Tannin is a natural substance that comes from the skins, seeds and barrels. Sometimes referred to as astringency, it is the puckering, dryness at the finish of many (especially red) wines.
A well balanced tannic structure features good acid along with a slightly lingering astringency. A poorly balanced tannic structure will cause your mouth to become the Sahara, also known as “getting splinters on the finish”.
As you contemplate trips this summer, consider putting together a wine heritage trip. Williamsburg is an obvious example but so is the Generals’ wine and history trail in Northern Virginia.
Did you know Richmond’s General Assembly building was used as the set for the movie “Lincoln”? Combine a State Capitol visit with a tour of the Heart of Virginia Wine Trail.
Please mark your calendars for my annual Top 5 tasting tent at Vintage Virginia. Tickets sell out every year get yours online now at http://www.vintagevirginia.com
Whether in the tasting tent or along the wine and history trails, I thank you for allowing me to be a part of your Virginia wine journey.
Neil Williamson, Editor
Whether constructing a task force in the office, a baseball team, a choir, or a blended wine, there are two primary questions: is the combination greater than the sum of the parts and, perhaps more importantly how will these components work together over time?
The 2010 Lord Botetourt Red from The Williamsburg Winery passes both of these tests with flying colors.
Named for the generous British Governor who presided over Virginia from 1768 until his death in 1770, Lord Botetaurt also served as a member of the Board of Visitors for The College of William and Mary (He is entombed in the crypt under the Chapel of the Wren Building).
A Petit Verdot dominated blend (51%) this wine also includes Merlot (20%), Cabernet Franc (16%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (13%). The majority Petet Verdot provides the wine deep dark, almost opaque color as well as a tannic structure that can best be described as “chewy”. The nose is subdued but includes undercurrents of dark fruit.
The attack is equally muted but silky smooth tannins dominate leading to a midpalate of cascading flavors: blueberry, black cherry, coca and raspberry. The long finish is memorable filled with coffee and hazel nuts.
Pair with braised beef and lamb. Aged in American, French and Hungarian oak this wine will age well.
DRINK NOW – SPRING 2017
As we move into the summer months, Americans tend to move more toward malt beverages [read beer] over wine. I strongly encourage you not to succumb to this peer pressure. As this month’s white selection showcases, Virginia wine can be more refreshing than beer and incredibly complex.
Williamsburg is seeped in history therefore this wine is named for the leading horticulturist and viticulturalist of the Colonial era. Major John Adlum’s served as a Brigadier General during the Revolutionary war. He created a large farm and nursery in Georgetown, Washington DC. His correspondence to his friend Thomas Jefferson on winemaking in the New World lasted nearly 30 years.
In the glass, the wine presents dark straw amber with clarity of color throughout. The round nose includes vanilla and yeast elements as well as a slight undercurrent of citrus. The soft, balanced attack leads to a mid palate filled with fig, pineapple, bananas and spice. The finish lingers slightly retaining pear and white grapefruit.
This mostly stainless steel Chardonnay would pair very well with summer chicken sausages from the grill, roasted vegetables or shellfish.
Drinking nicely now, this wine will only slightly increase in complexity with additional bottle aging.
DRINK NOW – SUMMER 2015
The name “The Williamsburg Winery” is as much about history and hospitality as it is about geographic location. While the pageantry, pomp and circumstance of Colonial Williamsburg (or C.W. as the locals call it) is just a few miles away, there is much history to the land of Williamsburg Winery.
The winery sits on a farm known as Wessex Hundred. The use of Hundred to name a property dates to the Colonial era and describes parcels of land sufficient to support a hundred families regardless of actual acreage.
The land has been in agricultural production (cattle, grain, beans) since the early 1600’s and has had a rich lineage of owners through the centuries. In 1983, Patrick and Peggy Duffeler acquired the property. Williamsburg now boasts over 50 acres under vine. A portion of these vineyards are dedicated to experimentation with new varietals and new clones.
Founder Duffeler’s son Patrick serves as the winery Chief Operating Officer. After literally working in all aspects of the family winery business, the younger Duffeler has built a talented staff to move the winery into the 21st Century.
Vice President Matthew Myers has been serving Williamsburg’s winemaker for over a decade. His wide ranging experience, including high end Napa properties (Heitz Wine Cellars and Grgich Hills) Cellars, coupled with his knowledge of Williamsburg’s vineyards’ mesoclimate results in elegant wines.
With the wine making well in hand, the family chose to expand the offerings of the property to include the culinary delights of the Gabriel Archer Tavern. In addition to a delightful lunch menu, the Tavern also hosts a weekly wine dinner.
Believing that wine was created to be enjoyed with food, the chef and winemaker work together to create unique wine pairing that allow both the wine and the cuisine to express their essence. A review of a recent menu included a delightful French Coounty Sampler with Truffle mousse pate, country pate, saucissons, brie, gorgonzola, cornichons, grapes, strawberries, lingonberry sauce, and whole grain mustard
Bringing the concept of local food home in 2008 Williamsburg planted a two acre parcel dedicated to the cultivation of sustainable produce to support both the Gabriel Archer Tavern as well as their newest culinary option, Café Provencal.
Also in 2008, Wedmore Place – a country hotel – opened on the grounds of Williamsburg Winery. With twenty eight different European inspired rooms and suites, Wedmore Place has received numerous awards including the Select Registry and the Golden Service Crown.
Williamsburg Winery is still making history today as it expands its wine distribution abroad and welcomes guests from around the world with genteel Virginia hospitality.
By. Neil Williamson VWJ Editor
The Virginia Wine Expo always reminds me of Virginia Wine’s equivalent of Opening Day in Major League Baseball. While it is the first big wine “festival” of the year, most of the wineries have not yet completed bottling the winery full portfolio for the year.
It is a time when we celebrate all the fine vintages in the state. We were thrilled to see so many of the wines we have featured garner medals in the annual Governors Cup competition.
Virginia Wine Club President Stewart Reynolds and I got to chat with 2013 Governor’s Cup winner Luca Pashina of Barboursville Vineyards. Beyond being a great wine maker, Luca is a fantastic ambassador for Virginia wine.
In tasting across the event, we found a number of new wineries that we hope to feature in future months. In addition, we will be working with some of the smaller wineries to see if we can offer their most popular wines through our website.
The Virginia Wine Club works hard to feature wineries that you know and wineries that you should know. We also strive to send you the best Virginia has to offer in a variety of varietals.
Thank you for letting me be a part of your Virginia wine Journey.
Neil Williamson, Editor
Chairman VA Wine Club Tasting Panel