Brief Selection of Red Virginian Wines

Brief Selection of Red Virginian Wines

This post has digested information on the wines: White Hall Petit Verdot, Chrysalis Norton,  Breaux Merlot, New Kent Meritage, North Gate Meritage, Jefferson Meritage, Glen Manor Meritage, Barboursville ‘Octagon’ Cab Sauvignon, Charthan ‘Church Creek’ Cab Franc and Jefferson Cab Franc.

At the bottom of the post a list of the Virginia Governors Case list of 2012 champions. How many of those have you tasted?

Brief Selection of Red Virginian Wines

Miguel Segovia, Jairo Sanchez, Alfonso Sanchez, Cecílio-Augusto Berndsen, Juan Luis Colaiacovo, Peter Sherer, Mario Aguilar have participated in this “brief selection of Red Virginian Wines.” The vineyards are in Virginia. Most of the places are less than one hour away from the metropolitan Washington, DC area.


2009 Petit Verdot   White Hall Vineyards,   5282 Sugar Ridge Road,  Crozet, Virginia 22932      Blend   82% Petit Verdot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot     $ 20

 From Producer website: A popular Bordeaux varietal that has recently gained much recognition in Virginia, this is our fifth vintage of Petit Verdot, and has become one of our bestsellers! The grapes were fermented half in small bins and half with the French Delestage method, and the fruit was then aged in French and American oak. One of our deepest and most complex wines, the Petit Verdot shows great potential for long-term cellaring with its rich burgundy color, smooth tannic structure, and deep flavors of fruit and spice, enhanced by tobacco notes.

Tasting Notes:  Rich ruby colors and luxurious aromas of cedar, dark chocolate, and tobacco foreshadow a round palate laced with notes of bright cherry and currants, enhanced by smoky vanilla flavors and well-integrated tannins.

Food Pairings:  Portabello Mushrooms, Eggplant, Veal, Steak, Prime Rib, Marinated Chicken

From Cellar Tracker:   Community Tasting Notes (average 86.5 pts. and median of 86 pts. in 2 notes) – Tasted by AngryPrez on 4/10/2012 & rated 84 points: decent bottle of wine but found it average – maybe it is the petit verdot, but it seemed a bit too fruity, almost sweet to me – liked the moon mountain petit verdot better — bought at the vineyard and glad we could support them but would not buy again (202 views)

Tasted by Richard Jennings on 7/22/2011 & rated 89 points: Virginia Wines from 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference; 7/22/2011-7/24/2011 (Omni Hotel, Charlottesville; Monticello; and Pollak and Veritas Tasting Rooms, Virginia): Tart black fruit, tart berry nose; tasty, tart berry, ripe currant palate; medium-plus finish (82% Petit Verdot, 9% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon) (503 views)


Chrysalis Vineyards Norton – Estate Bottled        23876 Champe Ford Road    Middleburg,  Virginia 20117    Tel.: 540-687-8222   13.2% Alcohol  from $17 to $ 39 year and selection dependent

From the producer web site:  In 1873, at the Vienna Universal Exhibition in Austria, a Norton wine was acclaimed “the best red wine of all nations.”

Here at Chrysalis Vineyards, we’ve undertaken a serious commitment to restore Virginia’s native grape to its former glory – making wines worthy of international praise.

Estate Bottled Norton is a deeply colored, robust and full-bodied wine. We hope you’ll agree that this fine wine is another exciting step forward on our mission “To proudly restore Virginia wines to world renown, and celebrate the homecoming of Norton, the Real American Grape!®

No additional information was found   for 2006 or 2008 or any other year.

>>  A bit of info on the grape: from  Norton, also known as Cythiana is one of the few Native American grape varieties that can produce quality red wine which rivals some European reds. Norton is hardy, disease resistant, and unlike Pinot Noir for instance can grow just about anywhere. The exact origin of Norton is spark for many debates. Some experts believe that Norton is a true native of North America, whilst others believe Norton is a hybrid between indigenous varieties and Vinifera varieties. Others surmise that Dr. Norton of Richmond first planted this grape in Virginia in the late 1820’s, hence the name.

The grape blossomed in the 1830’s and was widely planted throughout much of the Eastern half of the United States. The origin of this variety is quite a mystery, but the aroma and flavors are pleasantly revealing.

The Norton grape saw great prominence during its peak throughout the 1800’s, and excelled as a quality red wine. In Missouri the Norton grape fetched gold medals and high praise from acclaimed and renowned wine critics. Sadly enough, during prohibition Norton saw it’s untimely demise, but would emerge many decades later to dazzle the palates of a new genre.


