Thursday, December 9, 2010

Time for Red Wine...

As the weather turns a bit chilly and we are bundling up for blustery days ahead...most people turn to drinking red wine. Red wine usually consists of more tannins. (Tannins are what seems to dry out our mouth, removes the saliva giving us the pucker effect.) A wine that has tannins pairs best with rich meats & sauces and of course, my personal favorite, chocolate. In the colder weather we tend to put meals in crock pots, sit by the fireplace with sweets while entertaining so a red wine is poured & enjoyed more often.
Some of the Corcoran reds I will be pairing this winter would be the Cabernet Franc with a beef stew or pot roast, Chambourcin with chicken pot pie and Malbec with chocolate.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Warm Spiced Wine...Anyone??

As the weather gets a bit chilly we often wonder what to drink...well, I have a wonderful recipe that will warm your insides :)
Warm Spiced Wine Ingredients:
2 cups water
2-3 cinnamon sticks
8-10 whole allspice
8-10 whole cloves
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1/2 an orange, plus orange slices for garnish
1 bottle of Corcoran Cabernet Franc
Combine water, spices, sugar & orange zest in a 2 quart saucepan. Stir & cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Simmer over low heat for one hour. Strain out spices & return to pan while adding one bottle of Corcoran red wine.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Is Turkey calling your name?? Family and friends are coming and you need to prepare a feast...
One of the most popular red wines that is paired with a turkey dinner is Pinot Noir, but since it doesn't really grow here on the East Coast, what will you choose now?? How about a Corcoran Chambourcin??
Chambourcin is a French-American hybrid grape, light in body with bright cherry-berry and cranberry flavors, perfect for your holiday meal.
Come wine with us at our Waterford location or at Hunters Run Wine Barn on Route 9, we both are offering the Corcoran 2009 Chambourcin.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Pairings

Happy Halloween!
This time of year I have lots and lots of chocolate treats around and I am always trying to think of wines to pair them with.
One of my favorite pairings is a Milky Way Dark and our Corcoran Malbec. Another, surprisingly, favorite one is a red gummy worm (has lots of cherry flavor) with our Chambourcin. But how do we pair those potato chips with all that salt...must be bubbles, Sparkling Wine is great with salty foods. Maybe you have some buttery popcorn balls lying of the best pairings with popcorn is a slightly oaked Chardonnay and our 2008 was phenomenal with popcorn.
Enjoy your holiday candy and let me know what wines you pair this season.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Virginia Wine Month is Here!

Harvest is just about done and we had a very interesting year.
Besides the battle of the stink bug, we tried some new yeasts, we have new grape varieties and our science experiment that we did was punch-downs vs. pump-overs on our reds. I am very excited to say the least of how well our reds are progressing thus far.
Cheers to all our fellow wineries, winemakers and wine enthusiasts this month as we try a new Virginia wine each day :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

2010 Vineyards Looking Good

Our Cabernet Franc vineyard is looking good in all this heat. Previously we had heat and rain which created a lot of vigor so we have hedged, leaf-pulled and dropped some fruit so all the vines energy is going into producing the best fruit.
We have eliminated herbicides which is what we used to spray at the bottom of the vines to keep the weeds down. We now just let it grow and pull them out by hand when needed.
All in all, with the late frost behind us and a heat wave on us, the vines are 3 weeks ahead of schedule and looking good. A shower or two of rain wouldn't hurt.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Weather and Grapes

Mother Nature is a huge part of growing grapes and making wine, especially since wine is made in the vineyard.

When rain comes we just think about how we will have to mow more, with wind it is worrying about what will blow over and when frost comes we worry about all our young plants...well that is precisely what happened to our Viognier grapes this year...FROST! We lost all our Viognier grapes to the frost.

Not to worry Cabernet Franc lovers...those grapes are fine and flourishing. That is one of the problems about being a farmer/grape grower...some years you get an excellent harvest and some years you don't, but you only have that one year to harvest worthy fruit to make into wine.

Cheers to a good 2010 harvest!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wine vs Beer Dinner...

