away in 2013. However the tradition is kept alive by his  wife Genevieve Delfosse.
Sauvignon Blanc 2013
On the nose: herbal grass, citrus, floral, some yellow berry notes and slight vanilla
Palate: hitrus, pebbles and flint with nice acidity
Chardonnauy 2013
On the nose: apple, pear and citrus with some slight vanilla and bread
Palare: citrus, apple, walnut, pecan nuts, vanilla and crisp acid finish
Chardonnay 2012
On the nose: butter, vanilla oak, toast, apple pie crust, roasted almonds
Palate: butter with a hint of Butterscotch, nut flavours, apple pie. vanilla oak, balanced acid/sugar and pleasant finish that keeps evolving in mouth. Burgundy.

Reserve D'Oriane 2012    Blend of 34% Petit Manseng, 22% Viognier, 22% Chardonnay and 22% Sauvignon Blanc 
On the nose:  herbal grass, citrus lemon, floral white blossoms
Palate: herbal, citrus mix, note of some tropical fruit such as pineapple, rich flavour and medium body with citrus finish.
Rose 2013 Blend of Merlot 80%, Malbec 20%
On the nose: floral with strawberry/raspberry
Palate: cherry and red fruit, medium body with crisp and fresh finish.
Cuvee Laurent 2013  Blend Chambourcin 66%,  Cabernet Franc 34%
On the nose: ripe red and dark fruit, floral violet
Palate: ripe red fruit, jam, oaky smoke, fresh finish
Cabernet Franc 2013 
On the nose: strawberry, cherry, anise, vanilla oak
Palate: forward tannin, pepper spice, vanilla oak and persistent finish
Merlot 2008
On the nose: oak and dark fruit
Palate: dark fruit, concentrated, long finish
Malbec  2013 (my notes were not available and am quoting from the pamphlet nots)
Nose: black cherry, lavender, earth, blackberry, sweet toast, complex
Taste: dark fruit, tar, licorice, toast. Tannins are pleasant but add structure and balance to the fruit.
Hint of leather and spice.
Petit Verdot 2012
On the nose: blackberry, floral notes and vanilla oak/smoke
Palate: ripe dark fruit, vanilla oak, pleasant and lengthy finish
Meritage 2012 Petit Verdot 40%, Cabernet Franc, 20%, Merlot 20%, Malbec 20%
On the nose: Forest, earth, cherry, raspberry, vanilla oak, leather, smoke
Palate: Full bodied, black fruit, pepper spice, coffee, chocolate, tobacco, long finish
Meritage 2013 
On the nose: black berry, black cherry, plum, hint of chocolate
Palate: dark fruit, medium plus to full body, coffee, smoke, long finish
Petit Manseng 2013 (White Port)
On the nose: apricot, peach, nut, citrus, oak, vanilla honey butter
Palate: full and round, luscious almond, peach, pear, butterscotch and honey/vanilla tones and lovely sweet finish
This was an excellent tasting with excellent wines. The Delfosse Family have done well in such a short time and it was hard to bid them adieu but we had a very special dinner waiting for us high on a mountain hill and we had to leave.
Ankida Ridge Vineyards
State Route 632,
Amherst, Virginia 24521
The word "Ankida" is an ancient Sumerian term meaning:"Where heaven and earth join". There are three "parts" to the name: "An" means "Sky". "Ki" means "Earth" and "Da" means "Union" (as per De Lafayette Encyclopedia).  It aptly applies to this unique winery which left the "Wow" in my "Wower" along with my jaw agape for several hours after I laid eyes on the breath taking view of this winery atop of a mountain.
Here at a striking elevation of 1800 feet on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountain the two acre vineyard of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as well as the superbly beautiful tasting room offer an amazing example as to what determination, good counsel, hard work and foresight can do when a vision is encountered!
The vision of course is the production of some of the finest Burgundy style wine this side of ----er-----Burgundy!!!
It must not have been easy to plant a vineyard on the steep slope high up on a mountain but consultant Lucie Morton who is one of the icon viticulture consultants in Virginia, was consulted and gave them great advice not only on the growing Burgundy style wine high up on the mountain slopes but also how to avoid certain diseases such as various types of molds and fungus. Being one of the foremost experts on vines and wine making in the country, Lucy has aided many a winery and continues to make advances in viticulture management and vine disease.      

