August 2013 Sweet Wine Selection – Barboursville Vineyards Phileo N.V.

Founded in the year of our nation’s bicentennial, Barboursville Vineyards has established itself as one of the Commonwealth’s best.  Awarded the 2013 Governor’s Cup for its Octagon blend, Winemaker Luca Pashina and wine grower Fernado Franco continue their rich tradition of innovation.

A proprietary, non vintage blend predominately of Moscato Ottonel and Traminer Aromatico, this wine was cold fermented at 45° for 70 days, aged on the lees in stainless steel for at least four months this wine is then bottle aged five months prior to release.

The nose is filled with Bartlett pear, honey and magnolias.  The viscose attack leads to a floral midpalate and a bright finish highlighted by honeysuckle.  This wine is so popular that Barboursville planted an additional 4 acres of Moscato last year.

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Editor’s Note – August 2013

Just last week, Governor Bob McIMG_1968Donnell announced that Virginia wineries sold more than 511,000 cases in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

The previous record was nearly 485,000 cases sold in fiscal 2012.

Export sales jumped more than 74 percent, from about 3,300 cases in fiscal 2012 to more than 5,800 cases. McDonnell says new sales to China accounted for a significant portion of export sales.

We like to think, with our little club, we have been a part of introducing new wines, like those from Hume Vineyards and Hague Winery to our club members.

Beyond just the club members, our ambassadors reach out to all those who attend Virginia Wine Festivals to help them understand the depth and quality of Virginia wines.

Next month, I will again be hosting the You Be The Judge Tasting Tent at The Virginia Wine Festival 9/14 & 15.  Get your tickets now as this tent is limited in its capacity

Whether I see you at the YBTJ tent or elsewhere on the Virginia Wine Trail, thank you for making us a part of your Virginia wine journey.

Respectfully Submitted,

Neil Williamson,

Editor, Virginia Wine Journal, Chairman Virginia Wine Club Tasting Panel

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The Hague Winery 2011 Chardonel

Chardonel (Plant patent 7860) was originally created at Cornell University in 1953.  Over the years this relatively cold hearty grape has proven to be a winner across the northern states (including Michigan and Ohio) but really thrives in longer growing seasons (such as Virginia) where the fruit can fully ripen.

This cross of Seyval and Chardonnay produces vines that are very cold hardy and big producers, offering beautiful clusters of medium-size amber grapes that ripen in early October.

The 2011 Hague Winery Chardonel is a full bodied dry wine.  Slightly amber in the glass the nose is filled with notes of red delicious apple and white citrus.

The sharper than anticipated fruit forward attack leads to a midpalate that expands slightly to expose elements of melon, green apple and creamcicle. The finish on this stainless steel fermented wine is clean, refreshing and brief, slight hint of pear and honeysuckle.

The 2011 Chardonel wine is a great accompaniment to such dishes as scallops, sole, and sea bass.  It can also work well with roasted poultry or as a welcoming aperitif with white cheeses.

While I do not have significant experience aging Chardonnel, based on my tasting, I anticipate it will not significantly increase in complexity over the next 12 months.


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Hume Vineyards 2011 Merlot

Known as a Noble Bordeaux varietal, the Merlot grape traces its ancestry to the biturica variety in the first century. The “Merlot” grape was not named as a distinct variety until the 1800s.

Merlot tends to be more tolerant of soil conditions than a Cabernet vine is, and while it buds earlier, it also can be harvested earlier.

The 2011 Hume Vineyards Merlot presents light ruby in the glass with an almost cherry red hue.  The nose is full with blackberries and plum undertones.

Sharp and bright on the attack with an undercurrent of red cherry and black pepper, the midpalate is jammy with blackberries, strawberry preserves and plum elements.  The lightly tannic finish lingers slightly with hints of black cherry, dark chocolate and tobacco.

The 2011 Hume Vineyards Merlot is mellow but maintains a level of complexity. A great late summer red, it is a perfect match for beef and other medium-heavy dishes. Try some with a rich, red pasta dish, or even a heavy chicken dish.   Chocolate is also an excellent pairing for this wine.

In general, Merlot does not have the aging potential of a barrel fermented Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc or Meritage but I believe this Merlot will increase slightly in complexity, especially on the finish, over the next twelve to eighteen months.



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Hume Vineyards

Make no mistake wine is at the center of Stephane and Andrea Baldi’s vision of Hume Vineyards.

Just after their opening, co-owner Stephane told the Fauquier Times Democrat “Our focus is on having the whole, intimate experience where when you come to the winery you meet the owners, the winemakers, the folks who really do it all and learn about our wine. Basically, we have a vision that this is a place where people can relax.”

Located just 15 minutes from I-66 (Markham exit) in Faquier County, Hume Vineyards is situated among the rolling hills of Virginia’s horse country. Dedicated to focusing on smaller production (currently 500 cases) Hume Vineyards seeks to become a premier boutique winery.

With currently five acres under vine (Merlot, Viognier, Petit Verdot and Chambourcin), they have plans to eventually expand to eleven acres with new plantings of Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

While not limiting their production to exclusively estate grown fruit, the Baldis are limiting the number of vineyards they plan to purchase fruit to just one Loudoun County wine grower.

Hume Vineyards is quickly making its brand known with bold style, great graphics and welcoming tasting experience.  Clearly, this is a winery to watch in the coming years.

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The Hague Winery

Virginia’s George Washington’s Birthplace American Viticultural Area (AVA) is located between the Potomac and York rivers, with the Chesapeake Bay to the east. The verdant land of these peninsulas provides sandy loam soil and a temperate climate year round.

In 2000 Stephen and Cynthia Madey purchased historic “Buena Vista” farm in Westmoreland County on the Northern Neck and proceeded to spend the next eight years renovating the main house and farm buildings.

Working with Virginia vineyard consultant Lucie Morton, the Madeys planted five acres of Cabernet Franc, Chardonel, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Muscat.

By 2007, the vineyards were producing quality fruit that other wineries purchased.  The resultant wines were quite good leading Steve to decide to open his own winery and Hague Winery was born.

The wines are crafted by Virginia Viticultural Veteran Michael Shaps at his custom crush facility.  While shipping freshly picked fruit in refrigerated trucks from the vineyard to Shaps’ Charlottesville processing center presents a logistical challenge, the award winning expertise is worth the effort.

The tasting room is housed in a former barn overlooking the manor home, outbuildings, vineyards and surrounding farmland.  Tasting the wines of the Hague Winery one is surrounded by the very land, and history, that you can taste in the glass.

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Burnely Vineyards 2012 Virginia Riesling

Located in the Monticello Appellation just off of Route 20 between Charlottesville and the wineries of Orange County, Burnley Vineyards is a family operation with deep roots in the Virginia wine industry.  Founded in 1976, Burnley is one of the oldest Vineyards in the Monticello Viticultural Area.

Burnley has 32 acres of the estate planted to grapes including: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Dora, Riesling, Chambourcin, Vidal and Norton.

2012 Burnley Vineyards Virginia Riesling

Medium amber in the glass this wine presents with a nose of butterscotch with a touch of honey.  The attack is soft with elements of vanilla and roasted pine nuts.  The midpalate expands to expose honeysuckle, rose pedals and floral notes.  The finish, while brief, is satisfying with hints of orange blossom and honey throughout.

Pairing options include grilled salmon, artichoke hearts, or a Greek salad.


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