Virginia Governor’s Cup

Virginia’s 2014 Gold Named: The Virginia Governor’s Cup

Gold was handed out last night in Virginia by new Governor Terry McAuliffe. And the winner of the 2014 Virginia Wineries Association’s (VWA) Governor’s Gold Cup…The Williamsburg Winery’s 2010 Adagio!

The Williamsburg Winery’s Adagio, from the Italian ad agio, or ‘at ease,’ is a blend of 42% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot and 28% Petit Verdot. It’s aged in French, American and Hungarian Oak.

The 2010 Adagio is a very bold upfront wine with loads of jammy fruit. The blackberries and blueberry notes are accentuated with some elegant mature darker fruit such as figs, dates and prunes. There is a hint of spice (warm cinnamon) with molasses and soy. The earthy notes come across with a touch of nuttiness. The oak is very integrated into the weight of the wine and the tannins are smooth and graceful. The wine has a wonderful finish that lasts for quite awhile. I look forward to trying it!

The other 11 winning wines in the Governor’s Cup Case are…

  • Barboursville Vineyard – 2008 Malvaxia Passito
  • Barboursville Vineyard – 2010 Nebbiolo Reserve
  • Barboursville Vineyard – 2010 Octagon
  • Barren Ridge Vineyard – 2009 Meritage
  • Fabbioli Cellars – 2011 Tannat
  • Horton Vineyards – 2010 Tannat
  • King Family Vineyards – 2011 Meritage
  • North Gate Vineyard – 2011 Meritage
  • Rockbridge Vineyard – 2008 Meritage, DeChiel Reserve, unfiltered
  • Sunset Hills Vineyard – 2010 Mosaic
  • Two Twisted Post Winery – 2012 Chardonnay

At last night’s awards, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore was named Wine Person of the Year. It’s great to see Secretary Haymore win the award has he has worked tirelessly for years to promote Virginia’s wine industry and it’s benefits to the state. Kudos to Governor McAuliffe for recognizing this and keeping Todd on his team!

Virginia wine continues to soar…sales reached a record high in fiscal year 2013 with more than 511,000 cases, or more than 6.1 million bottles, sold. Virginia currently ranks fifth in the number of wineries in the nation with 250 wineries.

Cheers to Virginia Wine!

Virginia Governor’s Cup Gold: Best Wines of Virginia Named for 2013

Virginia’s top wines were named a few weeks ago with 2013 Virginia Wineries Association’s Governor’s Cup top honors going to Barboursville Vineyards’ 2009 Octagon 12th Edition. Virginia currently ranks fifth in the number of wineries in the nation with 230 and 93 of the wineries submitted 377 red and white entries for this year’s competition.

Barboursville Vineyards 2009 Octagon 12th Edition is a Bordeaux-style Meritage (70 percent Merlot, 15 percent Cabernet Franc, 10 percent Petit Verdot, and 5 percent Cabernet Sauvignon) that’s made in only the best vintage years. It’s the fourth Governor’s Cup that Barboursville’s won, but the first for the Octagon, which Governor McDonnell called “one of Virginia’s most iconic red wines.”

Governor Bob McDonnell presented the award at the Virginia Wineries Association’s Governor’s Cup Gala. Governor McDonnell championed major changes to the Virginia Governor’s Cup competition in 2011 that made it one of the most stringent and comprehensive wine competitions in the United States.

The 2013 Virginia Governor’s Cup Competition was conducted over two weeks of tasting. The preliminary tastings were held over ten days at the Capital Wine School in Washington DC, while the final round of tastings was held at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond. The Governor’s Cup award winner was selected from the 2013 Governor’s Cup Case, the top 12 scoring wines of the competition. The other 11 wines…

Cooper Vineyards: 2010 Petit Verdot Reserve
King Family Vineyards: 2010 Meritage
Lovingston Winery: 2009 Josie’s Knoll Estate Reserve
Philip Carter Winery: 2010 Cleve
Pollak Vineyards: 2009 Cabernet Franc Reserve
Potomac Point Vineyard and Winery: 2010 Richland Reserve Heritage
Rappahannock Cellars: 2010 Meritage
RdV Vineyards: 2010 Rendezvous
RdV Vineyards: 2010 Lost Mountain
Sunset Hills Vineyard: 2010 Mosaic
Trump Winery: 2008 Sparkling Rose

Accepting for Barboursville Vineyards was Luca Paschina, Barboursville’s General Manager and Winemaker. “It has been a pleasure and a reward to follow the evolution of the 2009 vintage of Octagon. Since harvest I took notice of its promising characters, and I was not shy to share with many that it was destined to be among the best wines I will ever produce in my life,” said Luca. “The Virginia Governor’s Cup award is an honor and further validates the character of a wine that has already won 90 points at Wine Enthusiast, the Gold Medal of the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago, of the Winemaker’s Challenge and Critics Challenge in California, and the Platinum Medal of the Sommelier Challenge, also in California.”

Barboursville Vineyards is located in the Monticello American Viticulture Area of Central Virginia, in and around the Charlottesville region. The historic Virginia winery is located on the estate of James Barbour, former Governor of Virginia, in Barboursville. The winery was founded in 1976 by Gianni Zonin, a prominent Italian winemaker whose family has roots in Italian viticulture going back to 1821. The Zonin Group is based in Vicenza, Italy. Barboursville is Zonin’s sole American venture.

