VIP PICKUP PARTY…
at the AG DISTRICT CENTER
Friday, December 15th
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
at The Ag District
Happy Holidays! It's hard to believe that we are already immersed in the holiday season and a brand new year is just around the corner. It has certainly been a year of change and progress here on the farm. Sometimes the progress is difficult to see from our customers' perspective...a lot of behind the scenes planning, construction, and preparation. Many of these projects are finally at the point where they will all come together and the years of effort will be more evident as we are able to offer new products and enhance the experience of visiting the Ag District. In the meantime, make sure you try out our new products as they appear in the tasting room and give us some feedback. We appreciate your comments and suggestions as we continue to make every visit to the Ag District a memorable one!
Our VIP Pickup Party this month will be held on December 15th from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm. We will have an "Ugly Christmas Sweater" theme... so break out your gaudiest holiday clothes and join the fun! This event is FREE for our members (2 tickets per membership), but does REQUIRE advance RSVP no later than December 12th. To RSVP please send an email to VIP-Club@ChrysalisWine.com. Verbal RSVP’s and voice mail responses cannot be guaranteed confirmation.
Our fall and winter hours are now in effect and the Ag District Center will be open 10am – 5pm Monday through Sunday. We will be closed on Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. Please remember… as always, our last tasting will start an hour before closing. Last call for purchases of open bottles or glasses will be 30 minutes before closing!
The red wine selection for our VIP Club members this month is Chrysalis Vineyards 2014 Tannat. Hailing from the Madiran region of southwest France, where Tannat is the primary grape grown and used for blending, this black-berried grape has found a perfect home in Virginia. The first impression is one of stewed red and black fruits, plums and blackberris in particular, leading to a soupçon of Christmas spices, cigar and dark coffee. Imbibing delivers all of this plus a very noticeable touch of cranberry. The big structured tannins and moderate acidity portend a long life in the bottle. To marry well with those big tannins, well you need fat. No Vegans Need Apply! Grilled pork belly in a cranberry reduction, with balsamic or cider is the perfect match. For dessert, think about a double chocolate cheesecake with cranberry sauce. Again, fat is a must.
Our white wine selection for November is Chrysalis Vineyards 2016 Petit Manseng. Petit Manseng originates in the Jurançon region of southwest France and Chrysalis Vineyards is the pioneer in bringing this grape to the United States. Petit Manseng requires a long growing season and produces small yields of high-quality grapes that are ideally suited to produce dessert wine. The grapes are frozen to simulate the process of an “ice wine,” concentrating the sugar and fruit flavors prior to being pressed and fermented. The wine is an aromatic nectar that is amber and viscous, yet balanced, without the cloying sweetness found in some dessert wines. You’re initially treated to a bright, floral nose, resplendent with honeysuckle, that opens up to reveal notes of honey, peach purée, and a bit of caramel. This carries through into mouth with a bit of golden delicious apple, candied pear and caramel joining the mix. Try our Petit Manseng to accompany bacon wrapped dates, glazed ham, or a hazelnut apple crisp. For a lighter holiday treat try mixing in a bit of ginger ale for a spicy holiday spritzer!
As a reminder to our members, all VIP wine is available for pickup at the Ag District Center tasting room anytime during regular business hours. If you can’t make it out to pick up your wines on a monthly basis, we will hold them for you. Due to storage limitations, however, we do ask that you pick them up once you accumulate a case (6 months). We can also arrange for wine to be shipped to most locations, at your request.
Also, please remember that you can always find your paired recipes and detailed tasting notes at www.ChrysalisWine.com in the Private VIP Club Area. Pairings and tasting notes are available for wines dating all the way back to 2007 (especially useful for any of those with older, aged vintages). Also check in with us or follow us on Facebook for updates and announcements.
NOTE: Please do not reply to this emailed Newsletter. Your email will not be handled in a timely manner or may even be lost.
Creative Mankind Painting and Wine
Saturday, December 16th
1 pm – 4 pm
Ag District Center
39025 John Mosby Hwy
Middleburg, VA 20117
Creative Mankind will be hosting a “paint and sip” event at Chrysalis Vineyards on Saturday, December 16th. (From their website: Creative Mankind is an art company that offers art classes and hosts parties and events for all ages. Our motto is “Everyone is a Creative Genius!” It's just a matter of people reconnecting with their creative self. Our mission is to enrich our community with art education and culture in a fun and accessible way.)
