It’s almost that time again. Wine season in Virginia is fast approaching. Just as Linda and Stephenie and I were concocting plans for a weekend afternoon at Potomac Point, I received a long awaited call for volunteers to pour for Potomac Point at …the Virginia Wine Expo in Richmond, VA! Readers of the Virginia Wine Lovers Magazine (VWLM) voted this the number one wine festival in Virginia. It is also the backdrop for the Virginia Governor’s Cup competition. Leading the panel of judges this year is Mr. Jay Youmans, one of only 31 Masters of Wine in the country. Can we say exciting? Emilie and I were just a bit giddy the other day thinking about how fun this is going to be.
Emilie and I have volunteered to pour at the Potomac Point table on Saturday, from 4pm to 8pm, which is expected to be the busiest day of the expo (You can find ticket info here if you want to come by and visit us on Saturday)., As volunteer pourers, we love working during the high volume times! Time flies so fast you don’t even realize how long you’ve been on your feet. However, as festival goers, this means loooong lines. Add to that the huge number of wineries that will be present at the even (At last count, there were 74 wineries expected at the event. That’s about 500 different Virginia made wines that will be available for the tasting. Didn’t know Virginia made that much wine, huh?) With such a huge selection in front of us, we’ve decided we need a plan of attack. Our first step was to cross of wineries we are already familiar with (If you take a look at the list of wineries, you’ll notice some familiar names from past Cork and Spoon adventures. See below for our round up of those wineries, to help you with your own plan of attack). Then it was time to draw up our battle plan.
the Cork and spoon Battle plan
#1 Bleinheim Vineyards Neither of us had to think twice about this one. We’ve been wanting to visit ever since Danielle recommended it to us last October at the Governor’s reception in DC. Being unfamiliar with the Charlottesville area wine scene, which is home to the Monticello American Viticultural Area (AVA) and the majority of the Central Region’s wineries, we needed some guidance before taking up the 2+ hour road trip! The Wine Enthusiast agrees: Bleinheim is a must visit. It even won the number one slot for the Virginia winery with the “Hippest Feel” last year in the first VWLM Readers Choice Awards. How could it not be hip when it’s owned by Dave Matthews! Looking forward to seeing whether their Cab Sauv, Petit Verdot, Bleinheim Farm Chardonnay, and Viognier make it on the expo tasing list!
#2 Pollak Vineyards. Another shared choice. In last year’s VWLM Readers Choice awards, Pollak’s wines landed in the top three for best overall white (Viognier), red (Petit Verdot), and Meritage. When you visit their website, the description of each wine also lists the awards it has won…quite impressive! The Durant White is sure to please as the varietals blended for this wine are all steel fermented, as is their multi-award winning Viognier. Sadly, their Pinot Griogio and Cab Sauv are sold out, so we are not expecting them at the Expo. However, if we get to experience the Merlot and Petit Verdot we won’t be so bummed out.
#3 Keswick Vineyards. Another darling of the VWLM Readers Choice awards! I had this winery underlined as a must visit when he gets home from his deployment. For wine, it took the #1 slot for best overall Cab Franc and Viognier. Keswick also took the #1 slot for best winemaker with their Mr. Stephen Barnard whose 2007 Cab Sauv won the 2009 Governor’s Cup for best red out of 250 entries. You know, Valentine’s Day is coming up and love is in the air…Keswick also was voted the “Most Romantic Winery”. Keswick only focuses on a few wines as a time, happily it looks like we should be seeing the 2011 Les Vents d’Anges Viognier, which is toted as a dry wine rather than off-dry (2011 was a pretty wet summer, so makes sense). The Rives Red, which is 100% Syrah, sounds perfect for a steak dinner!
#4 Trump Winery Don’t laugh! OK, go ahead and laugh. We’re not actually sure how we feel about The Donald making wine (actually, his son is the one running the business). All jokes aside, the Trump Winery has big shoes to fill as it continues the legacy of the Kluge label, which had not only won state, international, and national awards but had been featured in main stream media, such as Martha Stewart Living Magazine and the Today Show, and graced the table at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding back in 2010. The Kluge Estate SP Rose, Albermarle Simply Red, and the Cru are on our wish tasting list!
#5 Veritas Vineyard and Winery The winemaker at Veritas, has won top marks on the national wine scene, placing as the Overall Winner of the red, white, Sparkling and Dessert wine categories in the Women Winemakers Challenge portion of the 2007 National Women’s Wine Competition. Her Scintilla won the VWLM’s #1 slot for best sparkling wine, so definitely hoping this one makes an appearance. The White Star, a blend of Viognier, Traminette, Chardonnay, and Petite Manseng, also looks like it will be a treat.
And now for a recap of wineries Cork and Spoon has had the pleasure to sample previously who will also be at the Wine Expo.
Chatham Vineyards – You’ll want to try their steel aged Chardonnay and the delectable Cab Franc.
Barboursville Vineyards – One word: Octagon. This past January, their 2008 and 2009 Cabernet Fran Reserve were voted best in their categories at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and Winemaker Challenge International Wine Competition in San Diego.
Boxwood Winery – You’ll want to sample their Boxwood Blend. Intense dark fruit flavors, yet smooth and with a clean finish.
Horton Vineyards – This winery is probably one of the most versatile in Virginia. From your vitis vinifera based wines, to your fruit wines, to blends of the two together.
Williamsburg Winery – Winner or numerous state, national, and international awards, would you really want to miss what the Decanter Magazine of London listed as one of the, “Worlds Best Wines”?
Oak Crest Vineyard and Winery – Hot Jazz all the way!!!!!!!
Ingleside Vineyards – If they bring their Virginia Gold, you MUST TRY IT!!! This wine is only made when their vineyard produces grapes even more phenomenal than usual. That is, ALL of the grapes produced that year, not just one or two of the varietals.
Potomac Point Winery – Our favorite neighbor, don’t miss out on the Heritage! Fingers crossed that the port and sparkling wine will make an appearance on the usual tasting list!