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Joe H

RdV: Virginia Cult Wine

26 posts in this topic

I have been chauvinistic to Virginia wineries for a long time yet only recently have I found reds that I like (i.e. Hillsborough Onyx, Glen Manor Hodder Hill). I have not tried Chateau O'Brien's $80 tannat although we've been to the winery. RdV seems to be another level though. Rutger de Vink is something like Virginia's version of Washington state's passionate Charles Smith (Parker 99 points for several of his wines.) He has an absolutely incredible setting for his wine. This may be as impressive of a winery as I have been to anywhere; certainly sitting at the top of the steep hillside vineyard with its thirty plus mile view is breathtaking. I'm not so sure that anywhere in Greve or Panzano is more beautiful. The tasting room itself sits in front of an almost cathedral like silo that tops the caves underneath. This is a setting that could be worthy of a last taste ever.

Forgive my hyperbole but the setting is indeed spectacular.

This is also a totally unique winery in a number of ways: it is not easy to buy a bottle of wine. You have to either go to it or be on its mailing list. And it's not easy to get in. You cannot just walk in the door and ask for a taste. Tours and tastings are by appointment only and they are booked up on weekends into December. They also cost $40 per person (personal tour, tasting and reception). My guess is that you may not be able to find it either: there is no sign and it is on a scenic Virginia byway. The land wasn't purchased for Interstate convenience, rather for its rocky soil. The drive to RdV is also special. Out route 50 to Upperville and then a left to Delaplane through countryside that will confirm how beautiful this area is.

There are rewards for planning the trip and the $40 is a real investment. Rutger de Vink spent an hour with us today; anyone who visits is escorted around the winery and the vineyards by either him or his winemaker. Rutger is truly an impassioned ambassador-and a believer-who has accepted the challenge of attempting to gain national (if not international) recognition for Virginia wine. For him it was not just a matter of building a winery in Santa Barbara or Napa. Rather he picked Virginia in large part for the rocks in the land underneath his vineyards. He also welcomed the opportunity to make a great Red...in Virginia.

This is not easy. So far I believe only two restaurants serve his wine: The Inn at Little Washington and the Ashby Inn. He is going to find resistance. Virginia does not have the image of Napa or Bordeaux or even Walla Walla. It's a hard sell for a $30 wine let alone an $88 bottle of red. (RdV is his signature 85% cabernet based wine aged for two years in French oak. He also makes a $55 merlot blend, Rendezvous.)

I'll save details about his winemaking or the consultants to others. I should note that he couriers samples weekly to France for tasting and confirmation. Certainly most important is what the wine is like. Is it worth $88 a bottle? Is this a wine that Mark Slater should feature at Ray's the Steaks or Vincent Ferraud at his tastings? Is this the red that would break through onto the menu at Trotter's or even, incredibly at San Francisco's Danko's?

I didn't buy a bottle. I bought a case. I loved it. There may be a number of dinners that we'll postpone for this extravagance but we reasoned that we'll have twelve evenings to recapture the memory and the taste of today.

His approach may be risky. Yet it might also be necessary to separate his wine and Virginia's image to take it to the next level. People are going to have to make an effort to taste this-they are going to have to want to try it. (Weekday appointments are available.) This is not a casual sip nor was it a casual effort to make it.

It's a world class effort. In Delaplane. Virginia.

_______________

Jancis Robinson on RdV with a video: http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/a201109122.html

Website: www.rdvvineyards.com

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If both David Schildknecht and Jancis Robinson say it's good, then it's good.

Ahem. I told you about this guy seven months ago.

And add Kathy Morgan, Jay Youmans, Mark Wessels and Panos Kakaviatos to the list of those impressed.

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I have a next door neighbor who has spent much of his life overseas. From the many outposts he has been to he has accumulated wine that he has collected and stacked in corners and closets throughout his house. Perhaps a thousand or more from France to Moldova. I should note here that he insists a Moldovan wine tastes better in a cave underneath an outpost he can't pronouce. He's also visited Slovenian wineries as well as those in the Ukraine.

And Bordeaux...and Tuscany.

Tonight, I shared a glass of wine with him. His habit is to take his fishbowl sized glass (he swears that three buck Chuck tastes like ten buck Chuck in the proper glass) and scale the bottom of it with his nose. Then he inhales. A few seconds later he'll take a swig (he politely calls this a sip-for me it's a swig) and swirl the wine around in his mouth for a few seconds before gulping. For all the world he looks like an erudite wine snob, someone who could almost justify the vast swill he's had over the years.

I poured this evening. My bottle. He swirled, sniffed and after a pause, gulped. He looked up at me. What had I poured? What was this? Not a Tuesday night first growth? Could it be? Serious? Tuesday night?

No, it wasn't French. Nor from Yountville, Panzano or even the suburbs of Cape Town. It was from...Virginia.

Virgina? You're serious? Virginia? Smooth, mellow, mouth coatingly delicious-Virginia? Just no way.

