While driving through the Virginia countryside, Moxie and I took a detour from the beaten path and stopped in to taste some wines from my favorite local winery. Virginia is only really known for 2 varietals, Viognier and Cabernet Franc. I wanted to see what they could do with these and other grapes.
The drive into the winery was very pretty, ending up in the parking lot facing a barn that is used to air-dry grapes in a “Passito” style for their Malvaxia sweet wine. Entering the tasting room, an immediate warm welcome from the wood burning fireplace which opened up to the tasting section. Enough of the scenery, on to the wines. I did not try all they had to offer, picking and choosing the ones I potentially wanted to purchase. I will review all the purchased wines separately in the next month or so but will give you an overall first impression of the ones I tasted. I have included cellar-door pricing so you can get an idea of my star rating. In addition, I purchased three Magnums of the Cabernet Franc Reserve from the 2008/9/10 vintages, cause you know I love this wine and you know I love the big bottles.
Sauvignon Blanc 2011. At $14.99 I loved this wine. 5 Stars and a great way to get the tasting started. Crisp and juicy with great acidity.
Pinot Grigio 2011. Same $14.99 price but much less enticing. Apple flavors and some pear but missing something. I gave it a 3 star rating with a pass for my tastes.
Chardonnay 2011. $11.99 and 4 stars! The cheapest wine on the list made a great impression with me and more so, Moxie. She liked it so much I bought some for the fridge. I won’t go into detail as I will be reviewing it in depth later.
Chardonnay Reserve 2011. At $15.99 per bottle, I was expecting big things on the heels of the regular Chard. A letdown ensued and 2 stars were awarded. Barrel fermented and aged for 8 months, the wine was done a slight injustice. I did not feel the weight and fullness I was expecting from an oaked Chardonnay, neither did I discern any real complexity.
Viognier Reserve 2011. I was so excited to try this wine only to be slightly let down. I gave it a 3 star rating, but a sad face was drawn on my tasting sheet 😦 I don’t know what I was expecting, but some more floral scents, perhaps some unctuosness. Over all, it was just kinda boring, offering up everyday floral meets pineapple mixed with a trace of acidity. At $21.99 you can understand my reluctance and 3 star rating.
Cabernet Franc Reserve 2010. $24.99 and the reason I came to this winery. 5 stars and so gratifying. This wine is perhaps the finest Virginia has to offer to the masses. Beautiful berries mixed with just about everything….. I am going to stop here and defer to the tasting later this month as I bought a few bottles and will sit down with one and really give it a good swirling.
Merlot Reserve 2008. $24.99 and the biggest shocker of the day. An absolutely delicious Merlot that blew my cotton socks right off my feet. A solid 5 star effort that had me double up on the purchases so I would not run out. I will fill you in this one at a later date, yummmmm
Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2007. With some bottle age, I was looking forward to this wine. It was really good, not great, and with a $29.99 price tag- 4 stars. I can’t justify the price for a wine that doesn’t knock me over. Don’t get me wrong, it is a well made wine, with excellent tannins that coat the mouth and support the blackberry, plum and prune flavors. Good finish and balance tell me that they make a good wine, yet I just don’t care for the Virginia terroir when it comes to this varietal. I deferred on purchasing this wine to make room for others.
Octagon 2008- 11th Edition. For $49.99, this is the winery’s premiere red wine offering. Made only in top years from the classic Bordeaux blends of Merlot, Cab’s Sav and Franc and Petit Verdot. The tasting sheet claims that they age it for 15 months in new French Barriques, it is meant for long term aging. I liked it, very much- yet only gave it 4 stars. It’s that bang for the buck thing again. 50 bucks is a lot of coin for a wine, let alone one that doesn’t bowl me over. I love blends in the Meritage style, and this wine is obviously well made. The tannins are just starting to settle down and there is a good balance with nice cassis/tobacco/earth flavors meeting up with dark berry fruits. A strong finish leave you satisfied and yearning another taste. If you should ever see it for sale, perhaps try it.
Phileo NV. $16.99 and scrumptious. Yummy, yummy yummy. I loved this sweet wine, and so did Moxie. Made from Moscato, Gewurztraminer and ‘other aromatic’ varietals, this is what I had in mind. Not sickly sweet, it has a cutting acidity that keeps it balanced. Flowers meet rose syrup. I am looking forward to the right time to sit down with this wine so I can give it my undivided attention- stay tuned for the report. 5 stars right now.
Malvaxia Reserve 2007. $31.99 for a half bottle, or an equivalent of $65 for a regular sized bottle of wine. That’s a boatload of cash to pay for a bottle of wine, yet I found myself compelled to buy 2 halves. Yup, I went large on this sweet dessert wine. I will preface this with 5 stars and stunning. Not only did I love it, Moxie did as well and she’s not into sweet dessert wines. I am envisioning sitting down one night this winter with Bleu, Brie and Goat cheeses, some crackers and this ripping bottle. I can’t wait….