It's the US vs. Canada all over again as Magnolias at the Mill will host one of their most ambitious event dinners yet this Thursday, May 20th. Chef Mark will pair beers from Canada and wine from Corcoran Vineyards and it is up to you to decide which was the best.
Here is a sneak peak at the menu...
Greeting with our pre-release Rose or Central City Pale Ale
1st Course
Seared Peppered Scallop, Shrimp & Pineapple Quinoa, Citrus Beurre Blanc
Our 2008 Riesling vs. Brasseurs Illimites Simple Malt Altbier
2nd Course
Speck Wrapped Asparagus, Red & Gold Beet Carpaccio, Shaved Parmesan Reggiano
Our 2008 Chardonnay vs. Trou du Diable La Buteuse
3rd Course
Tempura Soft Shell Crab, Pickled Green Tomatoes
Our 2007 Mary's Cuvee vs. Brasseurs Illimites Simple Malt IPA
4th Course
Wood Grilled Beef Medallions, Chipotle Whipped Sweet Potatoes
Our 2007 Meritage vs. A l'Abri de La Tempete Corne de Brume
Dessert Course
Strawberry Shortcake, Shortbread Cookies, Grand Marnier Cream
Our 2007 Seyval Blanc vs. Brasseurs Illimites Simple Malt Imperial Stout
Is your mouth watering?? This is going to be a very hard decision especially since I am a wine drinker and a beer drinker, but I am up for the challenge! Are you?? Come join Jim and I on Thursday...let the fun begin :)
You can book your seat on line at or by calling Magnolias at 540-338-9800.
See you there.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Drink Local Wine

I have been thinking and thinking about what to actually write about the Drink Local Wine conference last weekend that hasn't already been Blogged about, Tweeted or posted on Facebook.
Overall, I thought it was a good conference, it is always nice to be able to taste the wide variety of wines we have right here in Virginia. To think that we can have 20 or so Viogniers right in one room to taste, is awesome. Chat with the wine makers and truly get the insight on how they process the fruit and where the fruit is grown, all of which makes a huge difference in the final product taste.
We tasted some exceptionally awesome red blends or Meritage wines. Each and every one of them was different. All using Bordeaux grapes, but by putting them into different ratios and having completely different growing regions makes each one of these wines unique. For instance, our 2007 Meritage was with Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend so it is going to be much more fruitier than one made with Petit Verdot and/or Cabernet Sauvignon.
There was also a "take-away" message that I must mention...consumers still don't think about drinking local wine like they eat/buy local food. And how can we change that?? One person, one store, one restaurant at a time. Putting our products in front of consumers as often as we can and writing about it...via social media!
All and all it was FUN...but the most exciting time for me was meeting all the fellow wine enthusiasts and bloggers/tweeps/facebook fans.
Hope to continue on the enthusiasm of drink local wine...


Friday, April 23, 2010

Wine Terminology Again...

Here is a blog from the past which is appropriate as we begin the busy wine tasting season. I thought it would be fun to go over some of the Wine Terminology that you will be hearing in the tasting rooms or at any of the upcoming wine festivals. Some will be told that the wine is Buttery, Chewy, Firm, or even Velvety, but what does that really mean? Here are a few definitions I think are very helpful…
The presences of natural fruit acids that lend a tart, crisp taste to the wine.
AROMA: Smells in wine that originates from the grape.
BOUQUET: Smells from winemaking, aging and bottle age.
BUTTERY: Rich, creamy flavor associated with barrel fermentation.
CHEWY: Wine that has a very deep, textured and mouth-filling sensation.
CORKED: Wine that has been tainted with moldy smells or other obvious flaws from a bad cork. DRY: No sugar or sweetness remaining and a fruity wine can be dry.
EARTHY: Flavors and aromas of mushroom, soil and mineral.
FIRM: Texture and structure of a young, tannic red.
LEGS: Teardrop impressions of alcohol weightiness that are visible on the inside edges of a wine glass.
MALOLACTIC: Conversion of hard, malic acid, which is green apple flavors, in wine to soft, lactic acid, like rich butter flavors.
TANNIN: A drying, astringent sensation on the palate that is generally associated with heavier red wines.
TERROIR: French word reflecting the expression of soil, topography and climate in a wine.
VELVETY: Smooth-textured with deep, rich aromas and flavors.
VINTAGE: Year that grapes were harvested and fermented to make a wine.
Also...we have been doing quite a bit with oak alternatives and here is a quick list of some of the oak attributes to wine:
Vanillin, Caramel, Maple, Creme Brulee, Cinnamon & Chocolate just to name a few. Understanding that these flavors are derived from the barrels with certain toast levels, not the grapes.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Earth Day!!

