Friday, February 24, 2012

Make Mine Virginia Wine

Gearhart's Criolla chocolates were the perfect ending
Last night, we had the pleasure of attending the 2012 Virgina Wineries Governor's Cup Gala where the top 12 scoring Virginia wines, based on a brand spanking new highly rigorous judging system, vied for the top spot at what now has become one of the most "stringent and thorough wine competitions in the United States", according to a press release distributed by the Office of Governor Bob McDonnell.
The 12 finalists selected from a pool of more than 400 entries were:

Bluestone Vineyard 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Delfosse Vineyards & Winery 2007 Meritage Blend
Jefferson Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Franc
Keswick Vineyards 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Glen Manor 2009 Hodder Hill Meritage
Keswick Vineyards 2010 Merlot
King Family Vineyards 2008 Meritage Blend
Potomac Point Winery 2009 Heritage Reserve Meritage Blend
Tarara Winery 2010 Honah Lee White Vinifera Blend
Trump Winery 2008 Kluge SP Blanc de Blanc Sparkling
Veritas 2010 Vintner's Reserve Meritage Blend
White Hall Vineyards 2010 Gewurztraminer

Ultimately, the Governor's Cup would be awarded to Glen Manor Vineyards 2009 Hodder Hill Meritage, a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot.
Jeff White, Glen Manor's Winemaker & 4th generation VA farmer

There were plenty of other standout wines at the event as well including a particularly lovely King Family 2008 Meritage served up by winemaker Matthieu Finot (sporting a rather dapper mini-handle bar mustache) along with a 2010 Veritas Vintner's Reserve which truly captured the essence of what makes Virginia's Bordeaux-style blends so outstandingly good.
One of my personal favorites was the 2010 White Hall Gewurztraminer an Alsatian-style wine made from a blend of Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Petit Manseng and Viognier grapes. All that was missing was a big plate of shrimp Vindaloo, some channa masala and a couple of pieces of hot Tandoori naan.

Conspicuously absent from the final 12 that made the Governor's Cup Case was Barboursville Vineyards 2008 Cab Franc Reserve, which was recently awarded "Best in Class" at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the wine world's largest competition of American wines, yet only received a silver medal at the 2012 Governor's Cup, which ultimately edged this nationally recognized wine out of the finals.

Conspicuously present was the grand dame herself, Patricia Kluge, who was there to pour Trump Winery's 2008 Kluge SP Blanc de Blanc Sparkling along with her signature brandy infused Chardonnay simply named Cru.
In the end a good time was had by all, yet most importantly, I was once again reminded of how truly outstanding Virginia wines are and how far the industry has come. As of 2012, Virginia now has 220 wineries and is ranked 5th in U.S. for total wine grape production. Just recently, Virginia was listed as one of the top 10 wine travel destinations in the world for 2012 according to Wine Enthusiast Magazine, so if you're not getting out there and sucking down some local juice, you are really missing out because some of the best stuff in the world is being produced right in your own backyard. With this in mind, March is about a become a big month for Virginia wines as it has been officially declared as Virginia Wine and Dine Month with hundreds of participating wine shops and restaurants offering special tasting menus featuring local wines.

Finally, don't forget today kicks off a long weekend of Virginia wine tasting at the Virginia Wine Expo at the Convention Center. Over 70 wineries will be present along with a bevy wine and food pairing demo's, gourmet lunches and food tastings. This is a not-to-be-missed event.
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1 comment:

  1. I've never had Virginia wine, but I'm totally curious about the brandy-infused sparkling wine!


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