How did a slew of wines from the state of Virginia on the Eastern seaboard of the United States score 90+ points (a handful even got 95+ points) during a recent tasting?
When it came to Virginia wines, it boiled down to three things: Surprise, both about the quality and the diversity of the offerings. Petit Manseng, anyone? An earnest pursuit to find and purchase the wines after the tasting. (Despite Virginia's proximity to Atlanta, Georgia -- where the tasting was held and where we all live -- the availability of Virginia wines here is very limited. This is due, my taster friend Jonathan was told in his research, to limited quantities and distributor bottlenecks.) Pride.
Thanks to an exciting new crop of small businesses, farms, and artisans popping up in Virginia Wine Country, the vineyards are no longer the only reason to visit this bucolic wine-lovers destination.
But what if we told you Virginia is wine country, and good wine country at that? You’d probably say, “No! Biddies. Bonnets. BUTTER.” That’s what we said too (in not so many words) when we learned we were going to Charlottesville, Virginia, for the Monticello Wine Trail. Virginia is all Southern charm to a couple of New Yorkers like us, but we were about to learn otherwise in four days, five wineries, and glass upon glass upon… Well, you know how this goes.
Two teams of high-powered wine guys were challenged to select Virginia wines to pair with three food selections at a breakout session of the always engaging and somewhat annual Virginia Wine Summit earlier this month at glamorous Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg.
The Virginia Wine Board hosted the fourth annual Virginia Wine Summit, which took place at the Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, Virginia.
The 12 winners of the 2015 Governor’s Cup competition show diverse character and some impressive quality
Claude Thibaut was born into a champagne-producing family in the Champagne region of France and began working in the family business at a young age. Now 25 years into his career, Claude has been producing sparkling wine in France, Australia, California and Virginia. After working in Virginia for 2 years Claude realized the potential for producing sparkling wine in the region and teamed up with his friend Manuel Janisson to open the Thibaut-Janisson Winery.
Having worked with Virginia wines very closely for the past five years, I have been continuously impressed and excited about the sparkling wines making their way to the retail scene. Interest in this category is steadily rising as more producers try their hand at this challenging style of winemaking.
A surprise only to those who haven’t tried it, the finest Indian food in the country seduces with its spices in a city that’s home to just over 650,000 residents — and 2,000 restaurants. Downtown, the most daring example of avant-garde cooking this side of the Atlantic is yours, starting at $250 a head. And a 10-minute cab ride away awaits the spot Bon Appétit called the best new restaurant in the United States — not bad for a place that makes all but the First Family stand in line for a chance at a table.
Tucked away in the bucolic town of Washington, Virginia awaits a mouthwatering dining experience at the Foster Harris House. It is a culinary treasure, where husband and wife, chef John and hostess, Diane MacPherson, team up to serve the best seasonal foods and wines the Shenandoah Valley region has to offer.
In 1990, there were about 18 Virginia wineries; today it's closer to 230, with many that are highly acclaimed. The Cabernets and Chardonnays aren't household names, meaning that you'll have this undiscovered wine region to yourselves for a romantic escape.
Old World petit manseng thrives in Virginia
Virginia's Cabs and Chardonnays aren't household names—but they should be. After decades in the shadow of Napa and Sonoma, this overlooked wine destination has blossomed, with superb vintages and restaurants to match.
When you consider the past 8,000 years or so of wine production history, sparkling wine is relatively new on the scene, becoming popular as late as the 1700s. In the early millennia of wine production, sparkling wines were usually made accidentally when a wine would continue its fermentation after warming up in the spring after harvest. When the weather gets cold, yeast goes dormant and stops fermenting, but it will continue its fermentation as soon as it warms up. If a wine container is sealed while yeast has the potential for activity, you could end up with a sparkling wine.
Petit manseng has captured the curiosity of many of Virginia’s top winemakers. Just how integrated the grape will become to Virginia’s repertoire remains to be seen, but it is off to a roaring start. “I love the grape,” says Jeff White of Glen Manor Vineyards. “It is so versatile. It can be aged so long.”