This month we will be painting a set of wine glasses!! So...spend a fun afternoon laughing, sipping and creating beautiful wine glasses to fill with your favorite Chrysalis Vineyards wine! This 3 hour event is just $40 and includes all art supplies, an awesome staff, and a lot of fun. Two wine glasses are included in the price of registration. Time permitting, additional glasses will be available for purchase. No experience is necessary. For additional information please contact Creative Mankind at 571-403-1912 or go to their website listed below. [Editor's Note: cut and paste this long link if it doesn't activate by clicking on it. Thanks.]
NOTE: Remember that this event is at our Champe Ford Events Center this month.
REPORT FROM THE TASTING ROOM
One holiday down and another is on the way. Traditionally, we’re entering our ‘slow season’ but it doesn’t feel like it! As I’m writing this, the day before Thanksgiving, we’ve been anything but slow and we’ve been sending customers home with multiple cases of wine. The colder weather means bolder, more robust red wines. We’ve sold out of our 2013 Petit Verdot and 2014 Papillon in the last few weeks, as well as the 2016 Albariño Verde and 2016 Mariposa. The 2013 Nebbiolo has made a guest appearance on our tasting menu, and that means we will probably sell through it by the end of the year.
For the month of December, we are running a special "Premium Whites" offer. Pick up a two-pack of our 2015 Albariño and our 2015 Viognier for $50 / $45 for members. This special package makes a great holiday gift or a nice addition to your holiday meal!
The VIP monthly pick-up party will be Friday, December 15th from 6 – 8pm. Since we love themed events, it’s an Ugly Sweater Party! Wear something hand-knit that your grandmother made but never fit right, something with a terrible holiday pun, or something you made to be the tackiest sweater ever. The staff will be dressed out in their own sweaters, of course.
If you’re still hunting for presents for the holidays, don’t forget wine makes a great gift. If you can’t pick it up or if you need it sent elsewhere – we do ship! Most packages take 3 – 5 business days with FedEx Ground or Home, so get your orders in before the middle of December to make sure it arrives on time! You can call the Tasting Room at 540-687-8222 to place an order.
All of us in the Tasting Room wish all of you a wonderful holiday season – and one filled with wine!
Laurie Stevens, Tasting Room Manager
REPORT FROM THE CELLAR
Well, primary fermentations are almost complete on all the wines in the cellar, with the exception of a couple of naturally-fermented ones, which tend to proceed at a slower pace in the now-cooler temperatures found in the cellar. All the reds have found their way into barrels and are continuing their journey to becoming the wines you’ll expect to see in the coming months and years. A ‘deep clean’ has now begun in earnest as we try to remove the detritus of the busy crush season and return the cellar to some kind of order. The first wines of the new bottling season have already been prepared and will find their way into your hands and onto the shelves at the Ag District in short order. It’s time now to say ‘Goodbye’ and ‘Thank You’ to our interns, Morgan Voss, Matt Crouse and Jacob Robinson, for joining us in another successful year at Chrysalis Vineyards.
Mark Patterson, Winemaker
REPORT FROM THE VINEYARD
Well, early November saw the last of the Norton grapes brought in on the Locksley Estate. The quality remained excellent throughout the harvest, although a few more tons would certainly have been appreciated. Much has been reported about the 2017 harvest in Northern Virginia, with varying degrees of accuracy, but this fall saw some excellent weather for the completion of ripening, particularly in the reds. A couple of heavy rains and some high heat and humidity in early and mid-September gave way to a long period of sunny, mild and dry (almost too dry) weather throughout the later part of the harvest. This made for a happy cellar and vineyard team as they didn’t have to deal with the inclement weather usually present in the mid-Atlantic region in the fall. Now, as we wait to start pruning the Norton vines when the canes have ‘hardened off’, Fredy and his team have been busily cleaning up and putting away the deer fencing and bird netting, draining the irrigation lines, and winterizing all the farm equipment. It’s a wholesale change of pace from the full-on crush of picking the last two and a half months, that’s for sure.
Mark Patterson, Winemaker
REPORT FROM THE FARM
Building an artisan cheese making facility is never a straightforward endeavor. There are many small systems that have to be assembled and devised to work together in order to make cheese. But we can’t just make cheese! We have to make safe and tasty cheese and still allow enough time for keeping records, packaging, affinage, and cleaning. (Affinage is a fancy way to describe how the cheesemaker cares for the cheese during the ripening process. It usually involves a lot brushing, washing and flipping of cheese.) Cheesemakers have to wear plenty of hats each day so our systems have to save time as well.
