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Virginia Cabernet Franc


DonRocks
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So maybe the "overripe fruit bombs" allude to the pressures Virginia winemakers feel as their appeal spreads? In this context it's odd to anoint PV the grape of VA (as delicious as it can be) when PV generally produces full bodied, fruit-forward wines. I'd also like to know the producers that were part of the tasting, if only to compare notes.

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I would too. I drink a lot of Virginia wine and am very curious what they tasted. The blog seems like a bit of a puff to me, it lacks so many details.

Dan- I just drank a bottle of Paradise's Chardonnay that won the governor's cup, it was really good. Brunch at Trummer's then some wine from there is a very pleasant afternoon!

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I would too. I drink a lot of Virginia wine and am very curious what they tasted. The blog seems like a bit of a puff to me, it lacks so many details.

Dan- I just drank a bottle of Paradise's Chardonnay that won the governor's cup, it was really good. Brunch at Trummer's then some wine from there is a very pleasant afternoon!

Sorry that you think my blog post is a puff piece, though I can see how you might infer that from an outsider's perspective. The details (extensive tasting notes) are omitted so as not to embarrass any of the winemakers, most of whom I know personally. I have talked to several already offline about our results. Just as I would prefer you not air dirty laundry about my restaurant in public without first giving me a chance to deal with it in private, so I prefer to treat my winemaker friends.

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Sorry that you think my blog post is a puff piece, though I can see how you might infer that from an outsider's perspective. The details (extensive tasting notes) are omitted so as not to embarrass any of the winemakers, most of whom I know personally. I have talked to several already offline about our results. Just as I would prefer you not air dirty laundry about my restaurant in public without first giving me a chance to deal with it in private, so I prefer to treat my winemaker friends.

Am I reading this right? Does this post defer negative aura?

I think there is a misunderstanding all-around. To quote Inigo Montoya: "I do not think it means what you think it means."

If I don't think it means what everyone else think it means, then everyone can just ignore my post. Read on, please.

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Sorry that you think my blog post is a puff piece, though I can see how you might infer that from an outsider's perspective.

Maybe "puff piece" is the wrong phrase, but I agree that the post isn't terribly helpful because it omits the names of the producers. The only facts that are included are: (1) you tasted some Virginia Cabernet Francs, and (2) they sucked. By itself, this is not news: many of them suck, but some of them are quite good. The import of what you say depends entirely on what you were drinking.

If you're going to critique anything, you need to have the stones to name names. I don't think you protect anyone by failing to do so. Without telling us what was wrong with specific wines, or at least telling us some good ones, the only way for a reader to avoid your disappointment would be to avoid all Virginia Cabernet Franc. If it is your intention that we should avoid them -- and it seems to be -- that seems like an unfair judgment based on a handful of unnamed wines.

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Maybe "puff piece" is the wrong phrase, but I agree that the post isn't terribly helpful because it omits the names of the producers. The only facts that are included are: (1) you tasted some Virginia Cabernet Francs, and (2) they sucked. By itself, this is not news: many of them suck, but some of them are quite good. The import of what you say depends entirely on what you were drinking.

If you're going to critique anything, you need to have the stones to name names. I don't think you protect anyone by failing to do so. Without telling us what was wrong with specific wines, or at least telling us some good ones, the only way for a reader to avoid your disappointment would be to avoid all Virginia Cabernet Franc. If it is your intention that we should avoid them -- and it seems to be -- that seems like an unfair judgement based on a handful of unnamed wines.

If I was a better writer, this is what I would have written.

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If I was a better writer, this is what I would have written.

Hillsborough Vineyards 2007 Onyx which is 100% tannat. $32 or so a bottle with case discounts. Mouth coating, full bodied, jammy-one of the best reds Va has ever done. Negative? They are sold out of the '07 which is among VA's best vintages ever.

Chateau O'Brien Petit Verdot is a good red although overpriced at $39. (The owner will passionately disagree with my statement.) Same winery makes a $79 2007 Limited Reserve tannat which I have not had but was told that is excellent by any standard. (Perhaps interestingly-even @$79 it is sold out). Glen Manor's 2007 Hodder Hill(blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot and 12% Cabernet Franc) is a similarly excellent wine. They also make a cabernet franc but I remember much prefering the Hodder Hill when I tasted it. In general I'm not a fan of cabernet franc. Tannat, however, is an especially interesting grape in Virginia.

