Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Virginia Wine Chat “Live” with Frank Morgan at Breaux Vineyards, Virginia, USA

Picture: Virginia Wine Chat “Live” with Frank Morgan at Breaux Vineyards, Virginia, USA

Virginia Wine Chat is a monthly virtual gathering to discuss the wines, winemakers, wineries and regions of Virginia, the up and coming wine region at US East Coast.

Founder and Moderator is Frank Morgan, who introduces himself on his twitter account as follows: “Aerospace industry by day, proud parents, chronic traveler, wine enthusiast & vinous bloggers by night, reader, observer, kinda runner. Founder of #VAWineChat.”

I have known Frank for many years. Funny: Although we are both based in Virginia, we met the first time we met in person in Italy during the European Wine Bloggers Conference (now Digital Wine Communications Conference) 2011.

Pictures: Christian Schiller and Frank Morgan in Brescia, Italy, see: Blogging,Wining and Dining at the European Wine Bloggers Conference (#EWBC)October 2011 in Brescia, Italy – A Tour D’ Horizont)

About a year ago, Frank created Virginia Wine Chat. It is a monthly one hour talk show at a Virginia winery with the winemaker and/or owner, via UStream and twitter. People watch the talk show online and interact with Frank and his guest(s) during the show via twitter. A few people, like my wife Annette Schiller and me this time, have the privilege of seeing the show “live”. You can also watch the show later at any time via the Virginia Wine Chat UStream channel.

Pictures: Arriving at Breaux Vineyards

There were about a dozen people sitting in the show, including Mark and Vicky Fedor from North Gate Vineyards, Kathy Lang Wiedemann and Kimberly B. Richardson.

I have participated in previous shows online, sometimes being far away from Virginia. This time, was the first time for me to be at the show and watch the show “live”.

Breaux Vineyards

Breaux Vineyards is owned by Paul Breaux, who made his money with a real estate company specializing in sales and property management on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and is managed by Jennifer Breaux Blosser, Paul’s daughter, and her husband Christopher M. Blosser.

Pictures: Frank Morgan and Jen Breaux Blosser getting ready for the Show

What began as a small hobby in the carriage house of the original 1750's Log Cabin on the far side of the property, has grown into what the Washington Post describes as "Loudoun County's most impressive wine undertaking."

Today, the 404 acre estate has over 100 acres planted in 18 different grape varieties. Breaux Vineyards produces 10.000 to 12.000 cases per year. 90% of it is sold on the premises.

Pictures: Virginia Wine Chat at Breaux Vineyards

Breaux Vineyards has been voted Virginia’s “Favorite Winery” consecutively for the past three years. It is located only an hour from metropolitan DC, Dulles and BWI airports and a short distance from historic Harpers Ferry, WV.

See also:
Visiting Jennifer Breaux Blosser and Breaux Vineyards in Virginia, USA

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Jennifer Breaux Blosser in the Breaux Wine Cellar

Winemaker Heather Munden

Heather Munden has been in charge of winemaking at Breaux Vineyards for about a year. She grew up in the Bay Area of California. Her education background includes a hotel and restaurant management degree from San Francisco City College and a Viticulture and Enology degree from the University of California, Davis.

Pictures: Following the Show

Heather began her career in wine after a meeting with Robert Mondavi. “His passion for wine was infectious…and I was hooked,” she recalls. “I grew up on a large ranch and loved raising and cooking my food. The passion I found for flavor naturally led me to a passion for great wine.”

Heather, who most recently held the prestigious title of Artisan Winemaker at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards in Sonoma, CA, brings with her more than 20 years’ experience producing ultra-premium wines around the world. After graduating from UC Davis, Munden spent three years crossing the globe working as a harvest intern, consultant, and winemaker in Italy, New Zealand, Chile and Western Australia. Since earning her degree at the University of California, Davis she has garnered critical acclaim for her wines, with nearly 20 wines ranging from 90 to 95 points from Robert Parker, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, and Wine and Spirits magazines.