Earth Day is officially April 22nd but what can we do everyday?
Here in the winery we have implemented several new practices to help conserve water. We are not using wine barrels as our storage vessels any longer which was 90% of our water usage. Just takes 10 gallons of water to make 1 bottle of wine. We have taken 2 of those old barrels to catch the rain water off our winery roof to use as the water in our herb garden. Of course we recycle all our wine bottles used in the tasting room as well as recycling around the house.
Looking to enjoy a local dinner on Earth Day...American Flatbread in Ashburn is offering an Earth Day dinner on April 22nd and it will pair very nicely with our Meritage...great way to eat fresh & local.

Everyone can do something to help and every little bit helps!
Happy Earth Day!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Have you been to Hunters Run Wine Barn yet?

As many of you know, we opened up another tasting room, right on Route 9. Geri Nolan, owner of the Wine Barn, has created an excellent atmosphere to pair our wine and music and great people. Geri and her sister, Anne work behind the bar every weekend, but this weekend, April 17th, I will have the pleasure of serving up some of our Corcoran wines. I think to make it a special occasion, I will pour a couple new things. Hmmm...what to pour is the question. So to find out, you will have to come visit Hunters Run Wine Barn at 40325 Charlestown Pike (Route 9) in Hamilton, VA...see you there!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Favorite Weekend Pairing

Now that the wonderful Easter holiday is behind me...I am contemplating which was my favorite wine and food pairing??
I must say the sparkling wine (CAVA from Spain and Sofia from California) were spectacular with our brunch. Since we had such a mix bag of food, the sparkling paired perfectly!
But then came all those dessert treats that the bunny left in our baskets...chocolate of course...and what pairs best with dark chocolate?? I would have to say our Malbec and it was yummy!!
What was your favorite food & wine pairing last weekend??

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Pairings...

Spring is finally here and an Easter brunch or dinner is right on our heels. What to pair with all those delicious foods we are planning on serving.

Remember...when in doubt...serve sparkling!!

Lets start with brunch...I personally like a white wine best with my breakfast foods but think a light red with low tannins will pair well when serving mainly meats & eggs. Usually we enjoy a sparkling wine with a little orange juice (just to be on the healthy side) and that to me is my favorite Easter treat.

Ham, one of the hardest meats to pair because of the smokey and sweet, honey glazed flavors. A sparkling Rose' is a good match as well as a fruity Pinot Noir or maybe a lightly sweet Riesling. The key is to not over power the meat with a heavy, more tannic red wine. Also served during spring is lamb, loaded with rich flavors, I believe lamb pairs exceptionally well with Malbec or Cabernet...yum!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wet Feet??

Who likes wet feet?
Not me and most definitely not the vines.
When we had all that snow...I believe 75 inches here at Corkys Farm this winter...although it was quite a bit, the snow acts as an insulator to the dormant vines. Moisture is gradually seeping into the ground as the snow melts, which is good. And the melting can take several weeks so not all at once!
However, with all this rain, that is not good. We had roughly 4 inches fall in two days and that just creates run offs & puddles, which is too much moisture at one time. Now we will be having some nice sunny days, so that is great and will help the drying out.
Wet winters & dry summers is what we vines love!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Where do all those flavors come from in wine?
When I swirl, sniff, sip and savor a wine and I get peach, apricot, raspberry or even spice do they get into the wine?? Have you ever wondered??
Well...I know that I don't add peaches or apricots or even spice while making the where does it come from??
There are so many variables that play a role in capturing the fruit characteristics. First it is from the vineyard as we reach veraison the herbaceous character becomes red fruit and then black fruit as it ripens. For example Methoxypyrazine (bell pepper aromas) will diminish with proper vineyard management.
Second is when we decide which yeast strain to use. Each strain has different characteristics which allow us to release the captured compounds from the grapes as it ferments.
And last would be our storage vessel. Oak and stainless steel both play a role in the wine flavors, like how coconut, clove, vanilla and even spice all come from the oak not the grape.
Now...what are you drinking tonight and what flavors do you taste??

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wine ... Made in the Vineyard

Here at Corcoran we fully believe that the wine is made in the vineyard.

What we mean by this is that we have an intergrated vineyard management plan which includes; canopy management, pest management and soil management.

Canopy Management ... includes all aspects of the grapevine above the ground (trunk, cordon, stems, leaves, flowers and grapes).

Pest Management ... is all the viruses, mildews, rots, as well as all the insect pests.

Soil Management ... is understanding the nutrient cycle in the vineyard, including maintaining a proper pH in the soil which allows for the optimum nutrients for the grapes.

Why is this so important? I am currently tasting this vintage trying to determine if we captured the varietal character that was present in the grapes at harvest and formed during wine making. As I am tasting, I have to ask the following questions ... Did we capture fruit flavors, acidity, tannins? Is there anything unique about this wine? Are there off odors or flavors?

