The results were a mixed bag for Virginia wineries. A Virginia Viognier beat a California Viognier, a Virginia Merlot beat a French Merlot, and a California Cabernet Franc beat a Virginia Cabernet Franc. The fact that Viognier, Cabernet Franc and Merlot were the varietals that were judged is not surprising – I’ll mention for the umpteenth time how well Viognier and Cabernet Franc grow in Virginia – why not give Virginia wines a home field advantage?
The fact that such blind tastings can be held at all shows how far the Virginia wine industry has come. It is not quite the 1976 Judgment of Paris, but the fact that Virginia wines can hold their own against their bigger, older siblings is impressive.
I wasn’t able to attend the blind tasting myself, but am interested in which wines were included. Was it high-end Virginia wine vs. Vin de Pays wine from France? Were the wines from similar price-points? What criteria were used to judge the wines against one another?
Regardless of winners and wines, the Virginia wine industry can be proud that it stood its own against wines from California and France. It is unfortunate that the winery that produced the winning Merlot - White Fences Winery – is closing this year. They made consistently good wines and will be missed. White Fences did a lot to promote the Virginia Wine Industry and should consider this win their victory lap.