Seven ironies. True love. A little wine.

Ironies 1 – 3

Seven years ago today, I fell in love. It’s the day I met my wife.

Irony #1. Only three days earlier I was on a plane bound for Pheonix, AZ. I was en route to the national design conference and to celebrate a few career successes that were being highlighted. For several great reasons, I decided on the plane that I had zero want or desire to need to be in a relationship for the next few years …  all I needed in my life was time with my two sons and to put my head down and work even harder. Then on the last night of the conference … I looked across the room. Oh, Irony.

It’s super ridiculous, but 100% true. Everything stopped and I knew she was the one. I know. I don’t believe in it either. But, that night, we started a conversation that hasn’t stopped for seven years. Well, mostly. Irony #2 was that we lived 2,554 miles apart. It took us a few months to decide if this thing was or was not happening.

Thank goodness for airplanes.

I love airplanes. When I was a kid I wanted to be a navy pilot (we’ll come back to it). More importantly, thanks to the miracle of flight (and Skype) we began dating via Southwest and Virgin America. After nine months of back and forth, she moved here and my dreams of being an Orange County beach bum were crushed. Irony #3: it snowed nearly every single week that winter for my SoCal transplant. It never does that. Never.

Today, she’s my wife, business partner, and a force for amazing things in our home and our community.

But what about the wine!

Patience! The first place I took Laurel when she landed at Dulles was through Northern Virginia’s wine country. Not only because it is beautiful, but because we had to if we wanted to get home. Along the way we past established vineyards like 868, Doukenie, Breaux and another one that was just getting started.

On that first trip, we followed up a day of hiking in Shenandoah National Park with a trip to Rappahannock Cellars. RC was the first place that I fell in love with wine … particularly Viognier. I was eager to share Virginia wine with my California girl. She was not let down.

Virginia Viognier

Virginia and Viognier.

According to Virginia Wine, Viognier is THE signature white grape of the state. I’d have to agree. This French transplant seems to really like the Virginia countryside. I’ve had many delicious glasses of it at wineries all over the state. TJ would be proud!

We could in the United States make as great a variety of wines as are made in Europe, not exactly of the same kinds, but doubtless as good. – Thomas Jefferson … for real this time 😉

Chardonnay travels well and gets all the fame and glory. I like it, but in a world filled with Chardonnays, be different – be a Viognier! I’d like to think that was something Steve Jobs once said, but it’s doubtful.

I love the floral perfumy nose and the peach and honey tinted tropical fruit flavors. Depending on where it is grown and the winemaker, it can be tender and light or lush and intense. Just like a good relationship. 


Power Couples a.k.a. Sharing the Love

2017 Award winning Maggie Malick Viognier

Maggie and Mark Malick

The first time I visited Maggie Malick’s Wine Caves was for my friend Matt’s 40th birthday party in 2015. It was the third winery of the day and we had a bus. Sooo …  I’m sure you get the picture. While I do remember the wine being good, particularly the Tannat, what I most remember is talking to Mark.

Irony #4. Mark is a retired Navy Pilot. (See, I told you it would be important later) We didn’t talk much about the wine, just about how he ended up owning a vineyard and being lucky enough to be married to his awesome wine-making wife Maggie. Actually, to this day I don’t think we’ve talked about wine at all. Motorcycles, dogs, tractors, travel … check … but not much wine. I must always be too busy drinking it.

Despite the great visit, I hadn’t been back to Maggie Malick’s since.

Fast forward to summer 2018. In my free time (thick sarcasm here), I also run a local farmers market. On one Friday night, Mary-Anne (a.k.a. super-cool woman) from Meals on Wheels set up at the market to spread the word about the organization. A week later I was at 868 picking up my wine club bottles and decided to head down the road in the other direction and swing into Maggie’s to give it another shot. You can see where this is going right?

IRONICALLY #5, when I walked through the door, Mary Anne was working behind the tasting room bar. Needless to say, I had a great tasting experience that day. I rushed home to tell Laurel how ironic the day was, and more importantly, how amazing the wines were.

We’ve been back many times since June. So much so, that our Great Dane Josie is pretty much on a 1st name basis with everyone now.

Speaking of great … they make great wine. Maggie’s 2017 Viognier is stellar … 2018 Women’s International Wine Competition Gold Medal stellar. The citrus is intense and wonderful. I’m tempted to go open the bottle in my wine fridge right now just typing this. More on the wine below.

