Virginia is a sleeping wine giant that is now perhaps awakening. We had a chance to sample some of the Old Dominion’s great wines during the Wine Bloggers Conference held in Charlottesville back in 2011.
The Virginia wines that are at the top of the list in our mind are Viognier and Cab Franc. One of the outstanding wineries is Barboursville Vineyards.
Roots run deep at Barboursville Vineyards. The estate house there dates back to 1814 and was designed by Thomas Jefferson. Winery founder Gianni Zonin acquired the plantation in 1976 with the goal of establishing a vineyard.
Jefferson had tried this repeatedly at Monticello and failed to achieve a single harvest. But Gianni has succeeded -- and done so beyond all expectation. Barboursville’s Octagon, a Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Verdot, sets the standard for Virginia Reds. This year the 2009 vintage was awarded the Governor’s Cup for best wine in the state.
During a recent meeting in Richmond, I received a bottle of the 2012 Merlot as a nice amenity in my room. I was much too busy during the event to drink it, so it waited until a few days ago when Green Dragon and I uncorked it.
The Barboursville 2012 Merlot is a highly drinkable wine right now – no need to set aside for aging. It spends limited time in oak barrels and so the taste is bright and fresh. It is a dry wine with very soft texture. The wine burbles with the flavors of fresh red berries.
This wine retails for $14.99 and is a great casual sipping wine. It can also pair with lighter beef or pork dishes perhaps with risotto or lentil soup.
Barboursville Vineyards always delivers satisfaction, whether it be with their “classic” line of entry level wines or their $50 bottle of Octagon. Thomas Jefferson’s dreams are realized in the quality wines from Barboursville.