April 2007 Newsletter
April in Virginia
In This Issue
"American Tribute" Wine Honors 400th Anniversary
Saveur Toasts Virginia Viogniers
Mead...Nectar of the Gods
Leg of Lamb Recipe from Market Salamander
When It Happens, There's Wine Away!
Featured Wine Festival of the Month
Chocolate & WineQuick Links

 Dear Virginia Wine Lover :   



Filoli Estate in SpringApril is a wonderful time to visit Virginia's wineries.  The days are longer and warmer and the landscape is vibrant with flowering trees and spring blossoms.  There are 119 wineries to explore, along with seven regional wine trails that make it easy to visit several wineries in one day or over a weekend.  April is also the time when wine festivals get into full swing, offering music, distinctive foods and, of course, tastings of fine Virginia wines. 


(See the Quick Links section on the sidebar for more information on 2007 Festivals & Events.)

"American Tribute" Wine Honors 400th Anniversary of Jamestown
Polo Match 


American Tribute
is a specially blended wine that will be released at the first annual America's Cup of Polo on May 12 at historic Morven Park in Leesburg, in honor of the 400th Anniversary of the Jamestown Settlement.  A Shiraz-Viognier blend, American Tribute represents the first wine made in the new world and exemplifies the quality and development of Virginia's viticulture.
The commemorative American Tribute combines grapes from Tareq Salahi's Virginia-based Oasis Winery with those of Dean Hewitson's Winery in South Australia.  Salahi and Hewitson became friends while classmates at the University of Califormia at Davis, one of the world premier universities for ecology and viticulture.  American Tribute is their "tribute to all those that share the same passion for Life, Love, Freedom and Democracy."
The first annual America's Cup of Polo will feature a match between the Cartier sponsored US polo team and the Ritz-Carlton sponsored UK team.  The May 12th event will include an air show, fireworks, elaborate cuisine by Market Salamander and Virginia wines.  Proceeds will benefit "Journey for the Cure," a non-profit foundation dedicated to finding cures for MS, Leukemia and Lymphoma.
For additional information,visit
Saveur Toasts Virginia Viogniers


King Glass of WineThis month's Saveur magazine (April 2007) has an article on "voluptuous viognier" and how it now flourishes around the globe.  The author says that "no wine seems more attuned to a particular time of year than viognier.  With a bouquet redolent of honeysuckle, jasmine, orange blossom, and more, it smells like an April garden.  Cool and fresh at first but with a core of lush warmth, it tastes of spring itself."


The article goes on to describe what the author considers viognier at its best, "combining a sensual personality with a restrained sense of style. The varietal is inherently rich, though good renditions should also taste fresh and uplifting."

Chrysalis Wine

Saveur lists 12 of the best viogniers recently tasted, two of which hail from Virginia.  According to the "Tasting Notes," Chrysalis Vineyards 2005 displays intense honeysuckle and apricot flavors yet remains always fresh and lively.

King Family Vineyards Michael Shaps Monticello 2005 is described as displaying near-perfect balance and is also vibrant -- a difficult but delectable combination.  "IT MAY WELL BE AMERICA'S BEST VIOGNIER."
Saveur Magazine (April 2007)

"Wild Flower" by Paul Lukacs

To learn more about these these two vineyards, visit:
Chrysalis Vineyards
King Family Vineyards
Mead...Nectar of the Gods
Kimberly PughKimberly Pugh, Winemaker & Co-Owner
Hill Top Berry Farm and Winery
What is Mead?  That's a question I hear every day.  By definition, Mead is a fermented drink made from honey.  But it is much more than the definition suggests.  Mead is the world's oldest alcoholic beverage with a history so intertwined with that of mankind, it is hard to separate legend from fact. 


Mead is made by combining honey and water and letting them ferment with the naturally occurring yeasts found in the honey.  Imagine the surprise -- and delight -- of the ancient beekeeper when he tasted the liquid seeping from his rain soaked beehive.


The word honeymoon comes from an ancient pagan tradition of giving Mead to newly married couples to ensure a fruitful marriage.  The Moors considered Mead to be an aphrodisiac and Celtic bards drank it to be more poetic.  During the reign of Julius Caesar, a Roman citizen went to Wales and wrote about a local drink with such health benefits that the Welsh lived especially long lives, all the while fathering children.  The drink was metheglin, Mead with spices, from which the word medicine is derived.


