Stephanie Wright, with Lovingston Winery stops by the studio for this episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country. The winery is located in Lovingston, Virginia. It’s a lovely 45 minute scenic drive south of Charlottesville. Stephanie discussed her family’s wine growing adventures in Georgia before they settled in Virginia wine country. We are also talking about Pinotage. It’s a grape variety we don’t see very often outside of South Africa. With so much talk about Bordeaux varieties thriving in Virginia, Stephanie shares their success secrets of growing this obscure wine variety in Virginia. The family bleeds orange & blue and they have a special wine that pays homage to UVA that’s perfect for a tailgate. Listen in to learn more.
Plus, a little later in the show we are talking about D-Vine, “the keurig of wines.” Joe Thomas filed a special report from Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show about this new wine phenomenon and he’ll let us know when it will be available in the states.
From Boston to Burgundy to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Michael Shaps shares his wine journey on this episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country.
Michael Shaps arrived on the Virginia wine scene in 1995 and was a driving force behind growing the brands of Jefferson and King Family. He established his own label in Virginia a decade ago and has received numerous awards and accolades over the years.
Shops now spends most of his time between the vines of Virginia and his winery in Burgundy, France.
He has the largest “contract winemaking operation in the Commonwealth, he consults on numerous wine projects and he’s also bringing fun value wines to consumers by embracing a change in how some of his products are packaged. From wine on tap and wine growlers to high-end Burgundies, Shaps has a little something for every palate and every budget.
Visit Michael Shaps Wineworks:
Michael Shaps Wineworks 1781 Harris Creek Way Charlottesville, VA 22902 P: 434-296-3438 H: M-Sun 11 am – 5 pm
Wineworks Extended 1585 Avon Street Extended Charlottesville, VA, 22902 P: 434-529-6848 H: W-Sun 1 pm – 7 pm M-Tue CLOSED
Chris Pearmund, owner of Pearmund Cellars, joins me on this episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country. Chris has been a fixture in the Virginia wine scene for nearly three decades.
Pearmund is located in Broad Run, Virginia, about an hour drive southwest of Washington D.C., It is home to Meriwether Vineyard, the oldest operational vineyard in Virginia. In addition to Pearmund Cellars, Chris has opened more than a dozen wineries throughout the Commonwealth. He has served on many wine boards over the years and is one of the staunchest advocates for the Virginia wine industry. Chris is a self-acclaimed wine geek and wine educator. He has amassed a pretty impressive selection of wine books on practically every topic you can think of. You can visit the wine library on your next visit to Pearmund Cellars. Pearmund Cellars has received many accolades over the years including Best Winery in Virginia and Best Tasting Room in Virginia.
On the show, Chris shares his journey in the wine industry, his passion for Virginia and his latest business venture, Effingham Manor Winery. Enjoy the show! Each Saturday, you can stream a new show live on WCHV at 8:30.
Visit Pearmund Cellars:
6190 Georgetown Rd. Broad Run, VA 20137 540.347.3475
Jon and Mills Wehner of Chatham Vineyards join me on this episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country on WCHV to talk about the unique wine growing region of Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
The Eastern Shore is probably best known for its vibrant fishing and crabbing communities. While the briny, delectable and various oyster offerings and sweet Chesapeake crab get the lion’s share of attention, there is something quite unique about the terroir here that is garnering interest across Virginia and beyond.
Jon, a second-generation Virginia wine grower, talks about the evolution of Virginia wine since the late 70’s. Jon also discusses his minimalistic winemaking philosophy and talks about his success with planting not only Chatham’s award-winning Chardonnay, but bordelais varietals on the sandy, loam soils surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Jon’s wife Mills also joins us on the program to tell us about Virginia’s Wine and Brine month that celebrates one of the most classic wine and food pairings in the world, plus she gets personal and shares what its like to raise their three children on the farm. You can catch a new episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country every Saturday at 8:30 on Cville 107.5 and 1260 WCHV. Enjoy the show! You can also watch my mini-documentary on Chatham Vineyards below.
Visit Chatham Vineyards:
232 Chatham Road Machipongo, VA 23405 757.678.5588
Tasting Room Hours
Open Daily 10 am – 5 pm Apr – Dec. Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays Jan – Mar. Closed for major holidays.
Rachel Stinson Vrooman with Stinson Vineyards is in Crystal Palate’s Wine Country this week. Stinson Vineyards located in Crozet, Virginia, is a family-owned operation in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Father-daughter duo Scott Stinson and Rachel Stinson Vrooman take their wine-making inspiration from the “garagiste” style wineries in France.
