Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Virginia Vs .The World

At the Virginia Wine Showcase, a blind tasting was held that pitted Virginia wines against those from “The World.” “The World” being California and France. The tasting was conducted by Brandon Walsh of Hosted Wine Tasting. The tasters served as judges and chose the winning wines. About 60 attendees participated.

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?

What is surprising is that a California Cabernet Franc beat out a Virginia Cabernet Franc and that a Virginia Merlot beat a French Merlot. I have not been a huge fan of the Merlots I have had from Virginia, but have said plenty on Virginia Cabernet Franc. The judges have spoken, though, and have declared Virginia Merlot superior to that of France and California Cabernet Franc superior to that of Virginia. The Viognier judgment isn’t all that surprising. Have I mentioned how good Virginia Viogniers are?

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.

1 comment:

  1. On the back label of White Fences Merlot it says that it is produced and
    bottled by Prince Michel. It tastes very similar to the Prince Michel