Bottling Time at Boxwood

Working on the winery side of the industry has taught me a lot of things so far: a lot about the winemaking process, branding, and knowing the ins and outs of every wine the winery produces. Shadowing the Bordeaux consultant, Stephane Dererencourt, has opened my eyes to all that goes on before the wine makes it to the bottle. I wrote about that experience on Boxwood's blog previously.

Recently, the 2012 Boxwood Rosé was bottled and shipped out for distribution! This was my first encounter with a bottling line and man is that machine high-tech. So many moving parts and an assembly line that gets the job done quickly and efficiently. The wine is pumped through pipes from the stainless steel tank to the bottling tanks. The empty bottles are sanitized, filled, corked then move down the line to be capsuled, labeled and packaged into cases.

Quite the site...each moving part does its job making the process seamless, at least most of the time ;)

The 2012 vintage of Rosé is a blend of Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. It's one of our most popular wines and this vintage is even better than before! Producing only 505 cases this year, be sure to get your hands on it as soon as you can. The winery will be celebrating its release on March 23-24. Join us!

Check out the video to see the machine in action.

Virginia Wine in the Spotlight

This coming weekend, the 6th Annual VA Wine Expo is coming to Richmond! This festival showcases hundreds of Virginia wines from over 60 wineries, Boxwood being one!

Held in the Richmond Convention Center, guests can taste wines from all over the state as well as specialty food items and even food and wine pairing seminars. One seminar that is interesting to me is the blind tasting of Virginia Against the World hosted by Jay Youmans, founder of Capital Wine School. This will be held on Saturday at noon. Other seminars include cheese and wine pairing (mmm!), Indian food and Virginia wine, & Best of Virginia Micro-Wineries.

For the first time, tasters will be able to rate the wines they are tasting in REAL-TIME! Thanks to My Wine Ratings, everyone will be able to record their ratings and which wines they prefer with the wine still on their palate. This is the first of its kind and hopefully will be launched around the country for all large tasting events like this! Check out their site for more info on this new app.

This will be my first year participating in this great event and I'll be pouring for Boxwood Winery. If you attend, please be sure to come see us!

Want to join me? Get your tickets today before they sell out!


Top 5 Wine Bars for Date Night

Looking for a great spot to wow that Wino in your life? There are a lot of different options out there from high-end restaurants with amazing wine lists to low-key, casual wine bars. There's something for everyone in this list of Top 5 Wine Bars for Date Night.

For the Foodie Wino
1. Proof - It's no secret that Proof is a fabulous date night spot. Elegant decor, amazing food and wine menu and great service make for a really nice evening out. Select a bottle of wine from their large selection and enjoy conversation over one of the numerous dinner entree options. Entrees include Cassoulet of crispy duck, lamb loin, Pekin duck, and more! It's a great place to bring a wino who really enjoys food as well.

For the "Let's Try Something New" Wino
2. Ripple - For the wino is a little more adventurous, Ripple is a great option for date night. The wine list is pages long, a lot of the wines are lesser known, so it's the perfect opportunity to try something new! The menu also allows you to explore food items that you do not find anywhere else. They focus on local, seasonal ingredients. Ripple is a great spot to bring a wino who is looking to expand their horizons.

For the Quiet Date Night Wino
3. Veritas - Quiet, cozy and a great wine selection, Veritas has over 70 wines by the glass. There's something for everyone here. Nibble on some great cheese plates or chocolates. They do not have a full dinner menu so this makes the list for a quiet date night. Veritas is a fantastic place to bring a wino who you want to sit and talk to over wine instead of shoving your face with a 3 course dinner.

For the "Have you Been There Yet?" Wino
4. Slate - One of the newest DC wine bars, Slate is an up and coming star! A great wine selection, impeccable service and fresh, new food items puts Slate on the map. Sit at the bar or at a cozy table for 2, you can enjoy dinner and wines from all over the world. If you haven't been yet, what are you waiting for?

For the Casual & Fun Wino
5. Screwtop - If you want to take your date to a more casual, yet fun wine bar, Screwtop is the best option! The wine list and menu have funky titles like "Ménage a Fromage" for the French cheese plate or "My Pinot is Bigger than Yours" for the Pinot Noir selection. This is a fun-loving, hip wine bar in Clarendon and a great option for those winos that aren't so pretentious. (It's a retail store too so you can finish your date night at home with your favorite bottle ;) )

Wine for your Valentine

Ahh Valentine's Day, it comes around once a year. This means fancy dinners, chocolate covered strawberries and spoiling your loved one (even more than you usually do!).

Chocolate and wine are a great pairing and definitely highlighted this holiday. I've come up with some great wine suggestions for those sweet, heart shaped chocolates:

Bubbles, of course! There's nothing like strawberries and champagne. Or chocolate covered strawberries...even better! A favorite bubbly of mine is the J Vineyards Brut from California. It's a great sparkling wine to start, or finish, your night.

Riesling, for the white chocolate fan. Slight sweetness will pair perfectly with the creamy texture of white chocolate. My Riesling choice is the Montinore Almost Dry Riesling from Oregon . This wine is not overly sweet and has a crisp, dry finish so it doesn't overpower, but actually compliments the chocolate.

Zinfandel for those who prefer the heart-healthy dark chocolate. That's right, chocolate and red wine are said to be good for your heart, so drink up! Sinfully good Zinfandel has the big, bold flavor to pair with those dark chocolates. Some even have chocolatey notes themselves. I've admired Hook & Ladder for years and they're my pick for a great Zinfandel. Located in California, this wine has tones of dark fruits that exemplify the paired chocolate. This is probably the most popular red wine pairing for chocolates.

Dessert wines are also an option for chocolate pairing. These go better with milk chocolates, however, because the chocolate is more mild and creamier allowing the wine to compliment it. I'm not a big fan of "sweet" but Fabbioli Cellars in Virginia makes my favorite. They produce a great Raspberry Merlot that is the perfect semi-sweet dessert wine for this occasion. This wine and dark chocolate....the ultimate Valentine's Day pairing.

So which wine is for your Valentine?


Stuck on Bordeaux...

I've always been a sucker for French wines, that's nothing new. Champagne, Rhone Valley, Burgundy...the list goes on.

And currently working for Boxwood Winery has brought Bordeaux grapes back to the forefront of my mind. (They focus on both Left and Right Bank red blends)

And since there is not a decent wine shop near my house, sometimes I have to resort to Harris Teeter or Total Wine for those immediate needs.

C'mon, you know you have those desperate moments too!

With 80% of their selection being domestic, finding a Bordeaux was slim. But I came across this reasonably priced white Bordeaux blend, Chateau Anniche 2011, a simple, Left Bank Bordeaux blend of Semillion (75%) and Sauvignon Blanc (25%). Chateau Anniche is in the Médoc appellation of the Left Bank and to be more precise, in the Pauillac region of the Haut-Médoc.  Pauillac is home to many first growth estates like Chateau Lafite-Rothschild & Chateau Lator and also at the highest elevation in the Médoc.

Notes of stone fruits, honeysuckle, and a floral bouquet hit your nose upon the first pour. This young, bright white wine showcases citrusy flavors with a mineral, crisp short finish. This wine would pair perfectly with light appetizers, seafood or just a close friend.

Can't complain for $10 but maybe my main point right now should be that there's no boutique wine shop here! maybe I'll just change that! ;)