All three of these wineries speak extremely well for Virginia especially the Onyx and the Hodder Hill at their price points.

For anyone thinking about visiting VA wineries, perhaps to take advantage of the Fall colors all three of these have especially beautiful settings. I'd also add Bluemont to the list which is the most scenic of all. The negative is that its wine is not on the same level but the setting is breathtaking. They claim that on a clear day you can see the Washington Monument from its deck.

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Hillsborough Vineyards 2007 Onyx which is 100% tannat. $32 or so a bottle with case discounts. Mouth coating, full bodied, jammy-one of the best reds Va has ever done. Negative? They are sold out of the '07 which is among VA's best vintages ever.

Chateau O'Brien Petit Verdot is a good red although overpriced at $39. (The owner will passionately disagree with my statement.) Same winery makes a $79 2007 Limited Reserve tannat which I have not had but was told that is excellent by any standard. (Perhaps interestingly-even @$79 it is sold out). Glen Manor's 2007 Hodder Hill(blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot and 12% Cabernet Franc) is a similarly excellent wine. They also make a cabernet franc but I remember much prefering the Hodder Hill when I tasted it. In general I'm not a fan of cabernet franc. Tannat, however, is an especially interesting grape in Virginia.

All three of these wineries speak extremely well for Virginia especially the Onyx and the Hodder Hill at their price points.

For anyone thinking about visiting VA wineries, perhaps to take advantage of the Fall colors all three of these have especially beautiful settings. I'd also add Bluemont to the list which is the most scenic of all. The negative is that its wine is not on the same level but the setting is breathtaking. They claim that on a clear day you can see the Washington Monument from its deck.

This is helpful. I am going to give this list to some friends coming in the first weekend of October who wanted some places to go tasting. We normally are going to vineyards in Charlottesville so I am never as good with recommendations in the Loudoun/Warren County area.

BTW Joe, I know you are down in C-ville from time to time. Mountfair is our new favorite winery down there. Very run of the mill facility, but they are producing some great wine. Reds only, although they also taste and sell the Thibaut brands of sparkling. The Engagement a blend of merlot, cab franc, cab sauv and petit verdot was very good.

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This is helpful. I am going to give this list to some friends coming in the first weekend of October who wanted some places to go tasting. We normally are going to vineyards in Charlottesville so I am never as good with recommendations in the Loudoun/Warren County area.

BTW Joe, I know you are down in C-ville from time to time. Mountfair is our new favorite winery down there. Very run of the mill facility, but they are producing some great wine. Reds only, although they also taste and sell the Thibaut brands of sparkling. The Engagement a blend of merlot, cab franc, cab sauv and petit verdot was very good.

Thanks for the Thibaut recommendation. We will definitely visit it. Appreciated.

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Maybe "puff piece" is the wrong phrase, but I agree that the post isn't terribly helpful because it omits the names of the producers. The only facts that are included are: (1) you tasted some Virginia Cabernet Francs, and (2) they sucked. By itself, this is not news: many of them suck, but some of them are quite good. The import of what you say depends entirely on what you were drinking.

If you're going to critique anything, you need to have the stones to name names. I don't think you protect anyone by failing to do so. Without telling us what was wrong with specific wines, or at least telling us some good ones, the only way for a reader to avoid your disappointment would be to avoid all Virginia Cabernet Franc. If it is your intention that we should avoid them -- and it seems to be -- that seems like an unfair judgment based on a handful of unnamed wines.

You missed my point entirely. My post was not a critique, but a message to a select few winemakers who follow my blog. It was never intended to be helpful to or even aimed at you. That DR picked up on it comes as a bit of surprise to me. My comments would have been very different if I had targeted a different audience. You are welcome to taste with us next time and if you feel so inclined, to publish all the notes you want. BTW, read through a few years of my blog--you will see stones aplenty. And you will also see that I am a huge supporter of the Virginia wine industry. Forty percent of our list is from Virginia and we have over 20 Virginia wines by the glass.

As much as I like a good natured scrap on a forum, I do have a restaurant to run. Cheers!

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