Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Notaviva – Music to Virginia Wine

We recently visited Notaviva Vineyards. This is one of those wineries that, for me, is more about atmosphere and ambiance than it is about the wines. If you are in the mood to spend some time listening to good music in beautiful surroundings drinking wine, this is as good a place as any. Notaviva prides itself on its ability to pair wines with music, and the live music that they have on weekends does a nice job of creating the right atmosphere. I like their dedication to adding an aural element to wine. Wine is such a sensual experience – from looking at the glass to smelling it to get a sense of what lays ahead to tasting it to savoring it, wine rewards those who use their senses. Notaviva adds music to this dynamic. I am glad that they have done so. Their staff is extremely friendly and helpful, which also helps with the overall experience. Music, wine and a friendly staff make Notaviva a great place to spend
an afternoon.

As for their wines, the best of their offerings is their 2008 Vincero Viognier. Not to sound too much like a broken record on this blog, but Viognier really likes growing in Virginia, and Virginia wineries can do amazing things with this grape. Notaviva’s Viognier is aged in stainless steel casks, which gives it a light, crisp flavor that accentuates this wine’s mellow pear and kiwi undertones. Try it with grilled shrimp seasoned with Old Bay, or even sautéed rockfish cooked in sage butter. The texture and flavor of either dish will go well with this Viognier’s mellow, sweet flavor.

Notaviva’s 2008 "Celtico" Chambourcin is an interesting, if not entirely impressive red. It has plenty of tannins, with a smokiness that makes this wine a good fit for foods cooked on a grill – from burgers to steak. Basically, this is a red that should go with meat. Grilled meat. Preferably with a spicy dry rub or sauce. Open up a bottle with dinner and finish it off with some dark chocolate for dessert and you will have a well-paired meal. I say it is slightly unimpressive, though, for the fact that for as much smokiness and tannins as it has, that is basically it. There are some whiffs of raspberries, but not many. And with a smokiness that permeates everything from first smell to last sip, there doesn’t seem to be much room for any other flavors to distinguish themselves.

What Notaviva tries to do, and does well, is add a musical dimension to wine. From the names of their wines, to the diverse varieties of music played in their tasting room, to the owner’s own musical backgrounds and the musical paraphernalia that adorns the walls of their winery, it is obvious that Notaviva was opened so that the owners could pursue their two passions: music and wine. They have created a great atmosphere and make some decent wines in the process.

No comments:

Post a Comment