October is Virginia Wine Month, and while I’m behind in my month of blogging about Virginia wines, I’m looking forward to focusing on them over the next few weeks. Blogging about VA wines couldn’t be more timely, as Virginia is one of the largest wine producing states in the US, and the quality of VA wines has increased dramatically over the last 10 years, which means there are some yummy wines to share. In addition, the 2011 Wine Bloggers’ Conference is going to be held in Charlottesville, VA, which means that wine bloggers will be paying a lot more attention to the Commonwealth’s wines before heading out here next summer. With all of that in mind, blogging about the September Virginia Wine Festival seems like the perfect way to begin Virginia Wine Month.
Back in the middle of September, several friends and I met Dezel (from My Vine Spot) for a fun, relaxing afternoon of wine tasting at Bull Run Regional Park. Three of us took the Washington Wine Academy’s shuttle from Vienna Metro station. If you’re thinking about going to this annual wine festival next year, I highly recommend taking the shuttle. For $25, we had a comfortable, 20-minute minibus ride to Bull Run, and five hours later, when we were ready to leave, we were given a bottle of water as we boarded the bus and were safely dropped off at the metro 20 minutes later. Not that any of us were drunk, because we weren’t, but it was nice not to have to worry about driving after a very full day of wine tasting.
The three of us who took the shuttle arrived at the festival before everyone else, but we decided to dive right into the tasting. The first stop for was Rosemont Vineyards and Winery tasting table. Rosemont is a family-owned winery in Southern Virginia that released its first vintage in 2007. Unfortunately, the winery doesn’t have a DC distributor, but their wines are for sale on their website. The 2008 Cabernet Franc and the Meritage were my favorite Rosemont wines, and if you see either (or both), grab a bottle.
Rosemont 2008 Cabernet Franc ($21)—cedar, earth, molasses, vanilla, with some dark berries; medium tannins, good body.
Rosemont Meritage ($30)—dark berries, cedar, smoke, vanilla, & tealeaves; good tannins with a full body; would be nice with a soy sauce marinated steak.
2009 Rosemont Pinot Grigio ($16)—Granny smith apples & limes; good acidity.
2008 Rosemont Traminette ($15)—stone fruits with a hint of limes; very dry, but somewhat non-descript.
2009 Rosemont Rosé of Chambourcin ($13)—dark pink color; strawberries & something herbaceous.
Rosemont Lake Country Red ($15)—smoke, oakiness, & dark cherries; medium body.
Rosemont NV Merlot ($19)—dark plums, cherries, & vanilla; medium body and tannins.
Rosemont Lake Country Sunset ($13)—juicy pears, flowers, & honey; very sweet with little acidity; not my style.
After tasting all of the wines available at the Rosemont table, we headed down a few tents to the Delfosse Vineyards and Winery table. Delfosse is located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, about 30 minutes from Charlottesville. Having opened in 2000, they are relatively new VA winery. While their wines show potential and they had one of the nicest people we met all day pouring, there weren’t any wines that I fell in love with.
2008 Delfosse Chardonnay ($18)—apples & pears with some vanilla oakiness.
2006 Delfosse Cuvee Laurent ($18)—blackberries & oak; good acidity.
2007 Delfosse Deer Rock White ($15)—pears & pineapples with some residual sweetness.
2006 Delfosse Merlot ($18)—plums, cherries, & oak.
2007 Delfosse Deer Rock Red ($15)—flowers with a vegetal hint; sweetish.
2007 Delfosse Grand Cru Olivier ($18)—cranberries, vanilla, & twigs.
The Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard tasting table was our next stop. Kluge is located in Charlottesville. They were one of the only tables that charged an additional fee in order to taste several of the wines, but since the whole purpose of the festival was to taste, we all shelled out the additional money to taste both the 2007 Kluge Estate Blanc de Blanc and the Cru aperitif. The Blanc de Blanc was well worth the extra fee; Dezel even bought a bottle for us to drink with lunch. My surprise favorite wine, though, was the 2009 Albemarle Rosé. I actually purchased a bottle to review separately for VA Wine Month.
2007 Kluge Estate SP Blanc de Blanc ($25)—100% Chardonnay; persistent, tiny bubbles; lemons & cream with a touch of toastiness; high acidity.
2009 Albemarle Rosé ($13)—cherries, strawberries, limes, & peaches; slight effervescence; bright acidity.
2005 Kluge Estate New World Red ($25)—blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec; blackberries & black currants; full body with good tannins.
2009 Albemarle Sauvignon Blanc ($20)—light, greenish-yellow; citrus galore; good acidity.
2004 Albemarle Simply Red ($14)—blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot; blackberries, vanilla, & smoke; medium body and tannins.
Cru ($25)—100% Chardonnay; strong bourbon flavor mixed with sweet peaches, pears, and vanilla; not my style.
After tasting everything at the Kluge table, we met up with a few more members of our group and decided to visit a few more tables before breaking for lunch. The next stop was Tarara Winery.
*See Part 2 for reviews of Tarara Winery, Davis Valley Winery, Wintergreen Winery, and Mountfair Vineyards.
*See Part 3 for reviews of Veritas Vineyard and Winery, Villa Appalaccia Winery, and Unicorn Winery.
*See Part 4 for reviews of Cooper Vineyards, Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery, Paradise Springs Winery, and Château Morrisette.
VA Wine Diva says
I’m not a big festival person – to many (drunk) people and too much jostling for a position near someone pouring, but I also spend a lot of time sampling throughout VA, so the all in one place thing doesn’t matter as much for me. It sounds like you got to try an interesting array of offerings, however. I look forward to seeing the other 3 parts in this series. As for this one, if you’re ever south of c-ville with some time, check out DelFosse in person. The location is gorgeous (and bring your hiking shoes if you’re so included as they’ve got hiking trails on the property) and they have a lot more wines that don’t typically make it to festivals (many of their better ones in my opinion).
I completely understand your desire to avoid those events, although, surprisingly, everyone was fairly well-behaved. I’m hoping to branch out of NOVA vineyards, and you’ve definitely intrigued be about DelFosse, so I will keep it on my list of places to try. They were incredibly nice!