Saturday AMF went on a little field trip out to Virgina. Making it outside DC is a rare occurrence these days for me given my lack of transportation, but how can you not when good friends, good weather, free flowing alcohol, are all in abundance. Is there any way better to spend a Saturday? Ok, fine, I’m sure there are valid answers to that question, but if you’re a yuppie, scratches by to build a “career,” looking at a picture just a tad bit larger than your immediate-post college counterparts, this is a good day. So lets talk a little wine shall we? Vintage Virgina Wine Festival was a great chance to pay homage to our local guys, and worth waiting in traffic. I was glad to see some really good things going on once I finally cut to the front of the line.
Honestly, I’m not going to hate on any VA vineyards, because they all had something to contribute. I enjoyed at least one varial at every booth, was treated well by each and every taster. It was a welcoming and enticing event, and it’s really great to see the VA wineries really start coming into their own.
Also, the live music had some exceptional talent. Thankfully the country cover bands stayed home and we were treated to some quality jazz under a few different tents, not to mention the main stage provided patrons with good bands to sit and relax to when they needed to give their palates a break. Think I even saw a mosh pit forming in front of the stage towards the end. Also, how can you not love the county fair selection of food vendors?! Fuck caviar and bruscetta (not really), give me funnel cakes, foot long corn dogs and the biggest mount of jambalaya I have ever seen in my life. It was a perfect trifecta of quality music, excellent vino and greasy carnival food. Enough foreplay, lets talk wine.
As I said, I don’t want to be critical of the various wineries. If I had not found a single decent wine at any of the booths I visited, I would make note of it, but that thankfully was not the case. Not to mention given the length of the day, varying crowds and my refusal to spit out any wine I tasted my experiences would vary I’m sure from others. Overall, was really happy to see a variety of Cab Francs and even a few appearances of Petit Verdot in a couple of blends. Here are my Top Three vineyards and my Top Three wines from each.
First reaction: “Only three wines? Seriously? Kind of a jip.” Reaction after the first taste: “Holy fuck..”
These guys sacrificed quantity for quality in all the right ways. Maybe I’m a sucker for the Petit Verdot grape which adds an almost syrupy richness and body to any wine it touches, but Mountfair’s blends were simply excellent on all three of their offerings. These guys are small time, about 100 cases of each wine produced, but they certainly make up for it in quality. All three need a taste, so I’ll just list them and you go find them.
Inagural ‘07 (60% Cab Franc/25% Merlot/ 15% Petit Verdot) – Lush and fruity
Engagement ‘07 (60% Merlot/20% Petit Verdot/ 15% Cab Sav/ 5% Malbec) – soft but well structured. Hints of berries and chocolate
Wooloomooloo ‘07 (60% Petit Verdot/20% Merlot/ 10% Cab Franc/5% Cab Sav/5% Malbec) – almost a true Bordeux blend including all five of the major grapes. Well balanced with fruit and earth. One of my favorites.
I won’t lie. I have a soft spot for irreverant branding and interesting labels. So I could be bias here, but I really dug a lot of what these guys were putting out. Don’t let the names fool you, these are legit blends that would hold up well at any dinner party.
Yesterday – A bright, crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Not too fruity or herby. Inspired by youth apparently.
Erhoneous – I’ve always really enjoyed the Rhone wines, so when I saw that this was a Grenach/Syrah blend I was excited. Very smooth, lush and fruity. The Grenache isn’t overwhelming at all.
Franc the Tank – A Cab Franc that is advertised as “so good you’ll drink it by the pint.” My notes betray me here. All I can tell you is that I circled “pint” and ”so good” and then added a bunch of “!!!” after the name.
I’ve actually had the pleasure of visiting this little vineyard outside of Charlettesville a little while back, and I’d highly recommend the trip. If you’re an American History fan, you’re in luck since the house on the hill was designed by Thomas Jefferson. He also brought over a lot of the grapes from Italy to take root, but failed miserably. Lucky for us, that didn’t keep the people who owned the land from trying again. I really enjoy Italian grape varials, so I’m always excited to see what they’re putting out.
Nebbiolo – a Northern Italy grape clone, a tannic wine with a lot of body, well suited for roated meats and cold evenings.
Octagon – Barboursville’s signature blend. It’s a solid sturdy wine, but if your really want to learn a thing or two about this wine, and digg some tunes check this link out.
Also, it should be noted Valhalla and Breaux both did impressive jobs and deserve more attention than I was able to give here.