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Topic Summary

Posted by: nacho
« on: December 14, 2010, 11:18:20 PM »

Oh, look:

Although most people think (with good reason) of California as the pioneer for American wines, many of the first vines planted here in the states were located in historic Virginia, as Jamestown settlers were each required to grow ten vines for the production of wine. Later, forefather Thomas Jefferson attempted to plant vitis vinifera at his Monticello estate near Charlottesville, VA. As a fan of French wines and a frequent visitor to France, Jefferson was a dedicated advocate for the production of fine wines in America. Sadly, over his 30 years of vineyard labor he failed to produce a single bottle of wine.  A few centuries later, those who could produce wine in Virginia would be all but wiped out by Prohibition.

However, in 1976, Barboursville Vineyards was planted by Italian Gianni Zonin and attended by Gabrielle Rausse. As the years went on, more and more Virginia wineries began to plant vines and make wine, as the industry collectively gained experience, learned from mistakes, and determined which grapes and styles were successful for making quality wines.  Throughout the 1990's these wineries developed as local favorites in addition to gaining more national acclaim as the wines improved.  Major wine trails developed around the Charlottesville area as well as in Northern Virginia, which became a major attraction to D.C. suburbanites.

In the year 2000, there were over 100 Virginia wineries. Today there are 186 holders of a Virginia Farm Winery License, and more and more are popping up every month. Obviously not all of them can be exceptional, or even good, but the industry is becoming undeniable on a national scale.  Virginia's output now equals 16% of the wine produced in the states, with only California, Oregon, Washington, and New York ahead of them.

The two wines that are garnering the most attention for Virginia are Viognier and Cabernet Franc. Because of the relatively short growing season, white wines tend to perform better than reds. When the late summer/early fall growing season stops earlier than other climes, there is less time for grapes to receive heat and sunlight to further ripen, and unripe red grapes tend to make lean, unremarkable red wines. They often also have green, vegetal flavors that come from unripe seeds. Premier sites make fine red wines, but not without great care. Cabernet Franc is an earlier-ripening grape, which allows it to grow in the cooler climates of Virginia. It also has a loose arrangement of grapes (rather than a tight cluster,), which allows for better ventilation in the humid, sometimes rainy Virginia summers. Two other frontrunners are Petit Verdot, a Bordeaux red historically used for blending in small percentages but receiving attention in Virginia as a single varietal, and Chardonnay, the world's most popular grape, is performing well across the board.

With distribution laws recently allowing Virginia wineries to self-distribute within the state (which allows the wineries to make more money,) the booming industry is likely to continue to explode. That combined with the nation's capital and Thomas Jefferson's Charlottesville acting as continuous draws to the two most prominent regions, wineries such as Barboursville, Linden, Corcoran, Jefferson, and Afton Mountain Vineyards are likely to see continued success.
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: June 06, 2010, 11:08:29 AM »

It was a good time. I actually maintained a level of even "buzz" all day. There are a lot of wineries Mrs. RC and I wanted to taste, so I dumped and spat out a lot of tastings, especially crap wines, which I'm sorry to report there were a lot of. Though we didn't taste at wineries which we were familiar with, even though we knew we liked them.

Still, we left with $twelve bottles of wine so the day can be called nothing but a success.
Posted by: nacho
« on: June 06, 2010, 09:01:22 AM »

Judging by the slew of wildly drunken text messages on my phone, I'm guessing yesterday was a good time?
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: June 03, 2010, 12:05:27 PM »

No worries. Think about September.
Posted by: nacho
« on: June 03, 2010, 11:07:20 AM »

Oh, right.  God...fucking June sucks.  So this Saturday is a no-go.
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: June 03, 2010, 10:52:10 AM »

Nacho and Poppy, I take it that due to weddings and other nonsense, you won't be joining us as the Vintage VA Wine Fest this Saturday?
Posted by: nacho
« on: May 27, 2010, 02:55:41 PM »

Um...okay!  I'll try and join you.
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: May 27, 2010, 02:30:12 PM »

Mrs. RC and I are booked for the Virginia Wine Fest on September 18 and 19.
Posted by: Cassander
« on: May 16, 2010, 07:26:55 PM »

rooftop vineyards!  eco-friendly and uber-hip!
Posted by: nacho
« on: May 16, 2010, 12:25:54 PM »

All the vacant lots now have high rise condos on them.
Posted by: Cassander
« on: May 16, 2010, 12:01:03 PM »

nacho, you should buy up vacant lots in silver spring and plant grape vines in them and create the first DC area urban winery. 
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: May 15, 2010, 09:55:34 PM »

Mrs. RC and I are going to the Vintage Virginia Wine Festival on Saturday, June 5. $25 for the day, and it's only about twenty miles from our house. Who's in?
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: April 22, 2010, 11:29:03 AM »

Oh, they all do that. And in most aspects the better way to do it is just to drive from winery to winery. The problem becomes your level of drunkenness after, say, the second winery.

Mrs. RC and I did that for Valentine's Day this year. We went to high tea in The Plains, VA  then headed on over to Pearmund winery where we did a tasting and killed two glasses of wine before heading back to town for dinner.

The fall festival (September) is the better of the two big VA fests. It's lower key with less drunks and more wine lovers.
Posted by: nacho
« on: April 22, 2010, 11:22:16 AM »

I was thinking of targeting a few of the rural vineyards as a day away from the city sort of thing.  Besides that link I included in an earlier post, are the other vineyards open to that?  Or is it the storefront taste then get out of here routine you see in MD, PA, and WV wineries?  I was thinking back patio, bottle of wine, some cheeses, and maybe retire to a B&B.
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: April 22, 2010, 11:16:50 AM »

The summer one often is less fun because of the heat. A wine buzz in 97 degree weather with ridiculous humidity isn't all that great. Plus, you have to keep cutting it with water so you don't have heat stroke. That said, if Mrs. RC and I have our schedules open, we try to go.

VA wine is quite good. The general consensus is that VA is about twenty years behind California on wine. However, twenty years ago, CA wine was incredible so I don't mind "slumming it." VA has a good variety of traditional wines and fruit wines, and even some crazy novelty wines you'd never buy, but will drink at a festival. (Hot pepper wine, anyone?)

There's a couple duds, but if you go with me I can steer you away from them. Though really, since it's a flat fee to taste everybody's wine, you might as well try the bad ones too. After all, one man's trash and all that jazz.

There are bands that are forgettable, and the food runs from stock carny to cheap snooty. Go for the wine, which is worth the trip.