Merlot  –   Breaux Vineyards,

36888 Breaux Vineyards Ln, Purcellville,  Loudon Co.,  VA 20132   Alcohol:   14%      $   28   (2005 & 2006)     $  32  ( 2007)
From the producer site:      Merlot Wine Information:            This balanced Merlot is shows complex flavors suggesting dark cherry and ripe plum. The supple tannins provide a smooth, long, lasting finish. A great companion to spicy pasta dishes, aged cheeses, grilled tuna steaks and pork….just to name a few.

From Cellar Tracker site:   Community Tasting Notes (average 86.7 pts. and median of 88 pts. in 11 notes)   Tasted by TheOther46 on 4/8/2011 & rated 88 points: Always delicious and represents great value for a Virginia red. Ripe, red fruit with plum and spice. Medium-bodied and extremely versatile with food. (973 views)

Tasted by jdabrowski1027 on 7/7/2010 & rated 88 points: slight hints of under-ripe greeness, but very smooth. (1379 views)

Tasted by Seventy on 4/25/2010 & rated 86 points: Blended 2005 and 2007 Merlots, with some Petit Verdot. Smoky on the nose and palate, a bit oaky. (1446 views)

Tasted by Anonymous on 6/30/2009 & rated 90 points: Excellent! (1569 views)

Tasted by Anonymous on 12/5/2008 & rated 88 points: Lush earthy, smooth and easy drinking. Medium bodied, very well balanced. Very good. (1556 views).  ______________________________________________________

Meritage    – New Kent Vinery  

8400 Old Church Road, New Kent, Virginia 23124  Alcohol: 13%    $ 23 +tax  vintabe blend

A traditional-style Bordeaux blended red wine.

Small lots selected from our Virginia vineyard were fermented separately and made to their best potential. Laborious hours blending these selections (someone has to do it) revealed the exact quantities needed of each to make this evolved jewel.

Pairing: Our Meritage red wine pairs well with strong cheeses, red pasta sauce dishes and meats.

The Good Wine Guru: Earthy aromas is a contrast to the mellow flavors of this red.  The light red color belies the dryness of the wine, one that would pair well with red meats, strong cheeses, or red pasta sauces.  As New Kent Winery is a new winery, this Meritage is a respectable offering.

Cellar Tracker:  Gives 85.8 points 6 notes.    What Is Meritage?

In 1988, a group of American vintners formed The Meritage Association to identify hand-crafted wines blended from the traditional “noble” Bordeaux varietals including: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot and Malbec or Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Sauvignon Vert.”Meritage,” pronounced like “heritage,” was selected from more than 6,000 entries in an international contest to name the new wine category. Meritage is an invented   word that combines “merit” and “heritage” – reflecting the spirit of members of The Meritage Association. Meritage® is a registered trademark of The Meritage Association. To use this name on your wine label, please contact becoming a member.

Who’s Legal?   ________________________________________________

2009 Meritage  North Gage Vineyard

16031 Hillsboro Road  Purcellville, Loudon Co. VA 20132

Alcohol 13%      $ 20 + Tax

Prizes: 2008  Dallas – Gold, VA Gov –Silver, Finger Lakes – Silver, Vineyard & Vinery Mgt. Mag. – Bronze.

From the Vineyard site:  Science gives way to art when a winemaker puts together a blend of wines that is greater than the sum of its parts. We evaluate the characteristics of the parts we have to work with and then create a blend that shows the best of our Cabernet Franc, (47%), Cabernet Sauvignon (26%), Petit Verdot (21%), and Merlot (6%). The result is a full-bodied wine, complete and complex from start to finish.

Wine Enthusiast Mag. :    82 points –  Although initially the bouquet is inviting with scents of dark fruit, chocolate and mocha, notes of tomato and tomato leaf carry through to the palate as well. Lots of tart acidity and chunky grape and wood tannins leave the mouth feeling jagged.       ______________________________________________________

2008 Meritage  –     Jefferson Vineyards                 

1353 Thomas Jefferson Parkway,    Charlottesville, Virginia 22902   Meritage Blend: 55% Cabernet Franc, 23% Petit Verdot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon10% Merlot.     Alcohol 13%    $ 23.81 Safeway McLean, elsewhere  $ 30 + tax.

