A heat index soaring above 100 degrees is not an ideal environment to taste wines, but the lawn at Monticello was a wonderful environment for the Virginia wine industry to showcase itself Friday evening to 320 visiting wine bloggers from across North America.
We sweltered within sight of the modern vines growing in the same place where Thomas Jefferson tried to grow vinifera grapes, and of course we were visited by Mr. Jefferson himself (see photo). And there were plenty of viogniers being poured, as the winemakers featured the commonwealth’s new official grape.
But there were some surprises for me. Luca Paschina was there from Barboursville with a new vermentino from the hot 2010 vintage. Only about 300 bottles were made, so this wine won’t be taking over just yet, but Luca told me there should be 1,500 from this year’s crop and once the five acres he has planted with vermentino come into production, he will be making about 15,000 bottles each vintage. The wine was crisp and refreshing, an ideal taste for that weather. I bet more wineries will be planting vermentino.
Luca told me he decided to plant vermentino after drinking several bottles during a trip to the Maremma in Tuscany a few years ago.
“It makes sense that we can grow it here, because we are a warm climate,” he said. “Vermentino thrives in Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica, all very hot regions.”
“Warm climate” was understating the weather conditions in Virginia this weekend.