On the show, Rachel talks about making wine with her husband Nate Vrooman of Ankida Ridge Vineyards and her father Scott, wine philosophy and working with some interesting grape varietals that you haven’t seen very much of in Virginia including Tannat and Mourvedre. Rachel is using Mourvedre to make a delicious, fruit-forward, dry, crisp and mineral-driven rosé that is garneringrave reviews from many critics. Tune in to hear more from Rachel. You can catch a brand new show every Saturday morning on Cville 107.5 and 1260 WCHV. Enjoy the show. Cheers!
Cabernet Sauvignon is revered as one of the most sought after wines in the world. Look no further than Bordeaux and Napa Valley and you will find a cult following for prestigious bottles produced in those regions. Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. Other regions like Washington State and Australia are gaining momentum in the production of this classic grape, but what about Virginia?
Yes, you heard that right. Not only is Virginia coming into its own as a premiere wine destination, the winemakers here are discovering that red wines, particularly Bordelais varietals are doing exceptionally well in the Commonwealth, specifically in certain regions and microclimates.
For many years Virginia was gaining a reputation for crisp white wines and sweeter dessert style wines made most notably from Petit Manseng and Vidal Blanc, but pioneers like Jim Law with Linden Vineyards and Rutger de Vink with RdV Vineyards in Northern Virginia have really pushed the envelope with Cabernet Sauvignon and their efforts and risk are paying big dividends for the entire industry.
While the clay-based soils in much of Central Virginia are more suitable for other red varietals and whites, it seems that Cabernet Sauvignon can succeed quite well when grown in rocky, shale and schist soils that are found in pockets throughout Central Virginia.
Enter Keswick Vineyards and winemaker Stephen Barnard. I had an opportunity to sit down with Stephen this week for my latest episode of Crystal Palate’s Wine Country which airs on Saturday mornings at 8:30am on Cville 107.5 and 1260 WCHV in the Charlottesville area. We tasted the newly bottled 2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon made from 100% Cabernet from two blocks of grapes with the highest elevation planted 550 feet above sea level.
I wish I had the opportunity to blind-test this gem, because quite frankly I don’t know if I would have guessed Virginia. For far too long, many wine consumers, even locals have had a rather negative perception of red wines grown in Virginia. My, oh my, have things changed! Investments in viticulture, technology, better management of disease pressures and older vines are finally bearing fruit for the modern Virginia wine scene. And wine critics around the world are taking notice.
The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon will be released to Keswick’s wine club just in time for the holidays. Even though it’s quite impressive right now, a little patience will be rewarded. This wine will undoubtedly improve with 5-7 years of bottle age.
“Inky crimson hues indicate youth, but once you raise the glass and take in the multitude of complex and inviting aromas, you immediately understand that this is a serious and thought- provoking wine yearning to share its story. Vibrant fruit aromas of summer ripe blackberries, currants and damson plum are woven together with floral notes of dusty violet, Herbs de Provence, sweet baking spices, Tahitian vanilla bean, chocolate-covered espresso beans and a hint of cedar and cigar box.
On the palate, cassis and plum take center stage followed by a crescendo of sweet spice, vanilla and toasty oak mid-palate. This full-bodied, robust Cabernet has mouthwatering acidity, chewy tannins and a long lingering finish.”
A pleasant 14% ABV provides wonderful balance. The wine is aged in cask for nearly two years and sees 50% new oak and a hybrid aging regimen of French and American oak. It’s clear that this wine truly represents the Keswick family motto, “Born from the soil and soul of Virginia.”
Barnard only produces the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon in exceptional vintages. The first bottling dates back to 2007.
There is little use of commercial yeasts at Keswick, they believe that 95% of winemaking takes place in the vineyards. They rely on native yeasts for the fermentation process and take more of a hands-off Old World approach in the winery to truly allow the unique terroir to speak for itself.
While the 2014 won’t be available to the general public for a few more months, Keswick has the 2013 vintage available at the winery. You can also sample it in the tasting room. It retails for $74.95. Wine club members receive a 20% discount.
In addition to this stunning example of Cabernet Sauvignon, Keswick was awarded top billing in this year’s Virginia Governor’s Cup for Barnard’s 2014 Cabernet Franc Reserve.
If you were one to write off Virginia reds years ago, I encourage you to come back and give it another try, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. There’s no doubt Thomas Jefferson is smiling down upon his beloved Virginia and raising his glass to a job well done.