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This past weekend a group of Virginia wine loving ladies, who mostly communicate via Twitter, Facebook and Blogs, got social in-person for networking, idea sharing, bread breaking, and winery hopping. Activities were held on Saturday and Sunday, and I joined the group on Sunday.

We met for brunch at The Wine Kitchen Hearth in Purcellville, VA. I’ve only read about this place and was very excited to try it. But, I was even more excited about finally meeting a few women who I have only talked to online. The ladies included Lori from Corcoran Vineyards & Brewing Co. (@corkysfarm), Tina from PROTOCOL Wine Studio (@PROTOCOLWine), Terri (@NKKWineDiva) who works at General’s Ridge Winery, and Kathy (@Virginia_Made) who works at Barrel Oak Winery and who I know well from the Virginia Wine Mafia!

Brunch was delicious and we had great conversations about food, wine, and everything in between. The Wine Kitchen has awesome wine flight selections featuring wine from just about every region of the world. I had the Hills of Italy which featured one white Italian wine: Basalti Soave (Gargenega), and two reds: Crivelli Barbera D’Asti (Barbera) and Il Cortile Chianti, Castello di Poppiano (Sangiovese). All were equally delightful but my favorite was the Chianti blend. After brunch several of us decided to venture out to a few of the newer vineyards in the area that some had never been to before. Our first stop was Maggie Malick Wine Caves. I have heard so much about this new little gem and was anxious to try it out. The owners have appx. 200 acres of land and have been growing grapes for some time. The tasting room is situated inside of a cave surrounded by wine barrels and there is plenty of outdoor seating as well as a heated tent. For $7 you can taste 11 wines from their 2011 and 2012 vintages. I think that anyone could find a wine they love here. My favorites were the 2011

Cabernet Franc and the 2011 Petit Verdot. Both were earthy yet smooth and rich. The Cab is aged in four types of oak which really gives it depth. Their 2011 Merlot was pretty good as well, and I typically don’t care for Merlot from Virginia. They offer a very unique wine tasting experience in Virginia.

Stop two was Cardamon Family Vineyards, which is just a hop and a skip from Maggie Malick. Cardamon is a fairly new family vineyard that just opened in 2013. I love these small family operations so much. You can just tell that so much blood, sweat, and tears goes into every production. They were sold out of reds but we were still able to taste 5 white wines all different and appealing in their own way. I am a big fan of their MYSHELLS which contains 80% Semillon, 25% Pinto Gris and 15% Sauvignon Blanc. If I closed my eyes, I might think I was drinking a red wine. It is spicy with earthy tones yet crisp and fruity. An awesome combination. They have really great prices as well. Bottles start at $13 with $24 being the most expensive. And, you’ll enjoy a fun salsa pairing with

each wine. They were all delicious!

Note – Cardamon will now be closed through April 2014 while completing construction on their new tasting room. And, when they open in the Spring they will also feature a taco truck. I cannot wait for this! On our way back east at about 4PM, we made a quick stop at 868 Estate Vineyards. This was my second visit to 868 and I have a lot to say about this one, so I will compile all of my notes and save that for another post.

If you know me by now, you know that wine is my thing but the overall ‘experience’ is what I always come back to. This weekend I was reminded that social media is very much an awesome thing but it will never, ever replace being live and in living color! We do so much digitally these days that we become accustomed to interacting that way.

Spending the day with these ladies, who I mostly only chat with online, was such a refreshing and delightful experience. And, I am very eager for our next social outing to discover new wine and have more fun winery adventures. Cheers!

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