Last Thursday (March 20th) was my inaugural experience tasting and participating in a Virginia Wine Chat. Sure, I’ve stalked a few chats before, but I’ve never actually contributed. After some initial Tweet-fright, I dove into the deep end of the Twitter pool . . . and had a GREAT time!!
For the unfamiliar, the Virginia Wine Chat was created (and is hosted) by Frank Morgan of the always well-written blog, DrinkWhatYouLike. The chat takes place roughly once a month and includes Virginia winemakers, bloggers and consumers. Each chat features a particular Virginia winery and/or winemaker. Virginia Wine Chat had been a Twitter only venue until December of last year, when it expanded to include live video feed via UStream. This was my first time watching the live video feed, and the format worked very well. Frank is a great facilitator and moderator — the conversation was lively, entertaining, and educational.
Incidentally, if you’ve never participated in a live chat on Twitter before, it’s barely organized chaos. My synapses felt like they were on speed!
The guest for this month’s chat was Matthew Meyer, winemaker at Williamsburg Winery in Williamsburg, Virginia. If you’re a wine lover in the Commonwealth of Virginia, no doubt you know congratulations are in order — Williamsburg Winery’s Adagio Red won the Virginia Governor’s Cup this year. This is a big bleepin’ deal!
Williamsburg Winery offered a 3-bottle chat-pack at a reduced price (and reduced shipping) for the Virginia Wine Chat. You don’t have to live in Williamsburg (or even in Virginia) to taste along with the chat! I hadn’t been to Williamsburg Winery since before my son was born — so 16 years ago. And let me tell you . . . Williamsburg Winery isn’t what it used to be . . . it’s far, far better!
Midsummer Night’s White 2012 ⭐⭐/84
I’m not a huge sweet wine fan, and this wine is definitely on the sweeter side at 1.6% residual sugar. But I’m guessing it’s an immensely popular wine for Williamsburg Winery, especially in the warmer months. It’s a blend of 40% Traminette, 40% Vidal Blanc, and 20% Viognier. And wow, you can really taste the Traminette. The wine smells so much like Gewürztraminer, which makes sense because Traminette is a cross between a French-American hybrid grape called Joannes Seyve 23.416 (yeah, the number is a head-scratcher for me, too) and Gewürztraminer.
Myer spoke about a tasting he participated in at UC Davis in California in the mid-90s, where they tasted a Virginia Viognier from Horton Vineyards. Everyone was surprised — “This is from Virginia?!? Amazing!” I couldn’t agree more. A Horton Viognier was responsible for my very first “Wow! This is serious!” moment about Virginia wine.
Both of the red wines we tasted are blends, which, according to Myer, are the future for Virginia reds. “A lot of the wines we do out here [on the east coast] are blends, on the red side, and they’re more of an Old World style.” I have a somewhat tenuous relationship with Virginia reds, but the ones that have impressed me have all been blends. Food for thought.
Virginia Trianon Cabernet Franc 2010 ⭐⭐⭐/89
A blend of 78% Cabernet Franc, 12% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot. Some currant-funk on the nose. The veggie notes of the Cab Franc are very present. But my favorite thing about the Trianon is its softness — those veggie edges have been sanded down, and it remains incredibly well-structured. My favorite of the night — consider my socks knocked off! Bravo!
Gabriel Archer Reserve 2010 ⭐⭐⭐/87
Another blend: 32% Merlot, 29% Petit Verdot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 19% Cabernet Sauvignon. There’s a HUGE nose on this wine. Gonzo from The Muppets wishes his nose was this big. Loaded with tobacco and dark berries. Gorgeous balance, reminds me of a mocha latte — eat your hear out, Starbucks. I accidentally paired Gabriel Archer with a 3-Musketeers bite and WOW!! The cocoa notes in the wine just sing with the chocolate!
The next Virginia Wine Chat will be on Thursday, April 24th at 7:30pm. The guest will be Luca Paschina of Barboursville Vineyards. Btw, Barboursville had not one but three wines featured in the Governor’s Case (the top 12 finishers at the Virginia Governor’s Cup). They’re doing something really right over there!
Barboursville will be offering a 3-bottle chat-pack for the #vawinechat on the 24th. Though, it’s my understanding it won’t be available on their website — you’ll need to call to get it.
Please consider joining in the chat . . . or just stalk it by searching for #vawinechat on Twitter. Either way, you’ll have some fun and learn something new.