Having lived in the DC area for about a dozen years, I’ve been able to explore lots of wine country in Virginia, and I’ve seen quite a lot of change in that time. Not just the increase in the number of wineries and wines being produced (about 6.6 million bottles of Virginia wine was sold in 2016), but Virginia has seen increased consumer attention, newcomers making a scene, and benchmark producers continuing to excel.
I’m very much looking forward to tasting and reviewing the top 12 wines from the Virginia Governor’s Cup Awards soon (as I’ve done on this blog for the past three or four years), but, in the meantime, I’ve received a bunch of Virginia wine samples to highlight. Rosés, steely Chard, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, and more, diversity in Virginia wine is a beautiful thing.
These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.
2017 Veritas Vineyard Rosé - Virginia, Central Virginia, Monticello
Medium watermelon color. Aromas of strawberries and white cherries, rose hips and roses, orange blossoms, honeysuckle. Medium-bodied on the palate with a plush and fruity appeal, raspberries and orange blossoms, honeysuckle. Floral and fruity, spicy and herbal, so fresh and lively but it sports significant depth. Lovely Virginia pink from Veritas. Merlot and Cabernet Franc. (88 points)
2017 Rosemont of Virginia Rosé - Virginia
Light watermelon color. Aromas of sweet roses, rhubarb, watermelon and candied cherries. Plump fruit on the palate (watermelon, cherry, red apple) but bright and tangy acidity. Spicy white pepper, rhubarb, roses and watermelon rind notes add complexity. Juicy and fruity but zesty and spicy, too. A delicious, eye-opening dry rosé made from 100% Chambourcin. (88 points)
2016 Chatham Vineyards Church Creek Steel Chardonnay - Virginia, Eastern Virginia, Eastern Shore
Pale lemon color. Well, it’s steely! Brisk, salty, sea breeze, crushed shells on the nose, with lemon/lime and clean laundry. Medium-bodied with bright acidity, crisp texture but lovely depth of flavors. Peaches, pineapple, drizzled with lime. I love the saline and crushed shells aspect here. Pure, crisp, crystalline Virginia Chardonnay, it begs for local oysters. (90 points)
2016 Blenheim Vineyards Cabernet Franc - Virginia, Central Virginia, Monticello
Light ruby color. So fresh and bright on the nose with lots of strawberries, red cherries, pomegranate, along with rose petals, white pepper and tilled soil. Crisp acidity and light tannins on the palate, this is a bright and fresh wine with flavors of red cherry and pomegranate. Dusty and earth with notes of rhubarb, sage and cinnamon. A great way to introduce yourself to good Virginia Cabernet Franc. Aged nine months in French, American and Hungarian oak. (89 points)
2015 Casanel Vineyards Petit Verdot - Virginia, Northern Virginia
Light purple color. Spicy aromatic punch of black tea, clove, sage, cedar and coffee on top of sour cherries and tangy black currants. Grippy but fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity on the palate. Zippy currants and blackberries mix nicely with coffee, cedar, smoky charcoal and earth. Structured so well, yet it finishes fresh. Aging potential (5-8 years, easy) is evident. For me, this is another data point supporting the argument that Virginia Petit Verdot is an awesome thing. All Petit Verdot aged 18 months in 50% new French oak. (90 points)
2015 Rosemont of Virginia Merlot - Virginia
Deep ruby color. Smells of plum cake, black currants, violets, but I also get some notes of beef jerky, charcoal and spiced coffee. Medium/full-bodied with smooth tannins and fresh acidity, balanced quite nicely. Plummy, full of dark currant, fig paste, the fruit is mixed with charcoal, violets, roses, bell pepper, beef broth. Delicious, lively, earthy, savory stuff. 100% Merlot aged 18 months in barrel, 1/3 new Virginia oak and the rest used French oak. (88 points)
2015 Rosemont of Virginia Kilravock - Virginia
Deep ruby color. Aromas of red and black currants, some blueberry, violets, clove, coffee grounds. Full-bodied but smooth with velvety tannins and medium acidity. Black cherries and currants, fresh and tangy fruit, mixed with cocoa powder, roasted chestnut, loamy, earthy notes, violets. Juicy and fun appeal but surprising depth and length as well. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, aged in about 50% new oak (French and American) for 18 months. (89 points)
This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.