A Virginia Surprise at #WBC11

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.

My New Drinking Buddy

The author with "Mr. Jefferson" at the Wine Bloggers Conference tasting on the lawn at Monticello, July 22, 2011

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.

About Dave McIntyre

Wine columnist for The Washington Post, co-founder of DrinkLocalWine.com, and blogger at Dave McIntyre's WineLine (dmwineline.com).
This entry was posted in Local Wine, Virginia, Weblogs, Wine, writers. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A Virginia Surprise at #WBC11

  1. Nice meeting you at Monticello, Dave! Annefield Vineyards planted Vermentino this year, though certainly not on the scale of Barboursville. We were inspired by the success of Raffaldini Vineyards in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina, who grows it, and we have enjoyed the Argiolas Costimolino Vermentino you reviewed recently in The Washington Post.


    • It was nice meeting you in person, too, Stephen. I enjoy your wines, and am glad you are growing vermentino, too. I look forward to tasting it.

      Did you get any feedback from the Wine Bloggers Conference?


  2. Jason Phelps says:

    I would echo what Dave said, I was surprised to find Vermentino in VA. After talking with Luca about the climate similarities and his passion for the wine it made sense. I was a trooper at the event (on one of the last buses back) and surveyed mostly white wines on the count of the oppressive heat. This wine, and quite a few others, were being kept well chilled and all of them were more refreshing than the off weather might make you think wine drinking would be.


  3. Pingback: WBC11 Stats and Recap Aggregation « Drink What YOU Like

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