RdV. With a couple of days @55 degrees and settled from the drive west of Reston it was superb. I should have bought more. Even a Moldovan wine snob would agree.

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Ahem. I told you about this guy seven months ago.

And add Kathy Morgan, Jay Youmans, Mark Wessels and Panos Kakaviatos to the list of those impressed.

I will readily admit that I've tasted RdV specifically because of your article.

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Ahem. I told you about this guy seven months ago.

I will readily admit that I've tasted RdV specifically because of your article.

I've learned over the years that if something has merit, it will find its way onto this website at some point - I look at it as a triage, and I'm sitting at the far end of the sorting table. B)

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I've learned over the years that if something has merit, it will find its way onto this website at some point - I look at it as a triage, and I'm sitting at the far end of the sorting table. B)

vineyard link is dead

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Worked for me

www.rdvvineyards.com it works. We also return on Thursday and will buy more. I am finding a great deal of enjoyment in pouring this for friends who passionately doubt that a great wine could be made in Virginia. I am running out of bottles to pour for them.

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JoeH, you must have visited the weekend after I did. I echo your sentiments totally. RdV certainly holds it's own against the temples of extravagence currently displayed in Napa/Sonoma not only with the setting but also with the product. The whole experience was mesmerizing. It took awhile to get my head wrapped around the fact that I was experiencing this in Virginia and not Oakville, St. Helena or Rutherford. RdV is a money is no object operation and it shows. How about the manmade cave! My 4some, like you, walked out with many bottles in hand. Rendezvous had a great nose (predominently Merlot). RdV was silky, complex and not the least bit tight. I can see great aging potential. I would have liked for both wines to have been decanted a little longer as I can only imagine the full potential.

We need to get Robert Parker out there at some point. Boy would that be interesting to get his take.

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JoeH, you must have visited the weekend after I did. I echo your sentiments totally. RdV certainly holds it's own against the temples of extravagence currently displayed in Napa/Sonoma not only with the setting but also with the product. The whole experience was mesmerizing. It took awhile to get my head wrapped around the fact that I was experiencing this in Virginia and not Oakville, St. Helena or Rutherford. RdV is a money is no object operation and it shows. How about the manmade cave! My 4some, like you, walked out with many bottles in hand. Rendezvous had a great nose (predominently Merlot). RdV was silky, complex and not the least bit tight. I can see great aging potential. I would have liked for both wines to have been decanted a little longer as I can only imagine the full potential.

We need to get Robert Parker out there at some point. Boy would that be interesting to get his take.

It's an interesting consideration for what he would rate RdV. My best guess is that he'd, at a minimum, be in the mid 90's perhaps as high as 96 or 97 for the RdV. Nose on this is unreal. What I haven't tasted is the '09 or the '10 from the barrel which I have an impression is even better than the '08. I hope to find a way to coerce a taste of this somehow tommorrow.

PS A note to my creditors: please forgive my many delinquent payments; all of my currently available funds are allocated for purchasing, yes, $88 bottles of Virginia wine...Perhaps you'd like a sip in advance of extending your credit... I'm also considering hording this wine as best I can.

I should last add that as a businessman who has given Dal Forno, Leonetti and Quiceda Creek as gifts over the years that RdV may have the most impact, certainly generate the greatest reaction of all. I believe that as the Wine Spectator did a front page feature on Leonetti in '94 it is inevitable that the same will be done for RdV. It really is just a matter of time. I've had four bottles, now, and absolutely love this stuff. Factor in the idllyic countryside setting, the storybook vintyard and the larger than life personality of Rutger along with the, yes, "cathedral like silo" and underground wine caves this is truly an exceptional evven extraordinary operation.]

So much so that I literally might be interested in buying adjacent land as an investment. Upperville may have its best days ahead of it.

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FYI. Arrowine is havng a special. It is not the $88 wine. Here is the quote:

The third wine (the one you can order today) is called "Friends and Family" and it's an Arrowine exclusive-- the only other place you can get a case is at the winery. It's gorgeous. It's a blend of Bordeaux grape varieties-- merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and petit verdot-- a velvety textured, elegant wine ready to drink now and over the next 3-5 years.

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FYI. Arrowine is havng a special. It is not the $88 wine. Here is the quote:

The $40 fee per person @ RdV ncludes tastes of the wines, RdV and Roundevous. No others.

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With two years of bottle age the '08 RDV wines are drinking fantastic right now.  As much as I liked both (noted in the thread above) they have both improved over this time.  Perhaps incredibly I believe that I actually like the '08 Roundezvous more than the '08 RDV. Color of the RDV might have actually been darker but the "legs" of the Roundezvous just oozed juice on the side of the fishbowl size glass.

From RDV's website this is the '09 RDV Lost Mountain (similar to '08 RDV):  Grape Varieties: 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot.  This is the '09 Roundezvous:  Grape Varieties: 35% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Cabernet Franc, 12% Petit Verdot.

