Last Saturday, the husband and I decided to head out to the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival in Moneta for a couple of hours. Despite raising an eyebrow at the $22/p entrance fee, we did have a good time. Lots of interesting craft vendors, live music, yummy looking food, and of course, plenty of wine to taste and buy. There were lots of large Virginia wineries represented from throughout the state and also quite a few smaller vineyards as well. We mostly sampled reds, but had a few whites thrown in here and there, along with the occasional dessert wines. I will say that Virginia makes A LOT of sweet(er) wines. And I, generally, am not a fan. But I did manage to find a few that I really enjoyed.
Some of the favorites:
- Veritas’ Cabernet Franc (2009) — “Ruby red in color and showing beautifully ripe fruit tones in the nose and palate. Medium bodied with layers of Cherry, Cassis, and Blackberry. The tannins are soft, elegant and well integrated, followed by light black pepper spice creating a truly harmonious finish.” $18
- Veritas’ Claret (2009) — “The word Claret was originally an English term used to reference the pale colored table wines from Bordeaux. Claret 2009 is made up of a Bordeaux style blend of 60% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. The bouquet has a delicate balance of fruit and spice. The palate is soft, elegant, and fruit forward with layers of red and black cherry, blackberry and currant. The tannins give firm structure, leading to a soft but lingering finish. A great wine to enjoy with everything from hamburgers to pasta.” $18
- Chateau Morrisette’s Cabernet Sauvignon — “Aromas of berries, black tea, and spices flow from this velvet-textured wine. Cherry flavors merge with traces of earth, leather and black pepper. This wine was enhanced with small amounts of Chambourcin, Tannat and Cabernet Franc to add depth and complexity.” $20
- Rockbridge Vineyard’s Tuscarora Red — “A Rockbridge Original since 1991!This blended red table wine is the perfect accompaniment to Mediterranean dishes. A virtual potpourri of red grapes with Chambourcin being predominate. 100% barrel aged, dry and medium bodied.” $10
- Barboursville Vineyards’ Merlot (2008) — “Here, Merlot is so ideally adapted to its terroir, and therefore so perfected by the vine, itself, as to claim exemption from almost all winemaking “intervention.” Its tannins are so amiable as to ask for very little emphasis in barrel, and its body and flavors naturally suggest the readiest drinkability with the foods it traditionally accompanies. This Merlot may surprise those accustomed to the grape’s domination, in most New World productions, by efforts to shape it in a more fashionably aggressive style. But ours is a culture which accepts that there is no occasion more special than the meals we share every day, and values a wine which can mark those moments with beauty and simple delight. This is why we craft our Merlot to “set the table” with a spontaneously approachable wine.”
- Barboursville Vineyards’ Octagon (2006) — “Octagon is this growing region’s definition in red wine. What explains its honors and age worthiness is that it disclosed itself, over decades of empirical investigation of this terroir with many clones of many wine grapes.To discover Octagon and what it represents, is the founding charter to which this estate is dedicated, without preference, and with no ambition other than the honest passion to elicit the beauty of this ground.While rare in supply, Octagon is no longer rare in annual production, because the proof of the vigor of its constituent parts — Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot — flowed naturally from the discovery of growing sites, clonal selections, trellising systems, and vine management techniques which reveal the persistent voice of our terroir in a wide range of seasonal conditions. Octagon became, thereby, the authentic extraction of its time as well as of its place, one of the most rewarding proofs of the vitality of the Bordeaux style in the New World. The privilege of crafting this wine can be sensed each time one of its vintages is tasted, over a long and rewarding shelf life.” $40
*note: Those Barboursville people take their wine waaaaaaay seriously.
So having tasted those and so many more (some that I loved, some not so much)… here is the hoard I came home with…
*note– all quotes are from the vineyards’ websites