We recently installed a couple of systems that will help us make safe, tasty cheese and save time too. One is the milk receiving line. It is an inch and a half stainless steel pipe that will carry the fresh milk from the transport tank outside the building to the cheese vat inside. It is welded together. Each weld was inspected by the VA Dept. of Agriculture to make sure there are no rough edges so that it will be easy to clean. After the milk is in the vat, the line swings over and connects forming a loop with the COP sink. The COP sink heats cleaning solution in its wash tank that will be pumped through the milk receiving line to wash it in place. It is also used to wash small pieces of equipment. This system saves us from washing everything by hand and does a better job by keeping the water at least 160˚ F. If you happen to peek in the window the COP sink is the “coffin shaped” piece of equipment in the back corner of the make room.
The other system that is almost completed is the control panel wiring for our ripening rooms. We have 3 ripening rooms at LEFCC. Each room has equipment installed to cool and humidify the air inside. Obviously a Brie is different from a Cheddar. Some of that difference is created because those cheeses are ripened at different temperatures and humidity. Soon we will be able to control the conditions in each room independently from the control panel in the cheesemakers office. Farmstead cheesemakers have the unique ability to manage the process from pasture to plate. We really can’t “control” the process because have to take the milk that the cows give us. After coaxing the best milk from the cows, what we do is gently guide the process to make consistently delicious cheese. Being able to control the temperature and humidity will certainly help us guide the ripening process.
Progress is being made every week towards the day when you will enjoy the fruit of our labor. Except that fruit happens to be cheese!
Kelly Harding, Cheesemaker
REPORT FROM THE KITCHEN
Some of you might have noticed some changes in the food offerings at the Ag District lately...freshly baked bread and cookies, delicious chili, and fresh charcuterie platters. Those items are just the beginning of our new food program and new items will be introduced gradually as we perfect our recipes and ramp up our production. Chef Aaron is currently perfecting our recipe for Chilean empanadas (delicious little meat pies) which are a particular favorite and special request of our owner, Jenni Mccloud. He will also be working on some fresh soups, quiches, salads, and lots of other yummy treats for you to enjoy with our wines at the Ag District or to take home.
The food offerings at the Ag District are another important step in Jenni's overall vision of sustainable agriculture and farm to table products. Every item that comes out of the kitchen has components that are grown or produced right here on the farm. Whether it's our grass-fed Locksley Estate beef in the empanadas or Jenni's free-range eggs in the quiche, we strive to provide high-quality, farm fresh items for your enjoyment. Remember to try some of our new items when you are at the Ag District and let us know what you think!
It was 20 years ago this fall that I found this beautiful piece of land that became Locksley Estate, home of Chrysalis Vineyards and then The Ag District, in the rolling hills of the Bull Run Mountains. It is my consideration that this spot is one of the prettiest and soothing places on planet earth.
I didn’t grow up in the countryside (although growing up in Florida had its own pleasures and beauty in the surrounding warm waters and the Everglades). But I would dream of being in the country, and when I would think of the countryside, this is what I saw in my mind’s eye.
We’re blessed with a most magnificent country, full of wonders and natural beauty of all kinds. Take, for example, the Rocky Mountains. They’re grand and imposing… full of rugged and majestic vistas. But to me, they’re sterile in a way. They lack that “something” that old places have when people have lived there for a long time. It’s a sort of “soul”… from layers and layers of human history. You can feel it. Here there’s human interaction with the land… interlaced and inseparable over many centuries. I think this land does have a spirit… a presence that is felt and called forth when you stop to look out at the old farmhouses, the centuries-old stone fences, and the cleared pastures and old farm fields now dotted with horses and cattle idly roaming around. There is a pastoral gentleness to this land that soothes my spirit, reminding me also with prideful thoughts of our forefathers who fought for this land to established a republic… of, by and for the people. I’m proud to be a Virginian, and I feel very fortunate to be here working this beautiful land.
Make some time to come share this spirit and beauty with us this holiday season.
Take care and have a wonderful and safe holiday.
Chrysalis Vineyards at The Ag District
39025 John Mosby Highway (Tasting Room)
23876 Champe Ford Road (Winery/Offices)
Middleburg, VA 20117