Trump Estate: Girls Night Out

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It’s been two months since I wrote Part One of this post!

Procrastination and life has a way of interfering with sitting back at a keyboard with a glass of wine and reflecting on how  blessed we are to live in such a beautiful part of the world. It actually took the Republican National Convention to spur me on to writing. Kerry Woolard, General Manager of Trump Winery, spoke last night at the RNC and Eric Trump is slated to speak this evening. I have Kerry to thank, along with the staff at Trump Winery, for making our stay exceptional.  Oh, and by the way, this is not a political diatribe, it just got me thinking. This is about an over the top Bed and Breakfast in Virginia wine country,  just a short drive down the road from the historic Monticello,  Ashlawn ( James Monroe’s home),  Dave Matthew’s winery Blenheim Vineyards, peach and apple orchards and our own charming downtown Charlottesville.

In thinking back over our stay,  I pondered as to why it was such an impressionable overnight  and several reasons came to mind.

One: As children we hear stories and read fairy tales about princes and princesses, castles and sumptuous living, but only a few people actually experience the daily lifestyle of the rich and famous. This was an opportunity to slip into that world, for a night or a weekend or a week.

Two: Trump does have the letter “T” everywhere and guess who has the same initials? So, when they handed us the remote control for the gate to the property and I kept seeing the “T” everywhere, well, it kind of did feel like home. The fact that the manor house has only (only!) ten suites, and due to the limited number of guests on our stay, my sister actually started calling it her home. Conversations began with “ I’m so glad you could come to visit me” and along with plenty of bubbly wine and giggles, we did make ourselves quite at home.Lumina_Boston_Photography_www.luminaboston.com_Charlottesville_Wedding_photographer_Trump_Albemarle_Estate_-0043

Three:  The approach through the vineyards and traversing through the rolling countryside with pastoral vistas, I was reminded of early 1800’s paintings of  England in  particular, a  landscape by English Romantic painter, John Constable of Wivenhoe Park  an English landscape park, and the estate of the Rebow family. John_Constable_-_Wivenhoe_Park,_Essex_-_Google_Art_Project

Four: Elegance permeated the property with two 1760 handmade Waterford crystal chandeliers, the elaborate ornamental rococo mantle in the dining room, the soaring 22 foot ceiling in the living room, hand-painted wallpaper designed in Paris and painted in India, garden statuary and formal rose gardens plus the Steinway grand piano-  all speak to a lifestyle of days gone by and made this home outstanding.

As I said, we were totally impressed!

Movie Night

So that night, we slipped on our slippers like The Twelve Dancing Princesses by the Brothers Grimm (except there were only four princesses in this story) and danced and traipsed through the halls of the mansion down to the private theater, complete with freshly popped popcorn, loads of candy bars and BYOB Trump Sparkling Blanc de Blanc.              Lumina_Boston_Photography_www.luminaboston.com_Charlottesville_Wedding_photographer_Trump_Albemarle_Estate_-0095

Okay, so maybe we don’t look like princesses-we felt like princesses.

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Showing pictures of our “Pajama Party” at the Albemarle Estate,  I really wanted you to see how much fun you can have at the estate and it would’t be complete without sharing about our evening in the private theater. The room was used in the 1980’s to screen first release films and currently, state of the art surround sound and HD projection. For about $20 per person, you can reserve the theater for your group .

You’ll have the theater to yourself with tons of movies to choose from (you get to select only one though), all you can eat Reese’s and it’s really close to the indoor hot tub, sauna and outdoor pool area if you decide to do something else. I fell asleep and missed THE END but we had a short walk to our opulent suite and sweet dreams.

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I think the pictures speak volumes…it was a heavenly wake-up and the formal breakfast/brunch was artfully presented.

Afterward, we took advantage of the cool morning air, a bike ride and further exploring the property…

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A special thanks to my sweet daughter/photographer, Jillian Curran of  Lumina Boston Photography, the pictures were too many, too wonderful to include all in this one post.

I hope you have as much fun as we did!

THE END

 

 

 

 

Blue Ridge Oyster Festival Pairing with Blenheim Vineyards

 Last weekend my husband Bob and I met at Dave MatthewsBlenheim Vineyards with Nick Attaway, VP of Artist Development for Vagrant Records, formerly employed by RED LIGHT MANAGEMENT/ATO RECORDS, ARISTA.  Nick and his partner, Justin Billcheck are coordinating the 2nd Annual Blue Ridge Oyster Festival, along with Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company and Cerberus Productions , benefitting the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The event will be held in Nelson County, VA on the 21st of April, 2012. Looking forward to this since I missed it last year.

