In June 2010, I put on a tasting of 12 wines from Virginia, presented by Chris Parker, managing director of New Horizon Wines, who dealt with leading producers who then exported to England. Unfortunately, such wines are no longer imported. See the footnote below for some information to remind you of this tasting.
It is very hard to obtain wines from Virginia now; this tasting will include some that were bought long ago. It will also include an Oregon wine that is a rarity in Britain, from a former Maraschino cherry orchard. The Californian wines cover a number of viticultural areas and include favourites such as Frog’s Leap Zinfandel and a Ridge View Petite Sirah.
The eleven wines are:
Frei Brothers Sonoma Reserve Russian River Valley, Chardonnay, 2017.
Lemelson Vineyards Thea’s Selection Pinot Noir,
Willamette Valley, 2010.
Equation Virginia Merlot (no visible vintage).
Hahn Estates Monterey Merlot, 2003.
Cline Ancient Vines Mouvèdre Contra Costa County, 2015.
Virginia Cabernet Franc Reserve, Barboursville Vineyards, 2007.
Ironstone Vineyards Petite Sirah, Lodi, 2010.
Ridge Petite Sirah York Creek, Spring Mountain, Napa, 1984.
Boxwood, The Boxwood Winery Middleburg Virginia, 2007
(Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot).
First Press Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, 2011.
Frog’s Leap Zinfandel, Napa Valley, 2016
The tasting will be organised and presented by Bernard Lamb, a member fo the National Guild of Wine and Beer Judges. A cold buffet will be provided by the Club.
Venue: The Army and Navy Club, 36-39 Pall Mall, SW1Y 5JN
Time: 7 p.m.
Mobility rating: 3 – steps up to the front door, then lift access.
Nearest tube: Green Park.
Dress: Smart casual.
Price per person: Members £70, Guests, £78.
Organiser: Bernard Lamb
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel. 0208 876 0505.
In 1607, Jamestown’s settlers had a rule that each household had to cultivate ten grape vines; Thomas Jefferson at Monticello tried to grow European varieties, but the real advances were made in the last 40 years. In 2010, 160 wineries had about 3,000 acres between them, producing about 450,000 cases a year with excellent advice from the Enology Department of Virginia Tech. There are now about 275 wineries and a bigger acreage.
At that tasting, outstanding wines included the Williamsburg Winery Chardonnay Reserve 2007, in a very classy Burgundian style, and three very enjoyable 2008 Viogniers to compare: Barboursville Vineyards Viognier Reserve; White Hall Vineyards Viognier; Breaux Vineyards Viognier.
Cabernet Franc fruits very well in Virginia, ripening more fully than in the Loire Valley. We tried Veramar Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2008; Veritas Winery Cabernet Franc 2008; Williamsburg Winery Trianon 2006 (predominately Cabernet Franc) and Barboursville Vineyards Cabernet Franc Reserve 2007 (included in this 2022 tasting). These were all delicious.
The pure Petit Verdot, Veritas Winery Petit Verdot 2008, was delightful. The last three wines were all very good Bordeaux-type blends: Boxwood Winery Boxwood 2007 (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, included in this tasting); Barboursville Vineyards Octagon 2005 (M, CS and C F) and Williamsburg Winery Adagio 2007 (40% M, 40% PV, 20% CF).
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