Subscribe to Blog via RSS
Search for Events
Recent Blog Articles
- 'Tis the Season to be Zinful
- New Tasting Rooms & a Grand Opening in Lodi
- How You Can Contribute to Earthquake Relief in Napa
- A Tale of Two Conferences
- Cats and Dogs Blogging Together
- Getting the Wine Bloggers Conference We Deserve
- New White Wines and Rosés from Rutherford's Day in the Dust
- 6 More California Rhone Wines to Try at Rhone Rangers
- Lodi Zinfandel Goes Native
- Study: Researchers Discover New Taste
- He Wasn't Talking To You, Mr. Outrage
- 16 North Coast Rhones to Try and a Toothsome #WineChat
- Howell Mountain Spring Tasting Wrap Up
- Of Tasting Notes and Photographs
- Rhone Rangers Tastings and Rhone-Variety Wines Tasted
- More Thoughts on Blind vs. Non-Blind Tasting
- A Great Tasting on Balance
- How Critics Taste Wines - On Blind Tasting
- On "Unexpected Napa Valley Wines"
- Robert Parker's Advice to Wine Writers
Recent Wines of the Day
- 2010 Moone-Tsai Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2009 Hawk and Horse Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2010 Skinner Vineyards Estate Mourvedre, El Dorado
- 2012 Masut Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir, Mendocino County
- 2010 Gallica Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2011 Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel Lizzy James Vineyard Lodi
- 2006 Santana Supernatural Rosé by Mumm Napa
- 2011 Jekel Riesling Monterey and 2011 Jekel Pinot Noir Santa Barbara
- 2012 Matthiasson Chardonnay Linda Vista Vineyard Napa Valley
- Review from the Cellar - 2010 Qupé Mourvedre Ibarra-Young Vineyard
- 2012 Tres Sabores Rosé “Ingrid and Julia” Napa Valley
- 2011 Testarossa Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- 2009 Lucia Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- Review: 2009 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2008 Vin Roc Cabernet Sauvignon Atlas Peak Napa Valley
- 2009 Cornerstone Cellars “The Cornerstone” Napa Valley
- 2009 Laetitia Pinot Noir Single Vineyard La Colline Arroyo Grande Valley
- 2010 Lange Twins Chardonnay Estate Grown Clarksburg AVA
- 2012 Borra Vineyards Artist Series Kerner Lodi AVA
- 2010 Wren Hop Pinot Noir “Fire Messenger” Sonoma Coast
NorCal Wine Blog
Who's Afraid of Virginia Wine?
- Wine Tourism
- Written by Fred Swan
- Saturday, 16 July 2011 22:40
By day, and often by night, I am a California wine guy. My personal tastes in wine are more catholic than that though. And I’m not referring to sacramental wine. I have studied the wines of the world, in books and classes and glasses and vineyards. I have tasted many thousands. If you don’t believe me, talk to my liver. It complains in French, German, Italian, Spanish and English (with an Aussie accent).
Despite (or perhaps because of) my foreign dalliances, I haven’t tasted much North American wine from states beyond the West Coast. Take Virginia. Here are things about which I know more than I do Virginia wine: Virginia country ham, Virginia Woolf, Virginia Mayo, extra virgin olive oil, Olive Oyl, Virginia Madsen, the Virgin Islands, Geena Davis, Queen Elizabeth I, Virginia Patterson Hensley, Virginia Dare, virgin cocktails, The Virginian and Ginny Weasley.
Screen capture from the trailer for "The Best Years of Our Lives"
I am not a Virginia wine virgin though. No. I have tasted Virginia’s wine. Some of it anyway. About 30 bottles if I’m honest. They didn’t leave me with a deep, longing thirst for more, but certainly lingering curiosity. A desire to know Virginia in the oenological sense.
Of those wines from Virginia I have tried, I found Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot varietals to be the most convincing. Is that universally true of Virginia, I wonder? I have heard that Viognier is special there, but have not experienced that myself. I love the delicate honeysuckle and tender peach of great Viognier. Can Virginia do that?
Cabernet Franc, grown and vinified in Virginia. Photo: Southern Foodways Alliance
I will soon find out. Mrs. NorCalWine and I fly to Virginia soon for the 2011 North American Wine Bloggers Conference. There, I expect to see, swirl, sniff, sip, swish and spit hundreds of Virginian wines. The state government there encourages that type of behavior. They would love for you to love their wine. Wine tourism is a big part of their plans for economic development in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I'm looking forward to getting a better understand of what Virginia has to offer in that regard.
The Virginia State Flag. The motto translates to "Thus Always to Tyrants." The
in blue looks like he could stomp some grapes.
The conference begins on Friday. I’ll be posting quick articles (Friday and over the weekend) about my experiences in Virginia and my honest thoughts on the wines. If you’re a Twitterer, keep an eye out there too. My Twitter handle is @NorCalWine. You will also be able to see the mostly coherent thoughts of all those in attendance by searching for the hashtag #WBC11. I'll have some conference related updates on my personal Facebook and Google + pages too.
Here are some of the things I’ll be experiencing and, as possible, relaying to you:
- A keynote address by Jancis Robinson (that alone might be worth the flight to Virginia)
- A wine reception and dinner at Monticello, home of Virginia’s most famous frustrated wine grower, Thomas Jefferson. Dinners at Monticello are rare (as in “it never happens”), so feel free to be jealous. I wonder if they have WiFi there...
- An overview of the Virginia wine industry and its growing areas
- A keynote address by Eric Asimov (always thought-provoking)
- Live blogging/tweeting as we taste a gazillion Virginian red wines
- A trip to wineries and vineyards near Charlottesville, VA
Thomas Jefferson's estate, Monticello. Photo: YF12s
For now, I’ll leave you with a little trivia quiz about Virginia. Post your guesses in the comments section of this article if you like. The answers are in this post.
1. What is Virginia's biggest export?
a) ham b) computer chips c) wine d) tomatoes e) CIA operatives
2. One of Virginia's nicknames is "Mother to Presidents." How many U.S. presidents were born in Virginia?
a) ten b) nine c) seven d) eight e) too many
3. What is the Virginia state song?
a) they don't have one b) Carry Me Back to Old Virginny c) Oh, Shenandoah d) Old Dominion e) Who Let The Dogs Out
And, in case you were wondering who she is I'll close this article with one of my favorites from Virginia Patterson Hensley:
Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook. Also check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.