Virginia is For (Wine) Lovers: Part 1

Sorry, low hanging fruit there in the title. I gripe all the time about how expensive Virginia wines are compared to other regions, and how the Cab Francs are always too green, and bla bla bla, but last week, I decided to stop being such a Negative Nancy and go visit some anyway – and I couldn’t be more glad that I did.


On Thursday, I headed over to Barboursville and met up with Fernando, their vineyard manager. They were so apologetic that their general manager was busy, but this ended up being my favorite visit, because Fernando was *awesome.* We got in his truck, which was so filthy that it made me feel bad about my own messy car. He drove me all over the property, and we checked out the Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc, and some of the reds – the Muscat is almost ripe! Much of it stays under netting to protect it from birds. After a few sips of an already bottled Sauv Blanc (very refreshing, kind of like green melon and fresh flowers) and a walk through the barrel room, it was time to leave for Early Mountain – but not without a stop for lunch. I had a light chicken salad and a glass of Horton Vineyard’s Rkatsiteli at Stonefire.


Early Mountain was a completely different, and much fancier experience. CEO Peter Hoehn gave me a tour of the whole, grand facility – grand wine library, gorgeous airy tasting room, even the airstream trailer they bought to take their wines on the road! Early Mountain is committed to featuring wines from all over Virginia in their tasting room, and as I was leaving, they were setting up for a tasting group that they hold with other Virginia winemakers so they can taste and discuss each others’ work. Super cool.



After my grueling visit, I did a little writing with a glass of Thibaut Janisson bubbles and a fabulous charcuterie plate. Tough life, I know.


Stay tuned for notes on Day 2!

Published by Diane McMartin

Diane McMartin is a Certified Sommelier and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America’s Accelerated Wine and Beverage Certificate Program. She also works in wine retail, teaching wine education classes and helping customers wade through the endless sea of bad Chardonnay in the world. She lives in the Washington, D.C., area.

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