Pictures: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy PR and WineTours, and Christian Schiller tasting the 2013 Breauxmance Sparkler with Winemaker Heather Munden

Coming-up: Wine & Art Tour to Saale-Unstrut - Saxony - Franken - Württemberg: Germany-East Tour by ombiasy WineTours (June 11 - June 20, 2015)
4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South. Germany-Nord and Bordeaux

“Heather’s skill in extracting the best from a single-vineyard environment and in small lots is what makes her unique.” says General Manager of Breaux Vineyards, Christopher Blosser. “As a 100% estate-grown farm winery it’s important to have someone who is passionate about the care of the land and who works as part of our team to build upon the world-class wines people have come to expect from Breaux.” Her passion for flavor extends beyond wine grapes and into making charcuterie, bee keeping and even building her own brick oven.

Virginia Wine Chat at Breaux Vineyards

We tasted 4 wines during the show. Frank posed 2 kinds of questions – they were either related to the 4 wines we tasted or to the 2 persons that he interviewed. As to the latter, Jenn provided a bit of background with regard to herself and the winery and Heather talked about about who she is and what brought her to Virginia from California.

Picture: The Red Wines we Tasted

NV Breauxmance – a delicious Vidal Blanc based sparkler, with 1% Chambourcain

2013 Lafoyotte – Cabernet Franc (100%). Heather Munden: Cabernet Franc is a blender in California, but a stand-alone variety in Virginia. Ripens early. Has great potential in Virginia. Virginia is a bridge between the old world and the new world style.

2007 Meritage – Cabernet Sauvignon (42%), Merlot (25%), Malbec (18%), Cabernet Franc (5%). Jen Breaux: 2007 was a fantastic year with high sugar level at harvest and thus high alcohol level in the finished wine. This one has 15,2% alc., but it is well integrated.

2002 Merlot Reserve – is holding up nicely, with a light sherry tone.

Picture: Post-Show Chat - Christian Schiller and Mark Fedor from North Gate Vineyards, see: North Gate Vineyard in Virginia, USA – A Profile

Virginia Wine Chat at Breaux and Upcoming Chats

You can watch the show at any time via the Virginia Wine Chat UStream channel here.

In April, Frank said, he will take a break and go on vacation. The May Virginia Wine Chat will deal with the Wines of the Northern Neck. Frank also mentioned that he is working on a show with a Virginia beer brewery.

schiller-wine: Related Posting

Northern Virginia Magazine October 2012: Wine Recs from Local Winos

Virginia Wines Shine in San Francisco - 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition, USA

Jim Law and Linden Vineyards in Virginia – A Profile, USA

Boxwood Winery in Virginia: Lunch with Wine Makers Rachel Martin and Adam McTaggert in the Chai between the Tanks – TasteCamp 2012 East Kick-Off, USA

An Afternoon with Jordan Harris, Winemaker of Tarara, Virginia, USA

Vineyard Walk, Wine Tasting in the Vineyard and Lunch in the Tarara Tank Cellar with Wine Maker Jordan Harris, Tarara Winery, USA

Visiting Jennifer Breaux Blosser and Breaux Vineyards in Virginia, USA

Bordeaux Meets Virginia: Visiting Rutger de Vink and his RdV Vineyards with Anne Cuvelier from Chateau Leoville Poyferre in St. Julien, Bordeaux

Judging Virginia Wines in Suffolk, Virginia - Virginia Wine Lover Magazine Wine Classic 2012

A New Winery in Virginia - The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards, USA

Boxwood Winery in Virginia: Lunch with Wine Makers Rachel Martin and Adam McTaggert in the Chai between the Tanks – TasteCamp 2012 East Kick-Off, USA

Book Review: "Beyond Jefferson's Vines - The Evolution of Quality Wine in Virginia" by Richard Leahy, USA

TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia, USA – A Tour d’Horizont

As Close as You Can Get to (French) Champagne at the US East Coast – Claude Thibaut and His Virginia Thibaut Janisson Sparklers at screwtop Wine Bar

See: American Wines with French Roots: The Wines President Obama Served at the State Dinner for President Hollande, USA/France 

Visiting Wine Maker Doug Fabbioli and his Fabbioli Cellars in Virginia, USA

North Gate Vineyard in Virginia, USA – A Profile

Virginia's Best Wines: 2015 Virginia Governor's Cup, USA

Virginia's Best Wines: 2014 Virginia Wineries Governor’s Cup, USA

Governor’s Cup Competition 2013, Virginia, USA

Coming-up: Wine & Art Tour to Saale-Unstrut - Saxony - Franken - Württemberg: Germany-East Tour by ombiasy WineTours (June 11 - June 20, 2015)

4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South. Germany-Nord and Bordeaux 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Lunch, Wine Tasting and Winery Tour at Weingut Jülg in Schweigen, Pfalz with the Jülg Family – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

Picture, Werner Jülg, Weingut Jülg, with his 3 Sons Friedrich, Moritz and Johannes Jülg

We started the day with a tasting at Weingut Friedrich Becker, a world class producer, in Schweigen in the Pfalz. Just around the corner is Weingut Jülg, which is not in the same category as Weingut Becker but clearly on a steep upward movement, with the young generation taking over.

