Monday, October 15, 2012

Virginia Wines Shine in San Francisco - 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition, USA

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Jim Bogaty, Owner of Veramar Vineyard, one of the Winners at  the 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition. For more on Veramar Vineyard, see: The Wines of Veramar, Virginia, US

Virginia wineries continue to gain national and international recognition. 10 of them recently won awards at the 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition. The competition, held in June 2012, is the largest international wine competition in America, with more than 4,500 wines from 26 U.S. States and 29 countries competing.

“Just as last year, a number of Virginia wines scored highly against more than 4500 other wines and were awarded double gold, gold, silver, and bronze medals,” said Governor Bob McDonnell  in a press release. “The First Lady and I congratulate all of our wineries and wine makers for their accomplishments and for helping raise the Virginia wine industry to higher levels.”

Wine Producer Virginia

Virginia is the 5th largest wine industry in the US, with nearly 200 wineries and 2,500 acres of vineyards.

In the original charter of the thirteen colonies was a royal commission to pursue three luxury items that England was unable to provide for itself: wine, silk, and olive oil. Every colony made attempts to satisfy the requirements of its charter. Despite many years of failure, the early Americans persisted in their efforts. A big step forward was made in 1740 when a natural cross pollination occurred between a native American grape and a European vitis vinifera. Other successful crossings followed.

In 1762, John Carter, who had 1,800 vines growing at Cleve Plantation, sent 12 bottles to the Royal Society of Encouragement of the Arts, Manufacture and Commerce in London for their evaluation. Minutes of their meeting on the 20th of October 1762 declared Carter’s wines to be “excellent” and a decision was taken to reward Carter’s efforts with a gold medal for his wines. These were the first internationally recognized fine wines produced in America.

Picture: Map of Virginia

Over the past 30 years or so, Virginia wines have experienced a tremendous development - to elegant and balanced, mostly European vinifera-based wines. Recently, Donald Trump as well as AOL founder Steve Case bought a Virginia winery.

Today, the vitis vinifera grapes Chardonnay and Viognier are the leading white varieties.Increasingly they are made without any or with neutral oak, to retain natural acidity and freshness. It appears Viognier is on its way to becoming Virginia’s official “signature grape”.

For French-American hybrid varieties, Seyval Blanc is still popular, but resembles now the fresh and crisp wines from France’s South West. Vidal has become the backbone of the artificially frozen (cryoextraction), ice wine which I am not a great fan of.  Cryoextraction is an approach, developed by the French, which kind of simulates the frost in the vineyard in the wine cellar.

As far as red wines are concerned, there has been a shift from straight varietal wines to blends, with the blends now being dominated by Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Mirroring the Virginia white wines, there is an increasing focus on neutral oak and clean, vibrant fruit.

Tannat, Uruguay’ signature grape from the South West of France, is showing up in more Virginia wines, usually as a blend. The only red French American hybrid which has performed consistently well in Virginia is Chambourcin, which resembles the Gamay grape of Beaujolais.

Finally, Claude Thibault, a native from France, has taken Virginia sparkling wines to a new level. His NV Thibault-Janisson Brut, made from 100 percent Chardonnay, which President Obama offered his guests at his first state dinner, is as close as you can get to Champagne outside of France. See more: As Close as You Can Get to (French) Champagne at the US East Coast – Claude Thibaut and His Virginia Thibaut Janisson Sparklers at screwtop Wine Bar


Here are the vineyards and award that were garnered at the 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition.

Barboursville Vineyards – Best of Show Dessert Wine

•    Best of Show Dessert Wine, Double Gold Medal Barboursville Vineyards 2007 Passito, Malvaxia, Virginia $30.
•    Silver Medal Barboursville Vineyards 2009 Petit Verdot, Reserve, Virginia $25.
•    Bronze Medal Barboursville Vineyards 2009 Nebbiolo, Reserve, Virginia $22.
•    Bronze Medal Barboursville Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Franc, Reserve, Virginia $23.

Ingleside Vineyards – Best Petit Verdot

•    Best Petit Verdot, Double Gold Medal Ingleside Vineyards 2007 Petit Verdot, Virginia $20.
•    Gold Medal Ingleside Vineyards 2007 Petit Verdot, Reserve, Virginia $27.
•    Silver Medal Ingleside Vineyards 2007 Red Blend, Virginia Gold, Virginia $35.

 Gray Ghost Vineyards

•    Gold Medal Gray Ghost Vineyards 2011 Late Harvest Vidal, Adieu, Virginia $24.
•    Silver Medal Gray Ghost Vineyards 2011 Vidal Blanc, Virginia $13.
•    Bronze Medal Gray Ghost Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay, Reserve, Virginia $25.

 Keswick Vineyards

•    Double Gold Medal Keswick Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Monticello $40.
•    Silver Medal Keswick Vineyards 2011 Verdelho, Monticello $18.
•    Bronze Medal Keswick Vineyards 2010 Viognier, Reserve, Monticello.
•    Bronze Medal Keswick Vineyards 2010 Merlot, Monticello.

 Michael Shaps

•    Bronze Medal Michael Shaps 2009 Viognier, Virginia $24.

 Narmada Winery

•    Silver Medal Narmada Winery 2010 Chambourcin, Namada Vineyard, Virginia $25. [12%]
•    Silver Medal Narmada Winery 2011 Viognier, Virginia $23.
•    Bronze Medal Narmada Winery 2010 Red Bordeaux Blend, Yash-Vir, Virginia $23.
•    Bronze Medal Narmada Winery 2010 Tannat, Virginia $38.

 Paradise Springs of Clifton

•    Silver Medal Paradise Springs of Clifton 2011 Petit Manseng, Virginia $25.

 Pollak Vineyards

•    Gold Medal Pollak Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Reserve , Smuggler Vineyard, Monticello $35.
•    Bronze Medal Pollak Vineyards 2009 Premium Bordeaux Blend, Estate, Monticello $25.
Philip Carter Winery
•    Bronze Medal Philip Carter Winery 2010 Meritage, Virginia $29.

Veramar Vineyard

•    Bronze Medal Veramar Vineyard 2011 Seyval Blanc, Virginia $19.

schiller-wine: Related Posting

Northern Virginia Magazine October 2012: Wine Recs from Local Winos

North Gate Vineyard in Virginia, USA – A Profile

TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia, USA – A Tour d’Horizont

The Wines of Veramar, Virginia, US

The 2010 DrinkLocalWine Conference in Virginia, US

Thomas Jefferson, 3. President of the United States, Visited Hochheim, Germany on April 10,1978

Norton and Other Wines of Chrysalis Vineyards in Virginia

Fine Virginia Wines from Corcoran Vineyards

As Close as You Can Get to (French) Champagne at the US East Coast – Claude Thibaut and His Virginia Thibaut Janisson Sparklers at screwtop Wine Bar

Touring Virginia Wineries - Fabbioli Cellars, 8 Chains North and Breaux Vineyards - with Virginia Wine Expert Allan Liska

Visiting Jennifer Breaux Blosser and Breaux Vineyards in Virginia, USA

Visiting Wine Maker Doug Fabbioli and his Fabbioli Cellars in Virginia, USA

An Afternoon with Jordan Harris, Winemaker of Tarara, Virginia, USA

Tasting the “German” Otium Wines with Gerhard Bauer and Ben Renshaw at Otium Cellars, Virginia, USA 

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