Well, the 3rd Annual Virginia Wine Expo has come and gone. I found some new vineyards and visited some old favorites. 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. 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. 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. 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. Their Vidal Blanc offered up a herb, mint finish that was new and refreshing. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Just up the road from my home, this is a vineyard that I’ve visited several times for their great, homey tasting room. Their Cabernet Franc is always one to love, with a light color and great pepper finish. 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. All these years later and I’m still in love with their Cabernet Franc (Franc the Tank) and their Cabernet Sauvignon (Snake’s Den). 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. 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. 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.