2012 Virginia Wine Festival ‘You Be The Judge’ Tasting Notes

Stone Mountain Vineyards 2011 “Stainless Steel” Chardonnay – Appearance: Light straw Aroma: Green Apple, floral, Attack: Crisp sharp with nice acid bite Midpalate expand slightly to expose additional floral notes and a hint of citrus Finish; Brief with hint of granny smith apples

First Colony Chardonnay Reserve – This complex chardonnay was aged for eighteen months in a combination of new American and neutral French oak barrels. Appearance darker straw color Aroma: lemon peel, vanilla Attack: Subtle with undertones of spice Midpalate expands nicely to expose vanilla and pear elements, Finish lingers nicely with almonds and a touch of butter.

Wintergreen “Black Rock” Chardonnay – Barrel aged ten months.  Appearance rich straw, Aroma: Pear, apple Attack muted, Midpalate: Expansive includes nice light tannins with pear undertones, Finish: Lingers nicely with full buttery finish

Prince Michel Viognier 2007 – Appearance: Clear light straw, Aroma: tropical nose including melons Attack: more supple than anticipated Midpalate: continues tropical notes including MANGO Finish: surprisingly long with lemon undertones

Democracy 2011 Unum –Appearance is rich straw color, Aroma: Floral bouquet including geraniums and daisies Attack: nice slightly acidic bite with honey undertones Midpalate expands to expose tropical notes leading to Finish: crisp with a touch of granny smith apple

Horton Sparkling Vigonier – Now for something completely different Appearance light straw filled with bubbles, Aroma: pear and a touch of yeast Attack: bright as only a sparkler can be Midpalate; bubbles enhance the poached pear undertones Finish is delightfully light

Horton 2011 Petit Manseng – Petit Manseng, famous in southwestern France for being the only wine used to baptize a royal child, namely Henry IV, has shown to be the perfect grape for the Central Virginia winegrowing region.  Appearance: darker straw Aroma: honey suckle, rose pedals, Attack: rounded with good acidic balance Midpalate is round with toasted hazelnuts and acacia blossom, enhanced by a touch of guava and vanilla.

Democracy Vineyards 2011 Republic -100% Petit Manseng Apperance: Clean straw, Aroma: Green Apple Honey Dew, Attack: Bright with grape overtones Midpalate apricot and other tropical notes, Finish: Light does not linger but is clean.

Breaux 2011 Jolie’s Blonde– 100% Seyval Blanc  Seyval Blanc – A French hybrid varietal that is famous for its resistance to cold. Seyval Blanc buds and ripens early and provides a good alternative in cool climates to grapes such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc that don’t like the extreme cold. Crisp and dry versions have flavors and aromas of citrus fruits and a certain minerality that some compare to white Burgundies. Also takes well to oak and malolactic fermentation. Grown extensively in England and the cool Finger Lakes region of New York State. Appearance – Straw, Aroma – Lemon grass, Orange Blossom Attack – A little thin but sharp and bright, Midpalate – expands to include tropical notes, Finish – Lingers longer than anticipated with grapefruit and spice

James River 2011 Chardonel –Chardonel is a cold hearty hybrid created at Cornell University in 1953.  Parent grapes are Chardonnay and Seyval.  Stainless steel fermented.  Appearance: light straw, Aroma: spicy bananas Attack: sharp with tropical undertones midpalate expands slightly to include honeydew melon and honeysuckle Finish is brief but clean.

James River 2010 Devino – Made with the same Chardonel grape as the previous wine this is done in an Ice wine style where the grapes are crushed and fermented then frozen and thawed slowly.  When the winemaker likes the consistency the tank is drained.  Appearance: medium straw. Aroma: sweet tropical notes undercurrent of MANGO Attack: viscose and cool with honey and fruit sweetness.  Midpalate expands as the wine warms in the moth to include honeysuckle, par and honeydew melon, Finish: lingers nicely with citrus and bananas

Barboursville Phileo- Barboursville, who launched the modern Virginia Wine industry with its founding in 1976, submitted this one wine to the tent.  A propriety, non-vintage blend of Moscato Ottonel (60%) and Vidal (40%), fermented in stainless steel at the unusually cool temperature of 45 degrees F and at unusual length, 70 days. Aged on the lees in stainless steel at least four months, resting in bottle another five before release. Appearance: Goldenrod Aroma: roses and apricots Attack: muted but full Midpalate: complex filled with cascading tropical tones Finish: lingers nicely on the rear of the palate with apricot memories

Stone Mountain Bacon Hollow Revenuers Select – Built in this iteration from Chardonnay, this sweet wine is the wineries best seller.  Appearance: light straw Aroma: honeysuckle and rose pedals, Attack bright with good acidic balance Midpalate expands to expose peaches and pear undertones finish: sweet but brief including additional floral and tropical tones.

