Message in a Bottle

I believe that winemakers are artists. And much like any other form of art, there are offerings that you will like, and those that you will not. Just like artists, there are winemakers who seem to move large groups of people, and who are particularly good at their craft year after year. Wine as art, for me, is particularly expressive; often representing a place, a passion, and a history. A message in a bottle, if you will.

So what happens when three of Virginia’s celebrated winemakers come together to put their message in a bottle? Winemakers Matthieu Finot of King Family Vineyards, Jake Busching of Grace Estate Winery, and Emily Pelton of Veritas have come together to offer their fourth vintage of “3.” Sourcing one-third of this red blend from each of their respective vineyards, the 2013 vintage is a powerhouse built by Cab Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot.3winemakers

 

The wine offers red berries on the nose, with a hint of cedar foretelling its depth and strong character. On the palate, this wine begins with bright red fruit, and develops hints of black cherry and cedar that linger on the finish. The tannins are not at all overpowering, but are structured enough to age another 3-5 years.3_2012

The message in this bottle? A powerful testament to the quality of Virginia wine, and the expressive terroir of the Monticello AVA. You can chat with the three creators of “3” at tomorrow’s Virginia Wine Chat.

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VA: Viognier Aptitude?

Is Virginia for Viognier lovers?

With 82 of Virginia’s 228 wineries producing Viognier, this vivacious varietal is set to make a name for itself in the state for lovers. In 2011, the Virginia Wine Board decided to designate Viognier as the state’s signature grape, hoping to brand it as a Virginia specialty, much the same way that Cabernet Sauvignon can be associated with Napa or Pinot Noir with Oregon. With such an astounding array of styles and character, Viognier certainly isn’t a bad grape to hitch your proverbial wagon to. Generally, wines from this varietal fall into two main styles: bright, lively and slightly sweet with plenty of stone fruit, apricot and honey, or a full-bodied, drier version that exchanges some of its fruit forwardness for oak and vanilla nuances.  Virginia does them both, and does them both well.

Noticeably absent from the 2013 Governor’s Cup Case, one might wonder if Virginia Viognier is really the standout that the state was hoping for (though just one wine in the Governor’s Case is a non-red, and that was the 2008 Trump Winery Sparkling Rose). Still, here are three outstanding wines that make perfect partners for seasonal spring and summer dishes:

Whether Virginia will achieve global acclaim for its Viognier remains to be seen, but this thick-skinned grape may be just the right metaphor for Virginia’s burgeoning wine industry as it looks to take on heavy hitters from California and Condrieu on national and international stages.

Viognier grapes ripening on the vine.