Despite some nasty weather, on Saturday May 31st we were able to enjoy wine and music at the 27th annual Vintage Virginia festival. The festival highlights the growing Virginia wine industry - and over 50 wineries participated - pouring over 350 different wines. Virginia is best known for their Viognier and Cabernet Franc, but there are also excellent examples of Norton, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Sparkling wines, fruit wines, and mead. Besides the wines, each year Across-the-Way Productions brings together awesome local and national acts and this year was no different. A review of the music is available at the MyJoog Blog.
The day started rather warm and we decided to start with white and rosé styled wines at a couple favorite wineries: Village Winery and Gabriele Rausse Winery. Village Winery was pouring an excellent Viognier and Apple Wine and Gabriele Rausse was pouring an excellent Viognier and a dry NV Rosé. We also sampled the Mead and cyser products from Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery in preparation for a winery visit this summer. Their mead is outstanding. Next door, at Rebec Vineyards, we tasted two interesting wines, The Landmark White a blend of Viognier and Rhatsiteli and the Sweet Sofia, a wine made from a Bulgarian recipe - also from Rhatsiteli and lots of spices. Our pal Dezel joined us and we proceeded to sample excellent wine from Wintergreen Winery (Viognier, Apple Wine), Chrysalis Vineyards (Viognier), Barboursville Vineyards (Rosé), Horton Vineyards (Petit Manseng, Rhatsiteli), Sweely Winery Estate (Viognier) -- then the storm hit. After a few bolts of lightening, we found shelter in the parking lot and then a second time, in a tent. What a mess: Lightening, tornado warnings, downpours.
And then, right when we were ready to call it quits, the sun came out. During the break, a fellow attendee had commented that Veritas Vineyards - particularly their - Vintner's Reserve was his favorite so we immediately proceeded to see why. We tried their entire selection, and yes, the Vintner's Reserve was very good. We also liked the Claret (Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot), Red Star (Cabernet Franc and Chambourcin), and Rosé and for whites, the Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc. We might have to take a trip to Afton soon.
We then ventured to two new wineries, Sunset Hills Vineyard & Winery and Holly Grove Vineyards. Sunset Hills (Purcellville) was pouring a nice Viognier and Petit Verdot. Holly Grove is located on the eastern shore so this was a great opportunity to taste their products. The Chardonnay and Merlot are already multiple medal winners, but our favorite was the Sunset Rosé. This is the wine we finished the day with while listening to Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk. Before that, however, we did spend some time at Kluge Estate Winery's tent and we were impressed with their SP Blanc de Blancs and Kluge Estate Cru. The Cru is interesting in that the Chardonnay grapes are fortified with Virginia-distilled brandy, and then aged for six months in Jack Daniel’s® barrels.
Obviously, due to a long break caused by the erratic weather we didn't get a chance to visit most wineries; but the day was still a success - with great wine and music.