Virginia Wines at NYC’s Beard House

This has been a tough month for the Virginia wine industry, with the
White House ‚€œparty crashers‚€ Tareq and Michaele Salahi dominating
the gossip columns. Their connection to Oasis Winery ‚€“ mentioned in
nearly every story about their escapade and its aftermath ‚€“ has
probably set the Virginia wine industry back several years in terms of
national perception. Locally, we can shrug it off, but in areas where
people only barely know (if at all) that Virginia makes wine, the
Salahis and their apparent lust for undeserved fame and grandeur risk
becoming the symbol of an industry dominated not by social gadflies but
by dedicated vintners who are slowly but surely pushing Virginia to the
brink of success.

So here‚€™s some welcome good news: Six Virginia wines were served
December 17 at the James Beard House in New York City, the epicenter of
American culinary art. The dinner featured chefs of the Benchmark
Hospitality International group of resorts, which includes Lansdowne
Resort in Leesburg, Virginia. Benchmark‚€™s Chief Wine Officer (what a
title!) is Mary Watson-DeLauder, formerly Lansdowne‚€™s sommelier and an
unstinting champion of Virginia wine. She selected the wines for the
dinner, including the six from Virginia to feature at the reception with
appetizers.

Mary‚€™s selections included the Kluge Estate Brut sparkling wine; Corcoran Vineyards 2008 Chardonnay; Barboursville Vineyards
2008 Pinot Grigio; Mary‚€™s Cuvee 2008, which Mary herself created with
Corcoran Vineyards out of cabernet franc, merlot and tannat; and the Sunset Hills 2007 Cabernet Franc.

Kudos to Mary, and let‚€™s hope these wines helped set the record straight ‚€“ that Virginia is serious about its wine. (Edited to add: Mary reports that the subject of the Salahis was never raised at the Beard dinner, at least to her.)

And just to embarrass Mary some more, here‚€™s a repost of the video
interview I did with her and Lori Corcoran regarding Mary‚€™s work on
how herbs in food affect the food-wine match. Watch for flying hair and
listen for crickets.

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This entry was posted in Cabernet Franc, Local Wine, Merlot, Virginia, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Virginia Wines at NYC’s Beard House

  1. VA Wine Diva says:

    Thanks for the good news about VA wines being shared with those outside
    of VA. I’m also glad to know we aren’t the only people in the
    blogosphere worried about the impact of some (I refuse to name them and
    give them more press) party crashers on the VA wine industry.

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