It takes a tractor pulling a wagon to take the group of wine lovers from the base building up the incline past the multitude of rocks and trees to the tasting room and vineyard. There one gets a glimpse of the prepared table setting for the upcoming dinner as well as look outside on the balcony/verandah where the breath taking view of the Blue Ridge Mountains can be appreciated.
We had arrived rather late in the day and the night was fast approaching even as our special meal was being prepared. I went outside on the verandah balcony and stared at the glowing redness of the sky amidst the distant mountains as they slowly reached up to snag the sun---covering it with their shadow. The small but potent vineyard was quietly preparing for sleep amidst its arboreal neighbours. Meanwhile our group of wine lovers was being seated for the feast to come.
An Ankida Dinner
Seared Rockfish/Pumpkin/Sage 
Wine: Ankida Ridge Chardonnay 2012
First Course
Oysters: Raw Mignonette/Rockefeller/Flash Fried
Wine: Rockgarden Vert 2013
Second Course
Grilled Pear/Argula/ Manchego/Mushroom Strudel
Champagne Lime Dressing
Wine: Ankida Ridge Chardonnay 2013
Third Course
Braised Pork Belly, Pork Loin/ Sweet Potato-Kale Hash/Ham Glace
Wine: Ankida Ridge Pinot Noir 2010/2012
Cranberry Cake/Chocolate Truffles
Wine: Rockgarden Vin Doux

The Wines
First let me say that the dinner was amazing and so perfectly presented. Of course I had the honour of being seated across from Lucie Morton and the discussion that ensued was a major treat in itself. I remember being on a wine judging panel in Brazil with Jim Lapsey from the U of Davis California. I learned a great deal from that encounter and had the same advantage being within close talking distance with Lucie. Such a great person and so, so very interesting. Very amiable also!
The wines were an excellent match to the dishes presented.
Chardonnay 2012
On the nose: Burgundy like, apple, pear, melon, citus, vanilla
Palate: Delicate light to medium body, citrus, vanilla
Rockgarden Vert (Blend of Vidal, Pinot Noir)
On the nose: Green apple, pear, citrus, fiz
Palate: Effervescent, apple, citrus, pebbles, light body.
Chardonnay 2013
On the nose: Ripe pear, apple with walnut/vanilla/butter nuances, citrus lemon
Palatre: Medium body, slight oak, apple, pear, citrus lemon with citrus/mineral finish.
Pinot Noir 2010
On the nose: Rich Cherry, hints of mushroom, strawberry, black currant, some barn yard spice
Palate; Full bodied, cherry, strawberry, vanilla with long finish
Pinot Noir 2012
On the nose: Cherry, strawberry, raspberry with wood scents
Palate; Medium to full, black cherry, raspberry, black pepper and nice lengthy finish
Rockgarden Vin Doux (Chambourcin)
On the nose: Port like, black fruit
Palate: Sweet, ripe black fruit, nuts
The wines were excellent and complemented the meal so very well.
Soon we were getting ready to leave but not before taking one last look at the now dark scene just outside the tasting/dinner room. It was dark but the outline of the Blue Ridge Mountains was there and looked so very mysterious yet inviting.
Within the hour we had said our good byes to our wonderful Ankida Ridge hosts and we were off to the Omni Hotel in Richmond.
Registration was quite quick and soon I was in my room overlooking the city lights of Richmond Virginia. I was not tired and opened up a bottle of Octagon from Barboursville. As I sipped on the wine I imagined the beautiful, gorgeous and welcoming experiences that awaited me and Richmond had to offer!I was certain of one thing-----I would not be disappointed!
End of Day Six