So after tasting the 2009 wines and answering these questions, I am now ready to start the exciting aspect of blending.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow - Snow - go away...

...and come back again another day!!

Corcoran will be CLOSED this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, February 13th & 14th as we were hit pretty hard by the snow drifts during the 2nd round-blizzard.

Enjoy this time indoors drinking new wines and try cooking with wine!


Friday, February 5, 2010

Malbec Vertical...

Corcoran is going to be celebrating Valentines by offering a Malbec vertical with some delicious chocolates. We have truffles and special dark chocolates to be paired especially with our Malbec. Malbec is a Bordeaux varietal that got is popularity in Argentina, but has been in the states for some time but used mainly as a blending grape. I have one specific grower who has planted Malbec here in Loudoun County, Wild Meadow Vineyard, and I have had the privilege of making the wine from it every year. Our Malbec has less tannins, more of a medium body with a beautiful plum color. It has flavors of dark cherry jam, mocha, coffee and a bit of spice which makes it pair so lovely with chocolate. So...reserve your spot at the bar with Lori to taste our Malbec this Valentine's weekend...YUM!!


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winter Wonderland...again!

Although we are having what seems to be record breaking snow storms at all the wrong times, weekends, we are enjoying the time off with our family.

I have also had the privilege of enjoying several wine dinners out where our wine has been poured...first the James Beard Foundation in New York...then at the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville, which was a benefit for the Loudoun Interfaith. At this particular event...I had the pleasure to taste for the very first time, beef sweetbreads. What would you think "sweetbreads" would mean if you saw it on the was nothing as I expected. Since I had no idea what it was, I took a bite and it was alright, not to the texture that I would really like...but then I found out it was actually the brains of the cow...OMG. I tried it but honestly could not eat anymore of it once I found out what it was...must be a phobia thing...please let me know if you have had these "sweetbreads" and what did you think??

Well...back to the winter we are enjoying...actually we have been planning and planning quite a bit on how we can help our customers better understand and enjoy wine. We have put together 7 different workshops for all to enjoy from a Barrel Tasting without the Barrels to A Blending Session with Me. Check out our website or join us on MeetUp for all the latest information!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Successful Weekend

Wow! What a great weekend of wine!

We started off on Friday night being honored to have our 2008 Viognier poured at the James Beard Foundation in New York City. It was absolutely a wonderful experience being there and chatting about our wines and Virginia wines! Can you believe that there are still people out there that haven't had a chance to taste a Virginia wine. Boy are they missin' out!

I also had the pleasure of meeting this wonderful family here in the photo with Chef Christopher Edwards of the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville, Virginia. He was our "celebrity" chef that night at the James Beard House and he did a great job on all the food...delicious!!

Then on Sunday we started our new Educational Workshop here at Corcoran. We explained all about oak and how oak plays a role in the winery. Barrels or no barrels?? We enjoyed all the questions and enthusiasm about Corcoran wines. Look for a series of dates for our next wine class sessions! Register here...


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Barrel Tasting without the Barrels??

Well...we are off and running in this new year and ready to start our Educational Series here at Corcoran Vineyards (in the Winery).

Our first class of the year will be a Barrel Tasting...but without the Barrels on Sunday, January 24th starting at 1:00 pm. We have gotten rid of all our barrels in the 2009 harvest and have opted to use only stainless steel with miro-ox. We use several different oak alternatives and that is what we would like to teach in our first class. Not only about oak alternatives, but about oak. What does Hungarian, French or American Oak really taste like. In our class we will be tasting each oak and analyzing their aromas and flavor profiles. We will then be able to taste wine aged in each of the different oaks, not in barrels, but will you be able to taste the different flavors or smell the different aromas??

Come into the winery and experience something like no other. Limited seating and registration is at


Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year...New Name...New Ideas!

Happy New Year I move forth I would like to start really discussing all the things I enjoy with the grapes...Off the Vine!

I believe it is time to take the next step and jazz up this blog, add more information about my passion of making wine, more food and wine pairings and add our upcoming class schedule and events here at Corcoran.

Have you always wanted to learn about the different oaks we use...American, French, Hungarian?? Or have you wanted to find out how different wine glasses can actually make your wine taste different?? What about blending do we do that?? Is winemaking truly a science or just an art?? These and many more will be discussed this year.

I look forward to 2010 and educating a few more wine enthusiasts!