Our mission was to select a wine to be released in conjunction with the festival that pairs well with oysters.  Accompanying Nick was his wife, Dominique Attaway, a professional photographer and oenophile.  Nick arranged for us to do a barrel tasting with Blenheims’ winemaker, Kirsty Harmon.

I had visited Blenheim several times without prior notice, but never had the opportunity to meet Kirsty personally. Gracious and serious about her wines, it was apparent that she was determined to bottle wines with a clean crisp quality and not intended to win competitions just because they appealed to the judges. The three that we sampled were a 2011 Table White: 2/3 Viognier and 1/3 Chardonnay, a Rose: a blend of Cabernet, Mourvedre and Merlot all in stainless steel  and a Chardonnay with 25% aged in French, Hungarian and American oak barrels.

The Table White was crisp, vibrant and would pair well with oysters and seafood. The Chardonnay was creamier- nice with a minerality and not overly oaky, and the Rose ideal, chilled for sipping on a warm Spring day. I think it was pretty obvious which wine would be chosen and after some deliberation, it was the Table White.

If you want to see some excellent photography, check out Dominique’s website and some of the shots she captured. We had a similar vision but her pictures were certainly better than mine.

I think Kirsty’s personality came across as sweet, serious and humble, committed to quality and I look forward to her future wines.

I  noticed something that had eluded me on past visits to Blenheim, the diamond reflection from the ceiling of the tasting room floor to the barrel room.

I thought it was kind of cool! Thanks for the invitation to Blenheim!

Dreaming Tree Wines-Cork or Not To Cork?

Courtesy of a friend at Coran Capshaw’s Red Light Management Company in Charlottesville, a much anticipated package arrived at my doorstep.  Carefully tearing open the shipping box and immersed in peanuts (not sure if they’re recycleable?) I found an artistically packaged box containing the first three bottles of Dreaming Tree wines.    The  labels are made with 100% recycled paper,  the bottles weigh 1/4 pound less than normal bottles so they cost less to ship showing their commitment to saving energy and sustainability.

The crossover between wine lover and music lover placed me in an immediate quandary.  First instinct: Invite my closest family members for a blind tasting to determine how really good these wines are OR close second: save the wines as a collectable bit of Dave Matthews memorabilia. The jury is still out and I’m looking for feedback from wine afficionadoes and/or  Dave Matthews Band fans.  Everything about me is in battle over this decision.  I looked on the website and the wines are sold out but I think I can find the wines individually at retail stores.

The Dreaming Tree Wines

The Chardonnay- “When I first met Dave, we talked about making a Chardonnay that captured the distinct citrus notes of the Central Coast. With its big fruit and loads of spice, we think this wine lives up to that promise. We hope you agree.” – Steve Reeder

The Cabernet Sauvignon- has classic aromas of blackberry, cherry and herbal notes wrapped by toasted vanilla. They had this one at our local Target store.

Crush is the wine I’m most curious about especially since it’s had such rave reviews!

“…maybe most important is where you drink it, and who you’re with when you do. When it came time to pick the flavors for their Dreaming Tree Crush wine, Steve, Dave and Tom already considered each other pretty good company (and Dodger and Moose just sweetened the deal). But something about an afternoon under a warm California sun, on an old pier down by a quiet pond and suddenly that wine’s giving up flavors you never knew were there. ”  Dodger and Moose are beloved vineyard dogs of Tom Gore!   Tom Gore is the director of vineyards at Simi Winery in california.

Returning to my dilemna, the bottle is so cool, the seal on the cork is reflective

and the cork itself is collectable. For the moment I have determined to keep the set in the box-this is probably bad for the wine so maybe I should lay it down?  Also, the whole reason that Dave and Steve made this wine is to drink it!  Contra-purpose if I store it.  Hmmmmm….as for now, no tasting notes from Charlottesville, I’m keeping the bottles corked!

Your thoughts?

