Recent wines tasted on CellarTracker

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Virginia Wines at the LIWF

During my altogether far too brief visit to the LIWF I made a point of checking out the wines and winemakers present from Virginia. This was mainly due to my affinity with the area, having been there several times with work; and also on the recommendation of a couple of my friends over there.

When considering wines from the US one immediately thinks of California and perhaps Washington, but the picture is far from complete until you consider what the East Coast has to offer.

I met with Chris Parker, an Englishman who has "gone native" in Virginia and made it his mission to support and evangelise a number of excellent boutique wineries from the region under the banner of New Horizon Wines. Chris graciously took the time to talk me through what these wineries have to offer, and I was very pleasantly surprised by all that I tasted.

Also on the stand that I visited was Luca Paschina, General Manager and Winemaker from the Barboursville Vineyards, making an incredibly diverse range of varietal wines in the style of his native Piedmont; and Patricia Hodson (another expatriate Brit) who co-owns the family-run Veritas Vineyard & Winery, her daughter Emily making some really complex and elegant wines.

The highlight for me was having the opportunity to taste a number of excellent pure Viogniers from Virginia. These all displayed the wonderful, floral character and fruitiness that make this grape so versatile in blends. Virginia seems to have an ideal terroir and climate for Viognier to thrive and these wines demonstrated it admirably:


Rappahannock Cellars Viognier 2007 - Gold Medal winner in the 2008 San Francisco International Wine Competition. Crisply acidic, wonderful fruit character, 14.5% alcohol.

Rappahannock Cellars Chardonnay 2007 - Winner of the Best White Wine in Virginia Governors Cup competition 2009. A joy to the nose (nectar, hay, toast) and to the palate (green apple, vanilla), it compares favourably with the finest Californian or Australian examples. Fermented and aged in French and Virginian oak, this was a triumph.

Barboursville Vineyards Viognier 2007 - Unoaked, highly aromatic floral notes and a glorious fruitful palate and a dry, lingering finish.

Keswick Vineyards Viognier 2007 - A drier example of this varietal than the previous two, with some oakiness, though not overpowering. This wine should continue to improve for a few years.

Keswick Vineyards Verdejo 2007 - A wonderfully crisp, easy drinking wine with an engaging aroma (grass/straw, citrus, kiwi fruit) complex fruit flavours (apple, melon, pears) and a bright, refreshing acidity.


Barboursville Vineyards Octagon 2006
- A proprietary blend of Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, but blended after vinification. The components here marry together very well to produce an engaging, dark garnet wine with an intensely plummy and forest-fruits driven aroma and a full and silky smooth palate. Tannins are described as 'resplendent and graceful', I found them to be a little much for my novice palate, and I am sure this wine will age well for many years.

Rappahannock Cellar Cabernet Franc 2007
- This relatively young and robust blend of 75% Cab Franc and 25% Cab Sauvignon was already drinking well, but will clearly improve a great deal with age. The aroma is jammy and woody and exotic. Quite tannic, followed by wonderful forest fruits and toastiness, and with a very long, indulgent finish.


Veritas Vineyard & Winery Kenmar 2008
- Although I'm not much of a dessert wine drinker, this was definitely a highlight for me. Outstandingly intense, with a rich aroma of honey and flowers. The keen acidity perfectly balances the sweetness of the tropical fruitiness and citrus notes - the word 'mellifluous' was invented for this wine.

1 comment:

  1. It was a pleasure to introduce you to these excellent wines.