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!