Wednesday night was the announcement of the 2011 Governor’s Cup winner for white wines. Back in February I was invited to attend the media tasting for the red wines, so I was pleased to see I was invited back for the whites.
The entire event was held at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), with the media portion of the evening (which I continue to be surprised to be considered a part of), being held on the outdoor terrace of Amuse, a restaurant within the museum. There we had the opportunity to sample the 7 gold medal winners that were vying for the Governor’s Cup. They were:
- 2009 New Kent Winery Reserve Chardonnay
- 2010 Bluestine Vineyard BLUE ICE
- 2008 Prince Michel Vineyard Mt. Juliet Petite Manseng
- 2010 Willowcroft Farm Vineyards Claire
- 2009 Barren Ridge Vineyards Harmony
- 2010 James River Cellars Vidal Blanc
- 2010 North Gate Vineyard Viognier
2010 Willowcroft Farm Vineyards Claire
This dessert wine was made from 90% Petite Manseng and 10% Vidal Blanc and was the gold medal winner in the Sweet Petite Manseng category. Featuring 7.1% Residual Sugar, I got some melon and honey a wine that was definitely syrupy and would really need some dessert to do anything more than a tasting with it.
2009 Barren Ridge Vineyards Harmony
The winner of the gold medal for Proprietary White, this wine is a blend of Viognier, Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, Traminette, and Riesling. I’m not positive the percentages I have are correct, so I don’t want to post them here. Floral notes with notes of citrus (lemon/lime) on the palate made this wine nice and refreshing, with just a hint of sweetness on the finish.
2010 Bluestone Vineyard BLUE ICE
Made from100% Traminette, this winner of the gold medal in Dessert Traminette features 11.7% residual sugar and leaves no doubt that this is supposed to be an ice wine. A deep golden color gives hints of the honey to expect on the nose and in the mouth, with the wine being syrupy and probably quite good poured over some desserts to add a hint of sweetness.
2010 James River Cellars Vidal Blanc
The winner of the gold medal in Vidal, this 100% Vidal Blanc has 1% residual sugar with notes of peach, grape, light citrus, and I got a touch of petrol on the finish that wasn’t actually a deal breaker for me. There’s not much sweetness coming through on this wine and it was actually my second favorite of media tasting.
2009 Prince Michel Vineyard Mt. Juliet Petite Manseng
Winner of the gold medal in Dry Petite Manseng, I got light citrus with a dry, crisp finish to it and just a hint of pith as well. This would be a good choice to pair with some richer seafood.
2010 North Gate Vineyard Viognier
Steel fermented and oak aged, this winner of the gold medal in Viognier was slightly darker in the glass than a steel Viognier (which was my first hint that it’d been barrel aged) and gave off a more robust floral note on the nose than Viognier that hasn’t seen oak. A nice round finish with notes of pineapple, this wine would be a good pairing with some seasoned chicken.
2009 New Kent Winery Reserve Chardonnay
The winner of the gold medal in Barrel Chardonnay, and the winner of the 2011 Governor’s Cup for White Wine (congrats), this wine was actually my favorite of the tasting and my pick to win the Cup. Aged for 2 years in American oak, the wine has all the tell-tale notes of butter and oak on the nose and in the mouth. A good amount of citrus in the mouth stops this wine from being too heavy, but the good rounded finish made me want some seafood in a cream sauce. I know not everybody likes oaked Chardonnay, but if you do, this one was quite impressive.
After the media tasting we all moved downstairs where we were joined by the non-media types to taste 30 different Virginia wineries, all pouring one wine – some red, some white, along with food pairings for each. It was a great way to sample some wineries I hadn’t had the chance to check out yet, and to say hello to some that I’ve become acquainted with through the years.
Eventually a string of Virginia politicians made their way on to stage, culminating with Gov. Bob McDonnell coming up to announce the winner of the Governor’s Cup (New Kent in case you missed it above).
This was a great event. The VMFA has a beautiful facility and did a great job of hosting. A thanks to the Virginia Wine Girls (Amy, Annette, Mary Catherine) for including me on the invite list – I had a great time. Finally, congrats to New Kent Winery on your big win – you deserved it.
October is Virginia Wine Month, so if you’re reading this and live in the state, check with your local restaurants, wine shops, and vineyards to see what special things they’re doing to celebrate a month of Virginia’s wine.