Thursday, March 15, 2012

The 2nd Annual Virginia Sparkling Wine Taste Testing

Two weekends ago I had the privilege of joining a few other Virginia wine bloggers, PR professionals, and food critics in Charlottesville for this event.  Our organizer was Frank Morgan (Twitter/Blog handle @DrinkWhatULike), and our host was Andy Reagan, Winemaker and General Manager of Jefferson Vineyards in Charlottesville, VA.  Let me start off by saying - if you ever get the chance to attend an event led by these guys - don't miss it!
Thomas Jefferson Vineyards
I am not convinced that there is ever a bad weather day in Charlottesville.  When I arrived just before noon, the sky was a beautiful bright blue, and the grounds and vineyards looked amazing.  Our event took place in the barrel room, right across from the tasting room.  Frank had arrived early to set up the tables, with 11 Riedel wine glasses for each of the ten tasters.  The barrel room was amazing - there was a wood burning stove to heat the barn-like facility, a leather sofa, and large bar area.  True rustic elegance - I loved it!

Wood burning stove in the barrel room

Eleven tastings each

This year there were ten Virginia wines ready for tasting, and one non-Virginia wine thrown in for comparisons sake.  The Virginia sparkling wine line-up was as follows:

  1. Afton Mountain Tete de Cuvee
  2. Prince Michel Sparkling Wine
  3. Veritas Scintilla 
  4. Old House Petillante
  5. Barboursville Brut
  6. Thibault-Janison Blanc de Chardonnay
  7. Thibault-Janison FIZZ 
  8. Kluge Blanc de Blanc 
  9. Horton Sparkling Viognier
  10. Paradise Springs Sparkling Viognier

Blind Tasting Bottles
Each of the bottles was brown-bagged for disguise, and numbered 1-11 accordingly.  Frank (I told you he was a great event organizer) prepared tasting note sheets for each of us ahead of time.  We could rate and comment on each wine however we wanted to, but ultimately had to rank each from most favorite to least favorite. After we were done, Frank took each of our rating sheets and entered all of the data into an Excel sheet pre-populated with a results formula (didn't I tell you he was great?) and - voila! - we had our winner!

Some of my favorites
Now, given that the focus here was on Virginia wine, that makes it all the more difficult to announce the collective winner.  But I will say this - if you happen to be in New Mexico anytime soon for a celebration, you may want to pick up a bottle or two of Gruet Brut.  My personal favorites?  The Veritas Scintilla was #1, and the Barboursville Brut was #2.

When we were finished, Andy treated us to some of his special strawberry wine, and ordered delicious cheese, meat, and fruit platters.  Did I tell you he was an awesome host??


1 comment:

  1. Wow that's a great sharing and what a great posting. Virginia remains always my fave. Wine Club Gift