We had a lovely lunch cum wine tasting in the garden restaurant of Weingut Jülg. Johannes Jülg, who has taken over the winemaking responsibility, joined us for lunch and conducted the tasting. After lunch, we toured the winery.

Weingut Jülg

Weingut Jülg is in Schweigen, the southernmost village in the Pfalz region, right at the border to France. The winery was founded in 1961. Today, Werner Jülg is in charge of the overall management of the winery. Since 2010, his oldest son Johannes has been responsible for the winemaking.

The vineyard area totals 18 hectares in the Einzellage (single vineyard) Sonnenberg (of which 40% is in France) and the Gewanne (lieu-dit) Springberg, Pfarrwingert, St. Paul und Wormberg.

White grape varieties account for 70% of the production, with Riesling, Weißburgunder and Grauburgunder dominating. Red grape varities account for 30% of the production, with Pinot Noir and St. Laurent in the lead.

Total production is 12.000 cases. Most of the wine is sold at the estate – in the wine tavern, the garden restaurant and directly to consumers. 20% of the wine is exported, including to the USA (5%).

The Jülg Family

Weingut Jülg is a traditional family winery cum wine tavern and garden restaurant, with 3 generations involved.

Werner and Karin Jülg – in their 50s I would guess - are the generation in the middle. Werner took over the winery several years ago from his father Oskar, while his brother Peter fell in love with a French girl from a village just 10 kilometers away in Alsace and established Maison Jülg in France. For the last 20 or 30 years ago, until handing over to his son Johannes, Werner was in charge of winemaking. Karin runs the wine tavern and the lovely garden restaurant.

Werner’s mother Erika is still in the kitchen, while her husband Oskar passed away.

Pictures: The Jülg Family

Werner and Karin Jülg have three sons: Johannes, Friedrich and Moritz. Johannes Jülg is now responsible for winemaking at Weingut Jülg. Before coming back home to Schweigen in 2010, he looked around in the world of fine wine, including at Theo Minges, Weegmüller, Keller, Stodden and Clemens Busch in Germany and at Domaine des Lambrays in the Bourgogne.

Pictures: Winemaker Johannes Jülg

His brother Friedrich graduated with a Masters in Winemaking from Geisenheim University earlier this year and currently is on a six months stint in New York City with the US importer of Weingut Jülg, Bonhomie Wine Imports.

Picture: Friedrch Jülg

Moritz got a degree in Marketing and International Business in January 2015. After stints at the Daimler AG and the Robert Bosch GmbH, he will do an internship at Audi AG in Ingolstadt next month.

Lunch and Wine Tasting with Johannes Jülg

When you enter the courtyard of Weingut Jülg through the main gate, as we did, you have in front of you a large space, which - when the weather is fine - invites you to sit down and relax, with the food and the wines of the Jülg family. To the right is the cosy wine tavern for cooler days and in front of you is the winery, where the wine is made and aged in small barrique barrels, traditional wood barrels and stainless steel tanks.

Pictures: Weingut Jülg - Wine Tavern and Garden Restaurant

Of course, people come here because of the fine wines. But they also come because of the traditional food. Leberknödel, Saumagen, Wurst, Schnitzel and Rippchen are all home-made as is the cheese.

Pictures: Delicious, Home-made Food

The Wines we Tasted

Weingut Jülg has 2 grapes (out of 5 grapes) in the Gault Millau: We are very happy with the performance of Johannes Jülg. He likes to add a French touch to his wines and does this very successfully. This means that the fruit components are moved to the backburner. Instead, character and a long aging potential dominate. This approach shows best in the Riesling wines from St. Paul and Springberg – luscious notes of yellow fruit, with good concentration and minerality. Equally, his Pinot Noir is a wine for the true connoisseur – Pinot pure.

