By Bob Lipinski
With just over 275 wineries within seven grape-growing areas, Virginia ranks fifth in the nation for wine grape production.
The first recorded wine production in the United States took place in Virginia soon after the British established a colony there in 1607. However, it wasn’t until 1807, when Thomas Jefferson planted grapes of European descent on his Monticello estate that the industry began. Sadly, Jefferson’s experiment failed because of rot and phylloxera (small root insects).
For a while Virginia was the most important grape-growing state but prohibition annihilated the flourishing industry and only in the beginning of the 1970s did local producers make wine again.
At a private tasting/ seminar there were over 20 wines to taste and evaluate. Overall, the wines very good with a few excellent ones. Space prevents me from providing tasting notes on all the wines. Here are some highlights.
2017 Barboursville Vineyards Vermentino Reserve. Aroma and flavor of apples, pear, citrus and hazelnuts. Tastes likes it’s from Liguria, Italy.
2010 Barboursville Vineyards “Octagon” (blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot). Dark colored with a powerful, concentrated flavor of blackberry, black currants, and cedar; hints of vanilla and smoke.
2017 Linden Vineyards “Boisseau” Viognier. Light-bodied with a full bouquet of melon, lime, lychee and bitter orange.
2017 Glen Manor Vineyards Petit Manseng. The perfume of orange abounds along with melon, tropical fruit, nutmeg, and citrus.
2018 Williamsburg Winery Petit Manseng. Tropical notes of papaya, pineapple and mango with an aftertaste of cinnamon and peaches.
2017 Veritas Vineyard Cabernet Franc Reserve. Enormous wine with black fruit, blueberry, bittersweet chocolate and smoky oak.
2016 Michael Shaps Wineworks Tannat. Flavor of blackberry, black raspberry, cherry, espresso, and brown spices. A huge wine that will age another decade.
2016 King Family Vineyards “Mountain Plains” (blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot). Full flavor of dark berries, fig, prunes, blueberry and toasted almonds.
2015 Boxwood Estate Winery Reserve (blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot). Closed nose but rich flavors of blackberry, black tea, licorice, spicy vanilla and hazelnuts.
2012 Paradise Spring Vineyards “PVT” (blend of Petit Verdot, Tannat). I enjoy the flavor of Petit Verdot and Tannat but have never tasted them blended together. Almost black-colored and tannic with flavors of black cherry, blueberry, mint, plums and sage. Worth searching out!
2017 Early Mountain Vineyards “Eluvium” (blend of Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon). Elegant, perfumed, dark fruit, plums, jam, anise, and smoky oak.