Our resident foodie got a chance to attend the Governor’s Cup Grand Tasting at the Virginia Wine Expo last Friday. The Grand Tasting boasted the ability to taste and buy over 350 Virginia wines, including reserve wines not available the rest of the weekend. Come check out her faves…
I attended the Governor’s Cup Grand Tasting at the Virginia Wine Expo last Friday, courtesy of RVANews. The Grand Tasting boasted the ability to taste and buy over 350 Virginia wines, including reserve wines not available the rest of the weekend. If you were like me, you didn’t realize we had so many wineries in Virginia, from towns I’ve never heard of, like Nellysford, Rural Retreat, Bent Mountain, Locust Dale, and Brookmeal.
While the range of wines was substantial, I was a little disappointed in the food tasting offered, as well as the lack of tables and chairs and basics like trash cans. This certainly wasn’t for lack of space, as the event, held at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, was in the huge car-show size space there. Lemaire blew me away though, with their tender Bison ribs and Ashland cheese grits. I went back for seconds and thirds.
Each vineyard clearly had their own personality, from the effervescent ladies who run the Well Hung Vineyard, to the women in homemade hats at AmRhein Wine Cellars, to the unique fruit and historical honey mead wine from Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery. Even the volunteers who weren’t connected to the wineries were clearly passionate, like Doug from Cooper Vineyards who joked that the description of their chocolate dessert wine, “Noche” (Gold Medal winner in the Governor’s Cup), was kept on the back of the form because it was “Triple X.” When I asked what that meant, he said it was because you could “do fun things with it.”
A volunteer from Villa Appalaccia Winery & Vineyards, who was being paid in wine, informed me that their dessert wines, including my favorite, “Raspberry Beret” (gotta love a Prince reference), were made with only 5% residual sugar, where most others were made with 10%.
I spoke to Matthieu Finot, winemaker at King Family Vineyards, who has made wine all over the world, including Italy, South Africa, and his native France. His purple-stained hands showed his dedication, as did the ease in which he described his wines, even after spending several hours doing so. The King Family Vineyards, a family-owned and -operated boutique winery specializing in small productions, won this year’s Governor’s Cup in red wine with their 2007 Meritage. The vineyard, based in Crozet, Virginia, has some impressive videos on their site, extolling the gorgeous scenery, tastings with friends, and enthusiasm for the things they love, that make me want to move to the mountains and work there.
(All photos by Joe Schilling)