A Preview of Virginia Wines: Surprises Abound (the Good Kind)!

It’s just about lights, camera, and action time for the Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, VA. To whet our palates and educate many bloggers who aren’t familiar with wine from Virginia, the Virginia Wine Council and my Twitter friend, Frank Morgan, put together several Twitter Taste Live opportunities to get a group of us familiar with what the state has to offer. Last week, it was all about Virginia Viognier.

I am a big fan of viognier, but shared some trepidation with the group of seven girls who I gathered for the tasting. Boy, were we wrong. Virginia makes some great Viogniers in a variety of styles from sparking to fruity to mineral in nature.

Virginia Wines

We started with the NV sparkling viognier, a 100 percent viognier wine. I got green apple, pear, mango and apricot in this wine. Winemaker Mike Heny told us that he wanted to do something unique that had not been done before. Well, he succeeded and beautifully. At $25, this was my favorite of the tasting.

Our next wine was the 2010 Blenheim Vineyards Viognier. This wine was full of honey, tropical fruits and had a minerality that made it a perfect match for the spicy shrimp we were eating. At $19, this was a great food friendly white.

We then tried the King Family Vineyards 2010 Viognier. This was elegant and well balanced with melon, honey and peach flavors. At $24.95, this wine was a delightful pairing with sushi.

We followed up with the 2009 Barboursville Vineyards Reserve. This was a very floral wine with peach, apricot and some minerality. It was interesting to see the change in flavor as the wine spent more time in the bottle. This wine was $22.

While there were six wines in the tasting, my sixth wine from Delaplane Cellars didn’t arrive until after the tasting, so our last wine was technically the fifth wine – the 2010 Cooper Vineyards Viognier. I tasted of peach, apricots, tropical and floral notes. While the wines shared many of the same qualities, they were all very different.

Virginia Wines

My friends, who usually are tougher than most wine critics, universally said that they enjoyed all of them. It was a reminder to me that there are some great wines out there and it often pays to go off the beaten path and experiment. I look forward to sharing my adventures with you during my time in Charlottesville beginning today through July 25. The Wine Blogger’s Conference is always good for new discoveries and good friends.  I look forward to sharing my adventures.