Breaux 2011 Rose’ – 54% Nebbiolo, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 12% Chambourcin appearance is medium to light red, Aroma: Strawberry, Rhubarb, Attack Sharp with nice acid, Midpalate expands with tropical notes and cherry Finish is surprisingly tannic in structure but not in astringency.  The most interesting wine I have tasted this year.

Stone Mountain 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – A truly elegant and well-aged wine this wine is drinking very nicely right now.  Appearance:  Medium red Aroma: Dark plum and Bing cherry Attack: supple with a hint of leather in addition to an undercurrent of licorice Midpalate: more plum and black cherry, Finish: light tannins lingering nicely on the rear of the palate

First Colony 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon – A vintage difference and a difference in altitude create a different (but equally good) flavor profile in First Colony’s Cabernet Sauvignon. Appearance: darker red in the glass Aroma:  vanilla and cherry Attack: Supple with cherry notes Midpalate: expands to showcase well-balanced flavors of rich cocoa and toasty oak Finish: full lingers nicely with just a hint of pipe tobacco.

Breaux 2009 Marquis de Lafayette – 30 months aging in 70% American Oak and 30% French oak, this wine is named after a French nobleman who was an American revolutionary war hero.  100% Cabernet Franc Appearance: medium Red Aroma: Plum and Black Cherry Attack: Supple with chocolate undertones, Midpalate Expands nicely to expose round tannins red cherry notes and a touch of leather.  Finish: Long with cascading flavors

James River 2011 Chambourcin – The winery says the wine is reminiscent of a light port.  I find it to be more than that it is a decadent delight.  Color – Deep red Nose – Herb filled with hints of green pepper Attack – Round tannins, slightly acidic Midpalate – jammy with strawberry tones Finish – lingers on the rear of the palate with licorice

Democracy 2011 Suffrage – 100% Chambourcin Lighter in style than the previous wine this has many of the same characteristics but not as pronounced (or as sweet).  Color:  Medium Red Nose: Jammy with strawberry dominance Attack: slightly muted and a touch thin Midpalate expands to expose coca and plum essence Finish: slightly shorter than anticipated but lingers with undertones of tobacco and strawberry

Stone Mountain 2007 Petit Verdot – One of the older vintages poured here today but only went into the bottle at the beginning of this summer.  Extended barrel ageing can be seen throughout the tasting profile Appearance: deep Red full core, Aroma – leather, toast and dark chocolate Attack; Is muted with subtle plum and dark cherry notes, Midpalate opens nicely to expose licorice, plum and anise Finish lingers nicely on the rear of the molars with undertones of smoke

Horton 2010 Tannat – historically grown in South West France in the Madiran AOC and is now one of the most prominent grapes in Uruguay, where it is considered the “national grape”  Appearance: Deep Red Aroma: Smokey and mysterious Attack: rounded with dusty character Midpalate: big tannic backbone Finish: Leather and smoke remain on the palate long after the wine is gone

Breaux Equation – Merlot 84%, Cabernet Sauvignon 12%, Petit Verdot 4%

Color – Dark, brooding, crimson, Aroma – Red cherry and plum undertones Attack – sharper than anticipated nice bite Midpalate – settles in to include black cherry, licorice and anise Finish – medium length includes rhubarb and strawberry

Democracy Velvet Revolution

25% Cabernet Franc, 25% Chambourcin, 25% Merlot, 25% Petit Verdot

Color – Deep dark purple from rim to rim, Nose – well integrated with plum and black cherry

Attack – subdued and a touch thinner than anticipated, Midpalate – expands nicely with round tannins, plum and raisin Finish – long, lingers nicely on the back of the palate with undertones of dark chocolate and light tannins

James River Meritage – 70% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot

Appearance:  Deep dark maroon, Aroma: Plum infused with Licorice and Anise, Attack- round with a touch of acid and coffee undertones, Midpalate expands to expose dark cherry notes Finish Full and memorable with just a hint of  pipe tobacco

Prince Michel Vineyards 30th Anniversary Merlot Cabernet Reserve

Appearance:  Deep red  Aroma: Plum with Black Cherry and coca undertones, Attack- lush with nice round mouth feel, Midpalate expands to expose layers of flavors including plum, black cherry, dark chocolate Finish: Not as long as anticipated but delightful with hints of smoke.

About the You Be the Judge Tasting Tent:

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a wine judge? To have each award winning wine tasting brought directly to your table for your palate’s evaluation?Find out in the “You Be The Judge” Tasting Tent at the Virginia Wine Festival. This ticket limited event will be held from 11:30am – 4:30pm on Saturday and Sunday. Neil Williamson, Chairman of The Virginia Wine Club Tasting Panel, will walk patrons through the UC Davis scoring system as the wines are served by varietal. Neil will share anecdotes from his decade in the Virginia Wine Industry as you enjoy the cool shade of the “You Be The Judge” Tasting Tent. Spend part or all of the day in the shade enjoying the individualized presentations and tastings with no lines and no waiting.

Tickets: http://www.virginiawinefest.com


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