From the producer site: Shows palate saturating red and black fruits from the first  taste through the finish. With notes of cassis, espresso, chocolate on the mid-palate and Provencal herbs on the finish. This wine will bring handsome rewards if cellared for the next decade. Awards: 2011 San Diego International  – PLATINUM Medal *Staff Superlative: Most likely to age gracefully*

>> About the MERITAGE: Derived from a combination of the words “Merit” and “Heritage”, Meritage wines are U.S. born and bred and must include some combination of the classic Bordeaux varietals. When examining our Meritage Wine Ratings, it is evident that the red blends are far more prevalent than the whites. The red wines are a blend of the noble Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, while the whites combine Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle. In these wines, no one varietal may account for more than 90% of the blend. In order to use the term Meritage, wineries must apply for and obtain a license through the Meritage Alliance, though certain wineries choose to brand their wines, creating a proprietary blend such as Joseph Phelps’Insignia.” The Alliance considers these wines to be the best of the vintage, and consumers can expect big and bold flavors, brimming with ripe and lush berry fruit that will only improve with oak barrel aging.

From the Wine Enthusiast: (evaluation on the Meritage 2002):  82 points  Nicely structured, but where’s the fruit? Despite a rich, dark color, the flavors are of tobacco, earth and menthol. Drying tannins on the finish.  — J.C.  (9/1/2005)

from      Meritage   is a term coined by American winemakers to denote a Bordeaux-style blend, which uses a combination of any of the following five grapes: cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, petit verdot and malbec. While the Jefferson Meritage blend changes the grapes and percentages each year, all were aged in select French oak barrels from three distinct coopers in France.


2009  Hodder Hill,  Glen Manor  Vineyards  – Meritage

 2244 Browntown Road Front Royal, VA 22630   Meritage,     $ 40 + tax    Winner of 2012 Virginia Governor’s Cup.

Washington Post, by David McIntyre:  The 2009 Hodder Hill is a blend of 63 percent cabernet sauvignon, 25 percent merlot and 6 percent each cabernet franc and petit verdot. Ironically, those last two varietals are the grapes most people would argue perform best in Virginia.

[Virginia Governor Bob] McDonnell called the Hodder Hill “a stunning representation of the best in Virginia wines. Just as Virginia wines have been gaining acclaim here and abroad, we have raised the bar on the competition,” he said in a press release issued by the Virginia Wine Board marketing office. “This, and the other 11 wines that make up the Governor’s Cup Case, will make a fine addition to wine cellars everywhere, further enhancing the growing reputation of Virginia Wines.”

VA Gov. McDonnell, Jeff White and First Lady Maureen McDonnell

The Governor’s Case was intended to be an annual snapshot of the best of Virginia wine, and as such, it is instructive. Some notable names — such as Barboursville and Linden — were missing. While Glen Manor took top prize, nine of the 12 finalists were from the Charlottesville area. Of the 12 wines, five were Bordeaux-styled “meritage” red blends, including the Glen Manor. No viogniers or petit verdots made the cut, and only one cabernet franc. Only three white wines were represented, including one sparkling.

From the   Glen Manor’s award winning wine is a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 6% Pertit Verdot. The 2009 Hodder Hill Meritage is a complex wine with ever-evolving aromas of dark red berries, eucalyptus, licorice, tea leaf, cassis and fresh ground coffee beans. On the palate, it is a highly structured wine of dark and refined flavors, with mouth-coating tannins, refreshed by brightness of acidity and finishing long and expressive.

The complexity of this wine allows pairing with a wide variety of foods and cooking styles, from aged gouda and earthy sheep cheese to a rustic bowl of onion soup to rich meats, duck, game or lamb.


Barboursville 2007 “Octagon” Red,  

Barboursville Vineyards    17655 Winery Rd.    Barboursville VA  22923      Bordeaux Varietal Blend   Alcohol:  13.5%    $40 and tax.
from  92 points (Exceptional) World Wine Championships Awarda of Chicago: Gold Medal.            Deep garnet color. Aromas of mulberries, roasted tomatoes, forest floor, and caramelized nuts with a supple, dryish light-to-medium body and a lively, refined, mineral and nutskin finish. A spot on Old World styled claret that will shine with porterhouse steaks or elk chops.

