The Appalachian appellations – more on Virginian wines

Many of will be aware that I tasted some Virginian wines earlier in the year and was pretty impressed. If you want to read about it again, click here.


Well, the other day I was invited to a specific tasting of Virginia wines and was able to taste 20 wines from the state.

The tasting was carefully put together, concentrating on the grape varieties that are seen as Virginia’s strengths; Viognier, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

I found it a very interesting tasting indeed, the quality was very high and there was not a single badly made wine there.

The wines struck me as being very European in weight and feel, the reds were dry and they were red, not black and they were not opaque and would generally be perfect with food.

It is exciting to stumble across a new wine region that is making such progress and producing such good wines. If there is a problem with Virginian wines, it is one of price. The retail price of these wines in the UK ranges from just under £17 to £30 a bottle.

Mao of Monticello wineries

Map of Monticello wineries

Map of Loudoun County wineries

Map of Loudoun County wineries

I will not trouble you with all the results, but will tell you about the wines that stood out for me:


Thibaut-Janisson Virginia Sparkling Wine N.V.

100% Chardonnay grapes from the Monticello appellation.

The nose was fresh, with attractive yeasty notes.

The palate was light and fresh with crunchy apple, pear, nuts and some brioche-like characters. Green fruit on the fresh, not overly long finish. 86-87 points.

White Hall Vineyards Viognier 2008

Monticello appellation.

Very pale colour. A clean nose of pear drops giving off a freshness and a touch of aromatics.

The palate was quite fat and textured with herbal, citrus, peach and a dusting of delicate spiciness. The finish was quite rich with enough acidity to leave it fresh (for a Viognier) with a ripe apricot twist at the end. This is an example of the lighter style of Viognier and very enjoyable and balanced it is too. 88 points.

Keswick Vineyards Viognier 2007

Monticello appellation.

Pale colour with green tints. Quite a rich nose with oak, cream and orange-like notes.

The palate was fat and textured, rounded and creamy, well integrated and attractive with fresh lemon and apple balancing richer apricot and peach characters. The mouthfeel is succulent, the oak is well balanced and the finish is quite long. 87 points.

Breaux bottle

Breaux Vineyards Viognier 2007

Loudoun County.

Greeny gold colour, very bright and attractive.

Not a huge nose, just touches of crunchy green fruit and little flourishes of aromatic spice – generally fresh and clean.

Nicely textured, fat round, succulent and supple. Appealing spice characters come through a delicate, honeyed and oaky, creamy palate.

This was the most complex of the Viogniers and was very attractive indeed with lovely balance of flavour and acidity and it showed a lovely dollop of the classic Viognier peach-like character on the finish. It was especially good when chilled down a little more and I also like the label. 88 points.

Corcoran Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2007

Loudoun County.

Translucent crimson red colour. The nose was not very giving yet, however the texture was very attractive. Supple and smooth with ripe red fruit, slightly tight chalky tannins with a cleansing, balancing point of red fruit acidity. This works very well and is a good meium-bodied, classic dry red wine with a long finish. Much better than the 2006 that I tried in may 2009. 88 points.

White Hall Vineyards Petit Verdot 2007

Monticello appellation.

Bright, raspberry red, translucent colour.

The nose was soft and fragrant with sweet ripe, red fruit.

The palate was juicy and supple with ripe raspberry characters and some touches of oak spice leading to a finish with dried red fruit, toasty oak and smooth tannins. This is quite a simple wine, not showy and not too ambitious, but it does work very well. 87-88 points.

Veritas Vineyards Petit Verdot 2007

Monticello appellation.

In all honesty I found this wine tricky and at first wondered if it could carry its oak. However, as it opened up in the glass I was forced to realise that it did and was a wine to age.

Rich toasty oak and spice on the nose with hints of coffee beans.

The palate was quite supple with ripe raspberry fruit dominating this medium weight wine at first and then the oak is released! However, it is good oak, with a nice texture and the fruit and weight of the wine are up to it, so you are left feeling that the wine is balanced even though it needs time. 87-88 points.

This was a terrific tasting that concentrated on the standard grape varieties of the region, rather than the more unusual and many of the wines were very good indeed.

I hope one day to get over there and to tell you more about this exciting up and coming wine region.

In the meantime more information about Virginian wine in the UK is available from New Horizon wines while some of the wines are available to buy from the Oxford Wine Company.

There is also a superb web site dedicated to the promotion of Virginian wine here.

6 thoughts on “The Appalachian appellations – more on Virginian wines

  1. Pingback: Virginia – a land of history & wine « Quentin Sadler's Wine Page

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