I have not tasted the '09 Lost Mountain since the "brown bag tasting" at RDV five months ago.  At the time I much preferred the Lost Mountain to the Roundezvous.  Now, after drinking both of the '08's with two years of bottle age, I wonder what my reaction to the '09's will be a year from now?

These are both serious wines.  No wonder all of the '09's are sold out.

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I will be curious to see how the '10's taste after some aging.  When I picked up my allocation earlier this month, I thought the '10 Rendevous that they were pouring was FAR superior to the previous years - I had opened one of the '09 Rendevous about a month ago.

I look forward to trying the '10 Hodder Hill vs. the RdV wines after another 2 years of aging on them.  It'll be an interesting contrast to see how a $45 dollar bottle from Glen Manor (which I consider to be a great winery) stands up to a $90 dollar bottle from RdV - based on my samples of both to date, I think Glen Manor will have little issue keeping pace with its more expensive neighbor.

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I have two cases of '10 Hodder Hill.  I say this because that is how passionately I believe in this wine.  Having said this he will release his '10 petit verdot sometime over the winter.  We did a tasting about six or so months ago when Jeff poured the '09 Hodder Hill (which won last year's Governor's Cup).  All four of us believed the '09 petit verdot may have been better.

Linden's '10 Avenius (petit verdot based) is outstanding also.  I must note that both of these are 15% alcohol and a more mouth coating, jammy wine which I prefer.  The '08 RDV's are both 14.5% and similar-note my comment about the legs of the Roundezvous in the glass.

The problem with Glen Manor's Petit Verdot is that there is not very much of it.  I don't think there's a lot of Linden's Avenius either.  Delaplane's '10 Williams Gap is just about gone, too.

I am going broke buying Virginia wine. '09 and '10 were fantastic vintages.  I should also be waiting longer to drink some of it.

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RdV has four openings tomorrow at 2 for their "Evolution of Wine" tasting.  It's 60 bucks and you get a glass of champagne, a tour and then you taste 4 wines with food.  My wife and I did it a few weeks ago and it was great.  (this is the only way to see the place.....you can't just drive up and do a tasting).

Write to info@rdvvineyards.com if interested.  I just did and they're still available.  (I was thinking/hoping this was a different type of tour, but it's the same one I just did)

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I have two cases of '10 Hodder Hill.  I say this because that is how passionately I believe in this wine.  Having said this he will release his '10 petit verdot sometime over the winter.  We did a tasting about six or so months ago when Jeff poured the '09 Hodder Hill (which won last year's Governor's Cup).  All four of us believed the '09 petit verdot may have been better.

Linden's '10 Avenius (petit verdot based) is outstanding also.  I must note that both of these are 15% alcohol and a more mouth coating, jammy wine which I prefer.  The '08 RDV's are both 14.5% and similar-note my comment about the legs of the Roundezvous in the glass.

The problem with Glen Manor's Petit Verdot is that there is not very much of it.  I don't think there's a lot of Linden's Avenius either.  Delaplane's '10 Williams Gap is just about gone, too.

I am going broke buying Virginia wine. '09 and '10 were fantastic vintages.  I should also be waiting longer to drink some of it.

Tasted Linden's 2010 Boisseau (65% cab 35% merlot) for the first time today alongside of both '09 Avenius and '10 Avenius.  I should note that the '10 Boisseau has not been released yet-Jim Law believes it needs a bit more time in the bottle (as does Jeff White of his 2010 Petit Verdot).

The '10 Boisseau was a 15.8% alcohol fruit bomb that blew me away.  Fantastic wine!  Again, similar to Glen Manor's petit verdot, there's not a lot of it.  I can only imagine what this and the others in this thread will taste like in a year or two.

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Here's a photo from RdV twitter account yesterday.

What's the idea behind 18L bottles?  Some sort of an aging thing?

post-3390-0-00191600-1399645669_thumb.jp

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Yeah, that's right.  Sounds like the bigger the bottle the more gracefully it ages.  They also look pretty impressive.

"Bordeaux négociant Dominique Renard compares the life of a wine with that of a human being. "It has a birth, it has a life; one day it dies," he says. "And, like a human being, if you put that liquid into a smaller space, it is trapped. The smaller the space, the more the wine has difficulty expanding to its perfect self." (from the WSJ)

Sounds like Mr. Andres finally headed Joe's advice, he was all around Va wine country this week for a big feature in Food and Wine magazine.

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Here's a photo from RdV twitter account yesterday.

What's the idea behind 18L bottles?  Some sort of an aging thing?

Yes, and also just a "fun" thing for collectors.

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rmp_twitter_normal.jpgRobert M Parker, Jr. @RobertMParkerJr on the 2009 Rendezvous

Remarkable #Virginia #wine - Cabernet blend-complex, velvety and world-class. A revelation.

 

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