Sunday, July 20, 2008

Brogue Rogues @ Notaviva Vineyards

Hopefully regular readers have worried about our dereliction in posting articles this month. We apologize, for we spent the first week of July touring Sonoma and Napa wine country and the amount of time needed to post our trip on the Wine Compass Blog was slightly overwhelming. Since we were just starting to overcome our overindulgence in wine, on Saturday July 19th we finally ventured out to see live music. We have stressed numerous times that wineries are excellent sources for live music, in all states, and this weekend there was an abundant number of shows in Virginia and Maryland. Linganore Wine Cellars was hosting their annual Reggae Festival, Tarara Vineyard & Winery was hosting one of their summer series concerts, and Breaux Vineyards was hosting their 3rd Annual Key West Festival. Maybe next year. Instead we decided to attend a more low-key affair and visit Notaviva Vineyards to witness their musical\wine vision. We had visited the winery in June and learned about the proprietors musical background. They planned to host several local musical groups throughout the year and today's artist was the Blue Ridge Celtic band the Brogue Rogues.

We arrived for the last two songs of the opening set which allowed us to a chance to assess the environment. Bands are situated in the music loft, high above the tasting bar. Two rows of parallel tables are available on either side of the loft for those interested in sitting close to the music. We chose to sit at a table next to the tasting bar; from this vantage we could hear the music but also able to converse without shouting. In fact the acoustics were more than adequate to be able to hear the band - even when a bachelorette party ventured in. Even with the group being a little louder than the casual visitor - we never had a problem hearing the band. The first two songs we heard from Brogue Rogues were instrumentals which sounded like excellent background music as we scanned the wine list. We started with the excellent Viognier and sat down to hear the second act - which started with a bang - "What Do You Do with a Drunkin' Sailer?" For some reason this is a bedtime song in our household, so immediately our song jumped up started dancing and singing - with most of the audience joining in. They continued with a couple traditional Irish foot stomping songs that had everyone from the bachelorette party to couples stomping and singing along. They switched to a few instrumentals which displayed their musical talents on the mandolin, violin, and guitar and allow the audience to continue sipping wine. At this point we tried their newly bottle Cabernet Franc. The wine was a little young, particularly as we were used to the robust California versions, but it actually worked well on a hot day. They played several more songs - mostly instrumentals to a revolving stream of customers. The music was great and the environment was welcoming. If you wanted to get close to the band - there was ample room upstairs. If you wanted to listen as background music - sip downstairs; there was no pressure to focus 100% on the band. Instead we were able to talk, play, and listen without interfering in our neighbors ability to hear the music. The Brogue Rogues return to Notavina Vineyards August 23rd with several other acts scheduled through October. We plan to visit again for one of these shows.

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