Get used to being wowed by Virginia winegrowers – they have the fruit and know how to use it. What’s more, they have the finances to make wine the right way and the nerve to charge what it’s worth. I wouldn’t call them experimental because they have been very deliberate in the varieties they have chosen to feature, and, although they do well with the traditional selections, they are making some excellent wines with a red from Bordeaux – Petit Verdot – and a white from France’s South West region – Petit Manseng.
And don’t miss our final entry – a lovely whiskey from Japan.
2021 Yalumba “Y Series” South Australia Viognier ($12). Full-bodied, with lots of banana notes, not much length on the palate, but pleasant enough sipping.
2022 Zenato Pinot Grigio delle Venezie ($12). Floral, tropical fruitiness blended with apples and a touch of creaminess.
2022 Gaía “Monograph” Moschofilero Peloponnese Dry White Wine ($16). Fresh and fragrant with apple flavors, a little soft in the idle, but with a crisp finish.
2021 Barboursville Vineyards Virginia Vermentino Reserve ($23). From one of Virginia’s best wineries, this one is lively, fragrant, and well-balanced with tropical and green fruits, a chalky note, and a kiss of oak.
2021 Jefferson Vineyards Virginia Petit Manseng ($30). The new darling of Virginia white grapes (transferred from South West France), the wine is quite enjoyable – lean, lightly tannic, pineapple and kiwi, lightly juicy.
2019 Jefferson Vineyards Monticello Meritage ($37). Mainly Merlot and Petit Verdot, the wine is lean but with lots of rounded fruit – mainly cherry – with mature barrel notes – very much like a cru Medoc and quite lovely.
2019 Barren Ridge Shenandoah Valley Petit Verdot ($29). Delicious, Margaux-style wine with smooth tannins, good balancing acidity, dark and red cherry flavors, nice wood, and well-structured. The star of the show when you combine quality and price.
2021 Mountain Run Winery Virginia Petit Verdot ($45). A lovely, lean wine with dark berry fruit and a crisp, bacon-y finish.
2021 Paradise Springs “ Brown Bear Vineyard” Shenandoah Valley (VA) Petit Verdot ($45). Very tangy red berry flavors with lots of crisp acidities but moderate weight.
2021 Delfosse Vineyards “Screaming Hawk” Monticello Meritage ($60). Fragrant flavors and oak aromas with rich, red fruits, soft tannins, and a balanced finish – very satisfying.
2017 Pollack Vineyards Monticello Meritage ($60). Rich and deep with good cherry and blackberry fruit, mildly assertive, lovely mature barrel flavors, and good balance.
Takamine 8-Year-Old Koji Whiskey ($99). This whiskey plays it straight and traditional and has a big win. It has lovely honey and vanilla flavors, a taste of balancing salt, and lots of banana notes – velvety, not edgy. (ABV: 40%)
Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are shipping directly to consumers, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.
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