Wine Wonderings – A Perfect Blend

Earlier this spring a friend invited me to go with her to Doukenie Winery, in Purcellville, Virginia, to attend a fun afternoon of personal wine blending.  We arrived a little early, but had no trouble filling the extra time with wine tasting and fabulous conversation with other “blenders”.   When the time for blending arrived, we were escorted downstairs by Doukenie winemaker, Sebastien Marquet.

Sebastien, who grew up in France, knew very early in his life that we wanted to be a winemaker.  He learned winemaking in the Burgundy region of France, and brought his talent and love of wine to the Caribbean, of all places, and then the US.  How fortunate Doukenie is to have Sebastien as their winemaker!

The room was filled with the chatter of excited winemakers-for-a-day.  Bottles filled with unknown wines sat before us in the center of each table, alongside beakers and mixing rods.  Each of us had a collection of glasses in front of us, begging to be filled with new blends of wine.

We started with a tasting – it was Doukenie’s 2010 Vintner’s Reserve.  Ah, and just like I like ’em – deep, red and rich…so perfect for that chilly spring day.  This was a moderately leggy wine, with an almost velvety look to it.  Dark red and black fruits were strong, with dried currant and raisin.  There was a modest oakiness, with an almost cedar characteristic.  Acids were still lively, and the tannins were very strong.  The finish was long as well.  This is a wine that will likely be very nice after resting in the cellar for a while longer.

So our task?  Make the newest Vintner’s reserve!

My very newest friends and I popped open the bottles on the table, sampling each one, and taking notes on the flavors and aromas we were experiencing.  And then the blending began!  At first we carefully mixed and measured….and of course, sampled.  After we lost track of which glasses contained which blends, we decided that perhaps the best blend on the table was the blend of new friends, laughter, and the experience of loving wine, talking about wine, sampling wine and living life with the joy of wine.

When the blending was proclaimed to be over, we made our way back up to the tasting room, where the conversation and fun continued.

What a wonderful day… yes, a perfectly blended day!

Sunset Hills Vineyard – 2009 Reserve Cabernet Franc


If you enjoy a smoky, round red, you will just love the 2009 Reserve Cabernet Franc from Sunset Hills Vineyard in Purcellville, Virginia.  This Cab Franc fills the air with memorable aromas – smoky, but not to a point of overpowering the deep, luscious fruit.  This wine has a really nice balance and mouth-feel, and a long, delightfully peppery finish.  This wine would be perfect with an elegant, rich dinner, but don’t hesitate to have it with a hearty blue-cheese burger.  Sunset Hills may very well be the winery that puts Virginia on YOUR wine map!

Williamsburg Winery – 2003 Merlot – The Burgess’ Measure

I purchased this wine some time ago, on the very first trip that my husband and I took to the Williamsburg Winery together.  Tonight we popped the cork on this wine, and were immediately amazed with the fruity aromas that filled the air.   I poured a tasting and enjoyed the well-developed aromas.  The aroma balance was wonderful, filled with berry; – blackberry and blueberry to be exact – jam notes.  I tasted and found the smoothness to be very pleasant and the balance to be magnificent – full-bodied and round.  I loved every moment of this delicious wine.