Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Virginia Wine Keeps the Accolades Coming

February was a good month for Virginia wine, and March is shaping up to be just as good. In terms of recognition, February saw Virginia wines receive several prestigious awards both near and far and March has been dubbed, “Virginia Wine and Dine Month.” If it seems as if there is a Virginia Wine marketing tie-in for every month of the year, you’re not too far off. Indeed, the wines are getting better and those tasked with marketing Virginia wine are certainly earning their salaries.
The Governor’s Cup was awarded to Glen Manor for their 2009 Hodder Hill Meritage. Glen Manor was up against some of Virginia’s other great wineries and the honor is well-received for their Meritage, which is not a variety of grape, but a name given to American wines that blend traditional Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petite Verdot) into a single wine. I have mentioned the Old World characteristics that Virginia wines have in the past, and the Glen Manor Meritage is a great representation of this. With Virginia growing some of the best Cabernet Franc in the world, it is no surprise that blends that incorporate this grape – as well as the single varietal offerings made from Cabernet Franc – are helping Virginia stake its claim in the wider world of wine.

Other wines that went up for the Governor’s Cup included Meritages produced by Delfosse, King Family Vineyards, Potomac Point and Veritas, as well as both red and white single varietal wines. Past winners have included fantastic whites and reds from all of the state’s growing regions – from Charlottesville to Fairfax.

Glen Manor certainly is in good company, and the accolades keep coming for Virginia Wine. Internationally, a Loudoun County wine – BreauxVineyards Viognier – made British wine writer and top wine taster Oz Clark’s list of the 250 best wines in the world - breaking the top 100 at number 87. What is more remarkable is that Breaux Vineyards is one of only three U.S. wineries to appear on Mr. Clark’s list.

Certainly, the awarding of the Governor’s Cup and the inclusion of Breaux Vineyards in Oz Clark’s 250 best wines are just two honors that have been bestowed on Virginia wine recently. With the quality of Virginia wine continuing to increase, and word trickling out that Virginia is making world-class wines, the honors will likely continue as well.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Charleston Wine and Food Festival is Underway!

This is our third year attending the Charleston Wine and Food Festival. The first year I became a major convert to Low Country cuisine. Being a born and bread Northerner, I never appreciated the deliciousness and versatility of grits before my first trip down - especially if they are cooked in butter and bacon grease and topped with grilled shrimp.

Last year, the festival was a bit more focused on haute cuisine with Low Country food being elevated by all the chefs and students. There was also some bacon cotton candy that I am still thinking about. Notice a trend emerging?

This year, I am looking forward to tasting, trying and experiencing new foods and wines.

Both previous years, I have noticed a distinct lack of Virginia wines the Charleston Wine and Food Festival. Given the proximity of where some of Virginia's best wine comes from and where the festival is located, that's a shame.

Virginia wine - like the festival itself - keeps getting better. It would be great if the two could join forces. Maybe with some bacon thrown into the mix for good measure.