11
April

Getting the Most from your Virginia Winery Visit

posted by Neil Myers

We are asking the folks “on the other side of the counter” for their thoughts on how our guests can get the most from their wine tasting experience when visiting local wineries.

Guy at Sunset Hills Vineyard says the most important thing is to keep an open mind.  Maybe you know that you don’t like red (or white) wines or sweet (or dry) wines.  Maybe you would rather just skip tasting wines that you know you won’t like.

You can be a “skipper”, of course, if your only goal is to sample wines to see if you want to purchase any to enjoy later.  Nothing wrong with that.

But Virginia wines may surprise you.  Because of the unique terroir of the vineyards and the vagaries of Virginia’s weather in any given growing cycle, a particular varietal you think you dislike may, here, be unlike any you have tasted from other areas.

Why not take advantage of the opportunity to taste the difference Virginia makes.

If you are the type who likes to research things before you go, check out Swirl, Sip, Snark, a blog devoted to one couple’s visits to Virginia wineries.  In their words, SSS is “sort of a cross between a serious wine blog and a vaudeville act.”

(WARNING!  It is entirely too easy to fritter away an excessive amount of time on the SSS blog vicariously visiting wineries.)

If you are the type who likes to make up your own mind, read SSS after your visit to compare notes with them.  Even their snarkiest reviews look for (and find) something positive in each experience.

Which reinforces Guy’s point to always “keep an open mind”.

What’s your advice for winery visitors?

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10
March

Neil’s Take on Contemporary American Cuisine

posted by Neil Myers

For those of us of a certain age, modern menus (including ours at The Inn at Vaucluse Spring), can look a little strange.  And the plating can be fascinating, even dramatic, but maybe a little confusing.  Here’s a brief guide for (and by) the clueless.

Menu writing has evolved as dining has evolved.  “Back in the day,” as we oldsters say, a menu would list a classic dish which you knew (or were expected to know) how it was prepared and what the primary ingredients were.

Well, Chef Adam is bringing us up to date.  Now, on our Saturday night menu, you might see:

Scallop, Corn Purée, Chorizo, Chili Oil,
Confit Tomato, Leeks, Machê, Plantain Chips

So, you might wonder, “What is this, a list of ingredients?”  Well no, the items listed for each dish reflect the primary flavor components.  Adam strategically places these components on the plate so that each bite you take will be a somewhat different combination of flavors and textures than the bite before or the bite after.

Unless, of course, you are the type who stirs up all those intersting components of your soup, getting the same effect you got when you mixed all your finger paints together in kindergarten.  Adam says, since you don’t tell him how to cook it, he’s not going to tell you how to eat it.  Neil says, pay attention to each exquisite bite and savor the moment!

You can see recent menus posted on our website to get an idea of what is in store for your dining pleasure on Friday and Saturday evenings.  We also have a collection of past menus here at the inn that are fun to leaf through.

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25
February

Adam’s Musings on our First Beer Dinner — March 16, 2012

Let’s face it:  the world of beer has changed!  Today, many breweries are veering far from the old standards and creating craft beers which have all the nuances of fine wine.  I’ve seen (and tasted) such concoctions as green tea IPA’s, chipotle chocolate stouts and everything in between.

With this evolution and experimentation, one can understand why pairing beer with tasting menus is also valid and oftentimes more interesting than wine.

Don’t get me wrong, I love wine . . . I love pairing food and wine; however, the wide variety of hops and different combinations of toasted malts give beer a grassy freshness that interacts with food on many different levels.

Further, beer is usually not as high in alcohol as wine.  Alcohol can sometimes numb the palate, making it more difficult to detect some of the more finite tasting notes.

With all this said, I have decided to pair a tasting menu with the beers from Tröegs brewery in Hershey, PA.  This brewery produces a wide variety of beers which range from fruity and loaded with citrus all the way to chocolatey with a finish of burnt caramel.

I look at each of these beers almost as ingredients when I constructed this tasting menu so one is constantly asking, “Is this beer a supplement to the food, or is the food a supplement to the beer?”

Each one of these beers is drastically different, and can be enjoyed by seasoned craft beer drinkers or someone who is tasting these styles of beers for the first time.  Either way, this is an event not to be missed!

 

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12
September

Welcome!

The Inn at Vaucluse Spring is a fifteen room bed and breakfast spread throughout a small village of six guest houses surrounding a large limestone spring in Virginia’s fabled Shenandoah Valley.

Set amidst 100 scenic acres in rolling orchard country, the Inn is ideally located between the historic sites of Winchester and the outdoor activities near Front Royal and Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive. Choose from a wide variety of accommodations, from the elegance of the historic Vaucluse Manor House to the log and stone warmth of an 1850′s log house, to the privacy of individual cottages.

Spacious guest rooms indulge your senses with Jacuzzis, fireplaces, queen and king beds, and bucolic views.  Sitting rooms, porches, and outdoor seating abound, providing plenty of nooks for intimate conversation and daydreaming.

The Inn’s modern Southern cuisine uses the best local ingredients, including herbs, heirloom tomatoes and wild watercress from the inn’s gardens and grounds and fruit from nearby orchards.

Special Event Dinners:

Each year the Inn hosts a series of Vintner’s Dinner Weekends. Working with the evening’s vintner, we develop a special menu, and paired wines are selected. During the serving of each course, the vintner provides a brief description of the characteristics of the wine chosen to accompany each course.

Come discover why Washingtonian Magazine and American Historic Hotels  both named it one of their “Top 10 Most Romantic Inns”.

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