I attending the 3rd and final day of the Virginia Wine Expo yesterday and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t overcrowded and that I wasn’t fighting with floundering drunks to talk to the winemakers. Don’t get me wrong, by the end of the day, there were a few stumbling around, but not enough to bother anyone. Although I did hear Saturday was a different story, with record crowds.
My main plan for the day was to visit wineries I had never been too/heard of and also to stop and say hi to my favorite wineries and winemakers. The plan was achieved with great success and after 4 hours of talking about & tasting VA wine, I was horse and ready for a beer!
Some of my highlights will be no surprise to people that read this blog and know which wines always perform well with my palate but there are a few new ones.
Philip Carter – 2008 Chardonnay – beautiful, one of the best Chardonnay’s I have tasted in Virginia. Very Burgundian in style, similar to Saint Veran or Mersault. Slightly more toasty, but excellent and surprising minerality.
Well Hung Vineyards (I can’t wait until these ladies get a tasting room, they are a hoot) – 2008 Cabernet Franc – shows great promise, nice red fruit, green bean, and classic CF spiciness. Was a bit thin in the mid-palate but showed up again at the finish.
Rosemont 2007 Meritage (52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 18% Merlot) – lots of dried fig, mocha and black currant, spicy with loads of tannins – will age well
Blenheim – The 2008 Painted Red is coming together, starting to integrate better even since my tasting 6 weeks ago. My favorites of the lineup that Kirsty brought were the 2008 Petite Verdot with beautiful structure, black currant, blueberry, menthol, spicy black pepper and a hint of chalkiness; 2008 Cabernet Franc with blackberry, green veggie medley and spicebox; and the new NV White Table Wine (this year 100% Chardonnay w/ .6RS) with a clean and ripe tropical fruit profile, melon and poached pear.
Pollak – Pollak only brought three wines, all very nice, as I brought all three home. 2008 Durant White, excellent everyday white with citrus, apricot and granny smith apple; 2007 Cabernet Franc – still rocking – spicy with raspberry and red currant and hints of mint, cocoa and sauteed collard greens – is drinking really well; 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon - lavender, blackberry, eucalyptus and red currant with touches of floral notes. Full and focused with still a lot of tannic structure.
Mountfair – Fritz, winemaker and co-owner brought the only bottling that he had (sold out of everything else for the time being) which was the 2008 Inaugural along with Brad McCarthy’s Stick Dog Riesling and Chardonnay. As with our last tasting with Fritz, Brads wines are still showing extremely well and I still can’t believe his Riesling is from Virginia. The 2008 Inaugural had lots of dark fruit, hints of red clay and a touch of barnyard. After talking to Brad, he wasn’t too pleased with the “barnyness” of the wine (although i liked it) and hopes to isolate the barrel(s) that contain the barny causing Brett.
These were my favorites but this isn’t to say there wasn’t other good wines. On the event as a whole, I know I was there on the less crowded day but the amount of space that was used for the event was immense and very well laid out. Being the freak about glasses that I am, I also really appreciate the fact that you get a nice Schott-Zwiesel glass with you entry fee.
Look forward to next year. Cheers!