Noticeably missing from this year’s winner list…white wine and Virginia’s offiical white variety, Viognier. There’s been much talk about it online. Frank Morgan of Drink What You Like spoke to Virginia Governor’s Cup competition head judge, Jay Youmans, MW on the topic. Jay said, “It is not that Viognier has performed poorly; it has more to do with the fact that many of the reds simply reflect the strength of the 2007, 2009, and 2010 vintages. While Viognier may perform well in Virginia, it is not as commercially important in the global market as full-bodied red blends.”

Gold Cup winner 2009 Octagon 12th Edition, along with the other 11 highest scoring wines above, will comprise the Governor’s Case, and serve as drinkable marketing ambassadors for the local industry throughout the year.

The Virginia wine industry continues it’s unprecedented growth. Sales of Virginia wine reached a record high in fiscal year 2012 with more than 485,000 cases, or more than 5.8 million bottles, sold. Virginia is also the nation’s fifth largest wine grape producer. According to a recently released economic impact study, the Virginia wine industry employs more than 4,700 and contributes almost $750 million to the Virginia economy on an annual basis.

For more information on all the winners, here’s a great site from Virginia Wine.

Congratulations to the 2013 winners!

Tasting Virginia’s Gold

Last weekend was the fifth annual Virginia Wine Expo in Richmond, a three day event featuring 75 of Virginia’s 200+ wineries sampling more than 450 bottles of wine. Kicking off the weekend’s festivities Thursday night was the prestigious Virginia Governor’s Cup Awards announcement. Nine of the eleven Gold medal winners attended the Virginia Wine Expo which gave me and thousands of others the chance to taste many of the award winners in one place.

And the winners I tasted…

Glen Manor Vineyards 2009 Hodder Hill Meritage… THE 2010 Governor’s Cup Winner

  • Grape Variety: 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot
  • Aroma: Dark red berries, eucalyptus
  • Taste: Multi layers of red berries, cassis, tea leaf, great tannins paired with bright acidity
  • Price: $35
  • My thoughts: WOW! This is an incredible wine! Glen Manor was a new winery to me but located only an hour outside DC. Jeff White, owner and winemaker, was sampling all weekend at the Expo. What a nice and humble man! When you taste this wine you’ll know why it won and know Virginia wine can rival any wine in the world! Congratulations Jeff!

* Thanks to Virginia Wine Time for the great photo from Glen Manor’s tasting room!

Bluestone Vineyard 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Grape Variety: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Aroma: Black currant, cedar
  • Taste: Smooth melow cassis with oak undertones and a slight sweet finish
  • Price: $25.50
  • My thoughts: A great example of Cabernet Sauvignon in Virginia…drinkable now or will be perfect after some aging. Bluestone was another new winery to me. Curt Hartman, owner, and his son Lee, winemaker, were on sampling at the Expo and couldn’t have been nicer. Only three years in they are doing some great work.

Veritas 2010 Vintner’s Reserve Meritage Blend

  • Grape Variety: 42% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 25% Petit Verdot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Aroma: Cherry, chocolate and cedar
  • Taste: Cherry with a hint of pepper finished with vanilla and caramel
  • Price: $35
  • My thoughts: This is a great Meritage blend with each grape adding a nice complexity to the wine. Emily is a fabulous winemaker I met at the Virginia Wine Bloggers Conference last July. She is doing amazing work at her winery in red and white!

Potomac Point Winery 2009 Heritage Reserve Meritage Blend

  • Grape Variety: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot
  • Aroma: Baked cherries and chocolate
  • Taste: Cherries, medium tannins
  • Price: $29
  • My thoughts: This wine is a nice Bordeaux style blend. This was my first tasting of Potomac Point’s wines. They have some different things in their line up like wines made from the Portuguese grape Touriga Nacional including their Rabelos Port 2010.

Other wines included in the Governor’s Case I haven’t yet tasted…

  • Delfosse Vineyards & Winery 2007 Blend
  • Jefferson Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Franc
  • Keswick Vineyards 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Keswick Vineyards 2010 Merlot
  • King Family Vineyards 2008 Meritage Blend
  • Tarara Winery 2010 Honah Lee White Vinifera Blend
  • Trump Winery 2008 Kluge SP Blanc de Blanc Sparkling
  • White Hall Vineyards 2010 Gewurztraminer

The 2012 Governor’s Cups Medal Winners were chose by a panel of world class judges who sampled over 400 Virginia wines and handed out thirteen Gold medals based on a the 100 point Wine Spectator scale. The 12 highest ranking wines will be assembled into the Governor’s Case used to promote Virginia wine in the coming months by the Virginia Wine Marketing Office.

Sales of Virginia wine reached a record high in fiscal year 2011 with more than 462,000 cases, or more than 5.5 million bottles, sold. This volume marks a sales increase of more than 11 percent over the previous fiscal year. Virginia currently ranks fifth in the number of wineries in the nation with 210. Virginia is also the nation’s fifth largest wine grape producer.

In coming posts I’ll share more on this year’s Virginia Wine Expo, some new discoveries and more from my old favorites.

Cheers to Virginia wine!