From Cellar Tracker: Community Tasting Notes (average 89.2 pts. and median of 89 pts. in 5 notes) –

Tasted by JayPKay on 6/16/2012 & rated 88 points: A finely crafted European style blend. This is still a little tight and could benefit from another year or so in the cellar. But it drinks nicely after an hour of breathing. A muted mint on the nose, the attack is subtle with a blossoming middle and nice finish. Virginia has slowly been making its way onto the world stage and this is one of it’s premier bottles from one of its better vineyard/winemakers. (106 views)

Tasted by comlaw on 5/10/2012 & rated 90 points: Very smooth. Decanted for half an hour. Already quite drinkable. Paired well with venison meatloaf. (225 views)
Tasted by wineshaman on 3/25/2012 & rated 89 points: Decanted 2hrs, subtle, balanced, smooth and silky, hints of eucalyptus. (289 views)

Tasted by wineshaman on 1/7/2012 & rated 89 points: Decanted 2hrs, eucalytus, plum, blackcherry on the nose. Nice balance of berries, mint and a touch of stone on the finish. Soft and smooth finish, best Octagon I’ve tasted since the 2002 vintage. (480 views)

Red Bordeaux Blend:      The variety Red Bordeaux Blend in CellarTracker implies any blend using any or all of the five traditional Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. As such, this is used worldwide, whether for wines from Bordeaux, Meritages from California and Canada, some Super-Tuscan wines etc.


Church Creek  Cabernet Frank,

Charthan Vineyards,      9232 Chatham Road, Machipongo, VA 23405   $19
From the Producer site:  Cabernet Franc (75%), Merlot (22%) and Petit Verdot (3%)
A well-balanced blend of the 2009 and 2010 vintages with a very rich, ripe tannic structure. Flavors of ripe raspberry with a velvety mouth feel. Floral notes of violet on the nose and a hint of pepper on the finish. Barrel-aged in new French oak for two years.

From  A versatile Cabernet for food pairings with medium-bodied cheeses, grilled or roasted meats, and rich sauces. Well-balanced with a very rich, ripe tannic structure. Flavors of ripe raspberry with a velvety mouth feel. Floral notes of violet on the nose and a hint of pepper on the finish. Aged in new French oak for nine months.   Dry Wine.

From Cellar Tracker:  Community Tasting Notes (average 90 pts. and median of 90 pts. in 1 note).   Tasted by Warnockw on 1/16/2012 & rated 90 points: Smooth with a nice pepper finish (94 views)

From  With hazelnut, spice, tobacco, and notes of dried fruits, this wine lingers on the palette.


2010 Cabernet Franc – Jefferson Wineyards  

1353 Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Charlottesville, VA 22902     Alcohol: 14.5%  from $18 to $ 25 before tax
From the Jefferson Wineyards site:   Pepper and spice on the nose lead to soft cherry, raspberry and licorice on the palate complemented by subtle tannins. Cellar for the next three to five years. 2012 Winemaker Challenge Wine Competition – GOLD Medal, 2012 Governor’s Cup – GOLD Medal

From the User Reviews:       Excellent  —   By Delany  13922535,  January 29, 2011  –  I have always found Jefferson Vineyards to be one of the best vineyards in Virginia. This cab franc proves it. It has a wonderful nose and there are some spicy notes which is characteristic of cab franc. If you are looking to show off VA wines then this is a good bottle to start with.

Great Stuff   –    By Zakaib      11936021, February 09, 2006   –   Classic nose of bright cherry and pepper so typical of Virginia Cabernet Franc. Mid-weight on the palate with great saturated flavors and delineation on the finish.

From the (corkpit):   …The Jefferson Vineyards Cabernet Franc didn’t represent the best expression of the grape ever, but this wine was more than enjoyable.  At $18, this is a nice little bottle of wine.  I would absolutely recommend decanting this wine before serving—probably for 2-3 hours.  It got better with each sip after 90 minutes or so.  The blurb on the bottle recommends pairing with game meats; I agree, provided you keep a lot of game meats around.  If you enjoy Cabernet Franc (or haven’t had this varietal before and would like to try something different), give this wine a go.  …


2012  list of the Virginia Governor’s Case wines:

Glen Manor Vineyards, Hodder Hill 2009 (Meritage)

Bluestone Vineyard 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

Delfosse Vineyards 2007 Meritage

Jefferson Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Franc

Keswick Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

Keswick Vineyards 2010 Merlot

King Family Vineyards 2008 Meritage

Potomac Point Winery 2009 Heritage Reserve (Meritage)

Tarara Winery 2010 Honah Lee (White Blend)

Trump Winery 2008 Kluge SP Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine

Veritas Vineyard 2010 Meritage

White Hall Vineyards 2010 Gewurztraminer

By Dave McIntyre | 08:00 PM ET, 02/23/2012

About Cecilio Augusto Berndsen

Information Technology, Management, Project Management and Public Administration are areas I am familiar with. I am also interested in photography, wine, sailing, politics, economics, and economic development.
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