Saturday, February 16, 2013

Enthusiastic About Virginia WIne

If you haven't seen the March issue of Wine Enthusiast, it is worth the $5.99 newsstand investment. Not only does it offer their monthly buying guide, but they have a cover story on the rise of Virginia wine that highlights the different wine-growing regions, AVAs and varietals that do best in the Old Dominion.

Unfortunately the Blogger app for iPad does not allow hyperlinks, so here's the link in long-form:

As for Wine Enthusiast's March Buyer's Guide, there is a noticeable increase in the number of Virginia wines in the guide. Six Virginia wines received a 90 point rating:

1. Linden 2009 Hardscrabble Chardonnay
2. Tarara 2010 Cabernet Franc
3. Barboursville 2009 Octagon
4. Linden 2008 Hardscrabble Red
5. Tarara 2010 Tranquility Cabernet Sauvignon-Tannat
6. Linden 2008 Late Harvest Petit Manseng

Many more Virginia wines also received scores in the high-80's.

What is interesting about the 90 point Virginia wines is that five of the six are from two wineries in Northern Virginia - Linden and Tarara.

This speaks volumes not only about what other wine bloggers and myself have been saying about the potential for wine in Northern Virginia for some time now, but also to the skills and winemaking talent that the region is attracting - with Jim Law and Linden and Jordan Harris at Tarara fast becoming part of the region's winemaking brain trust.

I was also shocked to see that there wasn't a singe Viognier that received a 90 point score. Viognier grows so well in the state - in fact a lot of wineries have hitched their success with white wines to that varietal - yet it hasn't done as well as Chardonnay. At least by the palates of the Wine Enthusiast editors.

Still, having such a prominent story on Virginia wine, and seeing an increase in the number of Virginia wines in their Buying Guide is a good thing for the Virginia wine industry as a whole. I get the feeling that Virginia wine is the little secret that is about to become known to a lot more people.


  1. Thanks for showcasing us in the article. It is cool to see Virginia as a whole making that step into the 90's scores with them. Looking at history once it happens then there seems to be grwoth to follow so I look forward to seeing the next couple years. Just an FYI as well, you did miss one of the 90's. There were 7 of them. Our CasaNoVA also got one.

    It is also interesting about Viognier and how really it has struggled in all accounts of the media in garnering the same accolades as Red blends in particular but also Chardonnay. I think it is partially due to the fickle nature of Viognier and that as a whole Viognier does not perform as well as Chardonnay world wide as far as percentage of them showing well. Viognier as a variety has never reached the heights of Chardonnay, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc with media attention and accolades. We did have our two Viognier dominated Single Vineyard blends get 88 with W.E. though which is a step in that direction I hope.

    Jordan Harris - Tarara Winery

    1. Hi Jordan,

      Thanks for the comment and the clarification. Great point about Viognier, though I have a feeling its time will come.

      Keep up the great work!

  2. I am missing the VA Wine Expo again here in Richmond this weekend. Wish I could attend but alas I cannot. Still enjoying your posts, Cousin Dan McGurn.