Dave Matthews’ Dreaming Tree Update

Dreaming Tree Afoot!
Paulette Musselman snapped this at Dave's Blenheim Winery in Charlottesville

If you’re a fan of Dave Matthews and a wine lover, you already know aboutThe Dreaming Tree WinesI wrote a post about Dreaming Tree Wine in September when very few people were aware of it; now, in a short period of time fans are all over their wines  (disclaimer-not because of my blogpost).  If you have “fanned” or “liked”  their Facebook page, the prevailing question is regarding availability.  The Crush wine is very high on DMB fans Christmas wish lists.   Even though the Dreaming Tree representatives respond quite well to comments on Facebook  questions still persist.

So, here’s the lowdown:

  • You can order from their website, but shipping regulations restrict them from shipping to certain states
  • Dreaming Tree Wines is licensed to ship wine to the following states: Alaska, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
  • At this point, they do not ship internationally.
  • Unfortunately, the website does not have a list of retailers, although it may be coming soon, retailers that carry Clos Du Bois is a good bet, small local discount liquor and wine stores, Randalls, Central Liquor Stores Jewel grocery stores and where I found it, Target!
  • Definitely follow them on Facebook for the latest events.
  • Dreaming Tree Wines Customer Service
    Phone: (855) 839-2962
    Fax: (707) 251.4995
    E-mail: customerservice@dreamingtreewines.com
  • Suggestion for Dreaming Tree Wines-Add a list of retailers for your fans!

I Spy…Dreaming Tree Wine

Dreaming Tree Wine for Sale in Charlottesville
Only 14.99 at Target

I’m expecting some Dreaming Tree wine any day delivered to my doorstep.  Just like a little child waits for a birthday card, a valentine or  a toy ordered out of a catalog.  In the meantime, I headed off to pick up cold medicine and herbal tea  trying to avoid an ensuing cold.  Lo and behold, sidestepping down the wine aisle I fortuitously stumbled upon the Dreaming Tree Wine!  Yes, TARGET has the Chardonnay  and the Cabernet Sauvignon. So, if you’re out shopping and want a taste of something a part of Dave Matthews, try your local Target store! Look for future reviews of the wine when I feel better and can actually taste and smell.

Dreaming Tree Wines and Dave Matthews

In case you’ve missed it, the latest “buzz” in wine is crossing the continent as we speak!

 11 years ago, our family had decided to move to a beautiful, relatively small town in Virginia with world-wide recognition!  Historians will insist that  Charlottesville is most notable because of the influence of one man, Thomas Jefferson.  However, talk to anyone under a certain age (ahem!) and they’ll have you know it is more well-known as the residence (albeit, part-time) of Dave Matthews and the DMB!  Two decades ago at the Earth Day Festival in the City of Charlottesville, the Dave Matthews Band was publicly launched. in 2001 I had no idea who the heck DMB was, but friends of ours in Dallas were envious that we could move to the “birthplace of  The Dave Matthews Band“!  How exciting!  A couple of years after we moved, a family member (name to be withheld) was eating a slice of pizza with us at Christian’s Pizza on the Downtown Mall and literally bit through her plastic fork when she realized Dave Matthews was sitting behind us. We kept the fork for quite some time as a memento and at that point I realized how exciting (wink) it was to live in Charlottesville!  Unbeknownst to us, in 2000, Dave Matthews had established Blenheim Vineyards, a family operated winery a scenic 20 minute drive southeast of Charlottesville.   Now in 2011, Dave is launching another collaboration in wine making with Steve Reeder of California called  The Dreaming Tree Wines, named after the song. 

Creative Factor– Dave: “A mutual respect that doesn’t rely on his (Steve’s) knowledge of music or my knowledge of wine”  and Steve: “I make wines for people to drink, I don’t make wines for people to put in their cellar”.

    Steve Reeder graduated from University of California, Davis and according to Steve,  was inspired to make wine at the 1st Middleburg Virginia Festival in the 1970’s!  As a youngster, he worked for a while  on his uncle’s farm in Indiana pitching in with beer making in the barn. Later he lived in Germany and was introduced to exceptional lager beers and his parents wine cellar 🙂  His resume includes Kendall-Jackson, Fosters Wine Estates and most recently, Simi Winery.

Check out their website, super cool and follow the path on the map! Does this mean the path ends in Virginia with Blenheim Winery making wine for The Dreaming Tree label as well? Could we cross the Great Divide between California wines and Virginia wines? And by the way,  I love the Cork!  We’ll soon know, perhaps someone can shed more light on this? All I know is that it sounds great, looks like fun and takes the pretentiousness out of wine drinking!