Josie the great dane at Maggie Malick Wine Caves
Josie LOVES going to Maggie’s on Sundays. I should have numbered this as an irony too … I said we couldn’t get a Dane. Thank goodness I was wrong.

Making New Friends

Irony #6. Seems like just last week that I posted a story about a wine I love from Northgate Vineyards … because it was. Ironically, shortly after writing that story, my friend Rachel informed me that some young couple was taking over Northgate. But, she also said that Nate and Sarah make damn good wine. So good, in fact, that she felt compelled to make sure we all met them. So we did. Rachel was right. It’s damn good wine.

Northgate Vineyard Virginia

On Friday, our crew headed up the hill to Northgate to get a look under the hood with the new owners. When we first met Nate, Rachael made sure to explain that I was probably bummed they were taking over.

Good friend. All Lies. All … Lies!

Nate and Sarah started Walsh Family Wine in 2014 with a delicious Sauvignon Blanc and have grown more ambitious each year. We visited right after the end of an early harvest. 2018 has been a very challenging season for agriculture around here. Regardless of those challenges, we got to taste some promising Cab Franc rose that was only 10 days old. I can’t wait to try it again when it’s all grown up.

Despite being totally thrown under the bus by my friend, I’m very happy that Northgate is in such good hands … and I really like Nate. A lot. Especially after he lamented the fact that the interior designers frowned upon his idea of bean bag chairs in front of the fireplace in the tasting room. He also says he’s naive enough to believe that if he makes great wine everything else will take care of itself. I like that attitude. I was naive enough to start a wine blog with absolutely zero experience and look how great this is going. Honestly, I think Nate has a much better chance at success than I do. He has some amazing experiences in Virginia, Oregon, and Central Otago New Zealand vineyards to back him up. It shows.

Walsh Family Wine 2017 Viognier Back LabelThe wines are really damn good.

We sampled the Rose, Sauv Blanc, a super-secret really delicious red blend that I refuse to tell you about (yet), and a wonderful Viognier.

Hold, please … I’m gonna open the bottle. Yep. Still great.

This Viognier is a blend of two Walsh Family Wine Loudoun County Virginia sites – 60% Bethany Ridge + 40% October One. Soooo good. Flowers and peach on the nose, peach, apricot, lemon zest. Yum! Sarah says it better on the back of the label: “This Viognier shows vibrant aromatics of apricot, peach and lemon drop, with a lush, spice-filled mid-palate and a lengthy, warm finish.” Lush indeed.

I haven’t had a chance to meet Sarah yet. Rachel says she is amazing and REALLY good at telling stories. I love a good wine story! We’re already making plans to go back.

Unfortunately for Nate and Sarah, I fear they are stuck with us now. Zero pretention, great wine and a great sense of humor. We’ll be back often… Probably next week.

Ummm … What’s the point?

Irony #7. This is a love letter to my wife and not really a wine review. It’s a thank you for supporting this little side project of mine that has grown from a minor fascination into a full-blown obsession over the last year … along with the countless other things we are building together.

But … it’s also a letter of support to some other husband and wife teams who are busting their butts to make something worthwhile with the people they love.

I love that … and Viognier. Yep, I love Viognier. So I guess it is about wine after all.

Maggie Malick Award Winning 2017 Viognier
Maggie Malick Award Winning 2017 Viognier

Wine not just get to the point!

Rating: 4 outta 5
1 star1 star1 star1 star

Wine: 2017 Maggie Malick Viognier

From: Virginia: Loudoun County

Grapes: Viognier

Cost: $28

Other Stuff: I get some awesome notes or orange blossom and lemon zest. Super flavorful with tropical fruits, honey, dates, apricot, and lemon. This is a bold wine. I love it.

Walsh Family Wine 2017 Viognier
Walsh Family Wine 2017 Viognier Back Label

Wine not just get to the point!

Rating: 4 outta 5
1 star1 star1 star1 star

Wine: 2017 Walsh Family Wine Loudoun County Viognier

From: Virginia: Loudoun County

Grapes: Viognier

Cost: $27

Other Stuff: Lush!!! Apricots, peaches, lemon, honey. Yum. More please!!!