Well, the 3rd Annual Virginia Wine Expo has come and gone. Â I found some new vineyards and visited some old favorites. Â Here’s the long and short of my experience.
Athena Vineyards (http://www.athenavineyards.com)
Athena Vineyards is worth going to just to check out their unique bottle designs. Â Owned by former nurses, Athena Vineyards offers a great deck wine in their Lighthouse White and a nice Meritage with a good pepper finish.
Potomac Point Winery (http://www.potomacpointwinery.com)
I’ll be the first to admit that I went to Potomac Point just to pick up a few bottles of their La Belle Vie 2008 for when the weather turns warm. Â This year they’ve introduced a La Belle Vie Rose that was enjoyable, but not as good as the original.
White Hall Vineyards (http://www.whitehallvineyards.com)
I’ve been to White Hall Vineyards before, and if you’re ever our in the Charlottesville area, I certainly recommend visiting them. Â While there weren’t any of their wines that I disliked, I came away with 3 bottles of their Cabernet Franc and 3 bottles of their Viognier.
Rosemont Vineyards (http://www.rosemontofvirginia.com)
Rosemont was the first vineyard I visited to give me some truly unique flavors. Â Their Vidal Blanc offered up a herb, mint finish that was new and refreshing. Â Their Meritage has a clove finish that I will admit reminded me a bit of high school.
Pollak Vineyards (http://www.pollakvineyards.com)
Lime in their Durant White reminded me of South American Sauvignon Blanc. Â Their Cabernet Franc had a more subtle pepper finish than many I had during the day, while their Cabernet Sauvignon offered a touch of eucalyptus.
Mountfair Vineyards (http://www.mountfair.com)
Most notable from Mountfair was their slightly effervescent Stickdog Riesling with a slight mineral finish. Â Fairly refreshing and one worth considering as the weather turns warm.
Blenheim Vineyards (http://www.blenheimvineyards.com)
I really enjoyed Blenheim, and while I didn’t dislike any of their wines, I enjoyed their Viognier and Cabernet Franc the most, bringing home two bottles of the Viognier and one of the Cab Franc. Â I already wish I had grabbed 3 bottles of each.
Tarara Winery (http://www.tarara.com)
I was really looking forward to Tarara, and was sadly sort of disappointed. Â I went there looking forward to their Long Bomb, and while I really enjoyed their Charval with a slight mineral finish and found their 2008 Cabernet Franc to be great, but their Long Bomb Edition 2 was a bit of a let down.
Lake Anna Winery (http://www.lawinery.com)
I’m a huge fan of Lake Anna, and while I went there to try and pick up their Spotsylvania Claret (3 bottles), I can’t help but recommend their Totally White and Totally Red as quality table wines. Â The Bellhaven Chardonnay is very refreshing and definitely worth considering as well.
Villa Appalaccia Winery (http://www.villaappalacia.com)
While I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I favor red wine for most occasions, I was blown away by the whites offered by Villa Appalaccia. Â Not to take away from a great Toscanello (a great blend of Cab Franc, Sangiovese, and Primitivo), their Pinot Grigio, Pinot Grigio Reserve, and Simpatico are worth buying. Â The Pinot Grigio is a great deck wine, and there’s not much seasfood that I wouldn’t pair the Reserve with.
First Colony Winery (http://www.firstcolonywinery.com)
The two most worth it to me were the Viognier with its light floral flavor and their Cabernet Franc with its combination bell pepper white pepper finish.
Grayhaven Winery (http://www.grayhavenwinery.com)
While certainly not the last winery that I visited, it was another one that I went to with a certain wine in mind. Â Just up the road from my home, this is a vineyard that I’ve visited several times for their great, homey tasting room. Â Their Cabernet Franc is always one to love, with a light color and great pepper finish. Â They have a Sauvignon Blanc that I have yet to taste, but as it’s always sold out I’m assuming it’s pretty good.
Vino Curioso (http://www.vinocurioso.com)
Three years ago I found Vino Curioso at the first Virginia Wine Expo. Â All these years later and I’m still in love with their Cabernet Franc (Franc the Tank) and their Cabernet Sauvignon (Snake’s Den). Â Another one that I’ve never tasted the Sauvignon Blanc of because they are perpetually sold out of it.
Jefferson Vineyards (http://www.jeffersonvineyards.com)
Like many of the vineyards at the Virginia Wine Expo, I hit up Jefferson Vineyards looking for a specific wine – their Petit Verdot – which they didn’t have. Â Granted, their Cabernet Franc was as good this year as it was last, but them not having their Petit Verdot available was a bit of a let down.
The 2010 Virginia Wine Expo was another roaring success, with great vineyards presenting great wine. Â If you’re in the Central Virginia area, or even if you’re not, and you’re not already planning to attend next year, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to not only learn about varietals that you might not get from California, but certainly ones that taste different than those you are used to.