Any addition to basic Mead results in a variety of related beverages, each with its own name.  Cyser is Apple Mead, once popular with the Anglo Saxons.  The Romans drank Grape Mead called Pyment.  Other fruits fermented with honey are called Melomels, and there are many more, each with their own history and unique taste. 


Even though Mead is made from honey, it is not always sweet.  It gets better as it ages and is often saved to toast a special occasion.  Once again gaining popularity at modern day weddings, Mead is often the drink of choice for the newlywed toast.


To the ancient Greeks, Mead was the "Nectar of the Gods", but you don't have to be divine to find it in Virginia.  One variety of Mead can be found in Chatham at Tomahawk Mill Winery.  A more diverse assortment is available at Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery in Nellysford, Smokehouse Winery in Sperryville and Blacksnake Meadery in Dugspur. 

(Photo of Hill Top Berry Farm and Winery)
Hill Top Winery
Happy Easter from Market Salamander
Market Salamander Store FrontVaughn Skaggs of Market Salamander in Middleburg was good enough to share this recipe for preparing Leg of Lamb for Easter dinner.  It's a simple, but elegant entree that Vaughn says pairs nicely with a glass of Rockbridge Merlot or Piedmont Merlot.  

1 bunch Thyme, fine chopped

1 bunch Rosemary, fine chopped

cup coarse chopped Garlic

1 cup Olive Oil

1 tbsp Cracked Black Pepper

1 tbsp Salt

Mix all ingredients and rub mixture over the lamb leg (or chops, rack or tenderloin).  Let marinate overnight.  Before you cook, rub off any garlic pieces.  Cook at 300 degrees one to one and a half hours (depending on the size).  Finish off at 400 degrees for the last 15 minutes.  Internal temperature should be 125 to 135 degrees.  Chops take about 10 to 15 minutes; rack about 20 to 30 minutes.


When you're out and about in Northern Virginia's wine country this spring, make a point to stop at Market Salamander.  You're in for a treat.  Apart from their wonderful menu of freshly prepared foods and excellent wines, the Market stocks a unique selection of private label products and exclusive imports from Virginia's Piedmont region and around the world. 


For more information visit

(Exterior photo of Market Salamander)

Market Salamander Exterior 


When It Happens, There's Wine Away!


Wine Spilling from glassPeople who drink red wine eventually spill red wine.  It's just a fact of life!


Wine Away, a remarkable red wine stain remover, is your best protection against the expected spill.  It even removes red wine stains that go undiscovered until the next day. Wine Away contains no bleach or phosphates, and it's safe to use around children. Tested and WineAwayAdrecommended by the Good Housekeeping Institute, Wine Away is featured in well known publications, such as Gourmet, Food & Wine, Wine & Spirits, Wine X Magazine, as well as the Washington Post.

Hostess gift suggestion:
A bottle of Virginia red wine and a bottle of Wine Away.  
To order, call
or visit the website at
Monticello Wine & Food Festival

Monticello Wine Trail Logo

Enjoy a rare opportunity to taste wines from more than 20 Virginia wineries all in one spot at this year's 27th annual Monticello Wine & Food Festival on April 21 and 22 at Morris Farm (one mile off Route 29 on Route 33 in Stanardsville).  Enjoy the beauty of the rolling countryside while sipping award-winning wines, indulging in gourmet fare and experiencing a variety of fine art and music.


Participating wineries include Acorn Hill, Afton Mountain, Barboursville, Burnley, Cardinal Point, DelFosse, First Colony, Gabriele Rausse, Hill Top, Horton, Jefferson, Keswick, King Family, Kluge Estate, Oakencroft, Prince Michel, Stone Mountain, Sugarleaf, Veritas, White Hall and Wintergreen.  For more information, or to purchase advance tickets, visit



"Celebrate Jamestown" Wine Festival

April 14 in Bowling Green


Vintner & Culinary Weekends at Boar's Head Inn

April 20-22, April 27-29 in Charlottesville


Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival

April 21-22 in Waynesboro


Lake Country Wine Festival

April 28 in Clarksville


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