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Daily Archives: October 1, 2022

Bits and Bobs

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Small things. Not enough to write an entire piece on one topic. A rambling about wine and tomatoes.

Maybe I’ll use this as a means of getting into writing again. I seemed to be losing the knack of sitting down and writing for hours. But, it’s a beginning, so here goes.

It’s Virginia Wine Month. Which coincides with the leaf peeping we always chase across the two states. VA and MD. The Appalachians host scores of wineries north and south of us.

We recently headed down to do our semi-annual visit to Linden. For a preview of the crush and a comparative tasting.

The red grapes were still on the vines when we were there, but early this past week they all were quickly harvested before Ian could dump rain to ruin them.

Here at home, I pulled the last of the Brandywines off my one remaining tomato plant.

Hopefully they will fully ripen in the window. Leaving them on the vines with three days of rain would make them split and rot.

My makeshift ripening station in the south facing corner of the family room.

This summer the Brandywine plant in a pot off the back deck gave me the most tomatoes.

It was a frustrating summer, where the temperatures soared in July and the plants dropped their blossoms. The recovery time in August and September didn’t make up for the losses. I won’t be having much tomato sauce in the freezer for this winter.

Hopping back to wine. We recently did a comparison between two of our favorite local wines.

RdV and Linden. Ten years old. Both heavily Merlot. Both absolutely stunning. The more we delve into the differences in styles, and in the ability to age, we come to this conclusion. Good Virginia wines age very well. They don’t have the fruit forward punch of California wines, or the austere depth of Bordeaux. They have a balance which allows them to age gracefully.

Both of these wines have years to go before they fade. They both were bright, no browning edges. The RdV was a tad richer in the finish.

We kept one or two bottles of our favorite wines for many years. Just crossing our fingers that we would open them before it was too late.

This was a real treat. On a lovely evening in late August we opened our last remaining 20th Century VA wine, a 1999 Linden Hardscrabble.

Amazing. So soft, yet no off tastes or odors. It took about 30 minutes to open up. It is 23 years old, and would last at least 5 or more years. No fading of color yet. Yes, we can make awesome wine on the East Coast.

Available at a fraction of the price of Bordeaux.

On our last visit, when talking to Jim Law, the owner of Linden, he told us about the Italian varietals he has planted to see how they do. The temperatures are steadily creeping higher and the future in Virginia may be to try varieties from warmer climates. Adapting to the environment.

This roundabout way to bring me back to tomatoes.

This Brandywine was not planted in full sun. Not like the plants up at my community plot, which did poorly in the heat this summer.

This one plant gave me 30 tomatoes, even with the loss of some blossoms in July. I need to find plants that can handle the heat. And change how I plant them. You know, I need to adapt.

Happy VA Wine Month! Go visit a winery. Raise a glass to our local growers who battle the weather to make us great wines.