Did you know Virginia is the fifth largest producer of wine in the US? I learned that and more, mainly just how good Virginia wine is, as a panelist in last night’s TasteLive Monticello, VA Wine Trail wine tasting event.
When Cailyn (who I met this summer at Zazu) from TasteLive emailed me inviting me to participate on a TasteLive panel, I was extremely excited. I have followed TasteLive tastings before, and the panelists are always excellent wine bloggers and other experts; to be included was an honor! A few days prior to the event, I received the wine from UPS, and being that I had never tried VA wine before, it was difficult not to open a bottle or two.
The moderator for the evening was Dezel from myvinespot.com, and a representative from each winery signed in as we tasted their wine.
I had SO much fun! It was a really funny, smart group of tasters. Because we were in an online platform, it was maybe a little easier to share my observations on the wine than if we were actually in the same room. But then again, I can be pretty shy and sometimes worry if my sense of smell is working when people are getting certain aromas off of the wine. Last night I felt like I was getting the key characteristics of each wine, and it was fun to hear what other people were getting from them as well as everyone else’s favorites.
The lineup for the evening’s tasting and some of the observations made during the tasting:
Kluge Estate 2007 SP Rosé
Beautiful pale pink color, lots of tiny bubbles and great effervescence, slight rose petal on the nose with flavors of strawberry, nice acidity as well as a nice round, creamy mouth feel, very balanced, delicious bubbly. A great Thanksgiving dinner wine.
Keswick Vineyards 2009 Viognier
Nice aromas and flavors of apricots and honeysuckle, a slick, oily mouth feel (in a good way), really flavorful and fragrant, good with Asian food but also a great Thanksgiving wine.
Jefferson Vineyards 2009 Reserve Chardonnay
An oaky nose with flavors of oak and vanilla. This wine was a hit with many of the tasters but was a little too oaky for me.
Afton Mountains 2009 Gewürztraminer (dry & 100% stainless)
Lots of people were getting lime or key lime pie from this wine, and I didn’t get the pie, but I definitely could taste some nice lime zest flavors. It had a great spiciness to it; I commented that it would be delicious with a spicy coconut curry. But again, this was mentioned as good with both spicy foods and poultry, making it a great Thanksgiving wine (see a trend?) This was probably my favorite white of the evening.
Blenheim Vineyards 2009 Merlot
A very earthy, tobacco-y nose with some dark cherry flavors as well as some leafy, green flavors to it. My husband and I thought this wine was very forest-y. It took us a few sips to get into it, but I think it opened up nicely as we tasted.
Mountfair Vineyards 2008 Wooloomooloo
Winner! This gorgeous, dark purple wine with an awesome name won me over 100%. It is a Petite Verdot blend, and I always enjoy Petite Verdot. It had just started raining here in Boston as we were tasting this wine, and I happened to be having some Nutella toast. The wine, the weather, the mood, the snack all went so well together. This wine has great, big berry flavors and such richness. I want to figure out a way to order and get this wine in Massachusetts. It is stunning.
Virginia wine is GOOD, at least in my little opinion! There are plenty of naysayers out there and plenty of people unhappy to see the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference on the East Coast, but I am excited to have had the opportunity to try all of these wines and I really hope to be able to attend the conference. One of the cool things about TasteLive is having the wineries right there with you as you taste. They put so much into the wine that they make and know so much about it making it truly a special experience to get to live chat with them. I hope to be able to participate in more TasteLive events in the future and definitely plan on making a visit to Virginia for some wine tasting!
Have you ever tried a wine from Virginia or other lesser-known wine regions?
*By the way, as you probably know from my miserable tweets, because I am quite sick and on medication, this was truly a tasting for me. I utilized the spit cup as I tasted while hubby got to enjoy the wines. Didn’t want you to think I was drinking and medicating I think I got so much out of this tasting because I was not actually drinking. I paid attention to the characteristics of the wine so much more. For more info on wine tasting, check out my guest post on Melissa Nibbles today!