Weingut Jülg classifies its wines into 4 groups: Gutsweine, Terroirweine, Lagenweine, Sekt. We had wines from each of these 4 groups.

Pictures: Wine Tasting with Johannes Jülg

2011 Chardonnay Sekt extra brut

Excellent sparkler. Weingut Jülg has quite a selection of sparklers in its portfolio, all made in the traditional method. We liked the Jülg Sekt so much that we order a couple of cases for the anniversary party of my mother.

2013 Jülg Riesling trocken Terroirwein Kalkmergel
2013 Jülg Riesling trocken Terroirwein Buntsandstein
2013 Jülg Sonnenberg Weissburgunder trocken Lagenwein
2012 Jülg Spätburgunder trocken Gutswein
2012 Jülg Pinot Noir trocken Lagenwein

The flagship wine of Weingut Jülg. Concentrated, fine, elegant. Johannes achieves this by limiting the yield to 30 hl/ha, hand-selecting the small, aromatic berries at harvest, spontaneous fermentation, on the lees for 14 days, and 18 months aging in new barrique barrels. On the nose, aromas of blackberry and cherry, coupled with some leather, good concentration on the palate, flavors of warm spice and cranberry last through the long finish. Outstanding wine.

Winery Tour

Following lunch and the winetasting, Werner Jülg and his 3 sons showed us around in the winery.

Pictures: Winery Tour

Jülg Wines in the USA: Bonhomie Wine Imports

Jülg wines are available in the USA through Bonhomie Wine Imports: From the southernmost village in the Pfalz, Schweigen, we bring you the wines of Weingut Jülg. In fact it’s so close to the border that the top vineyard site, the Sonnenburg is actually 2/3s in France! Johannes Jülg has recently taken the reins here from his father Werner, and continues a tradition of growing with respect for nature, using green manure only for fertilization and hand harvesting. Soils are complex here and there is great diversity from site to site. In 2012 the Buntsandstein Riesling provides the right balance, with lifted aromatics and tangy passionfruit. From the Sonnenburg comes a lushly fruited Scheurebe that has the crisp cut of grapefruit-like citrusy tartness and also, a racy and vibrant dry Muskateller laced with spice and mineral notes that linger in the finish. Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc are also important grapes here, look for them later on this year.

RIESLING ‘Buntsandstein’

Video: Winemaker's Day

Weingut Jülg released a video entitled "Winemaker's Day". It is very well done and really fun to watch. The video was produced during the 2014 harvest, i.e. during the days when we visited Weingut Jülg.


Thank you very much Erika, Werner, Johannes, Friedrich and Moritz Jülg for a wonderful event.

Picture: The Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2015 Group with the Jülg Family at Weingut Jülg in Schweigen, Pfalz, Germany

schiller-wine: Related Postings

4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South. Germany-Nord and Bordeaux

Coming-up: Wine & Art Tour to Saale-Unstrut - Saxony - Franken - Württemberg: Germany-East Tour by ombiasy WineTours (June 11 - June 20, 2015)

Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

In the Vineyard and the Wine Cellar (and Lunch) with Robert Schätzle, Owner and Winemaker, Weingut Schloss Neuweier in Baden – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Wine Tasting Luncheon at 1 Star Michelin Röttele's Restaurant im Schloss Neuweier in Baden, with Winemaker Robert Schätzle and his Weingut Schloss Neuweier Wines – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Weingut Zähringer in Baden: Cellar Tour and Tasting with Winemaker Paulin Köpfer – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombasy (2014)

Weingut Freiherr von Gleichenstein in Baden: Tour and Tasting with Baron Johannes von Gleichenstein – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014), Germany

Weingut Franz Keller in Oberbergen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden: Cellar Tour and Tasting with Fritz Keller – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Lunch at Restaurant Schwarzer Adler in Oberbergen, with Weingut Franz Keller Wines – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Wine Tasting at Weingut Bernhard Huber – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Visit: Weingut Dr. Heger in Baden – Germany-South Wine Tours by ombiasy (2014)

Weingut Karl-Heinz Johner in Baden: Cellar Tour and Tasting with Karl-Heinz and Patrick Johner – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

At Maison Trimbach in Alsace with Hubert Trimbach – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Wine Tasting at Weingut Friedrich Becker – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)