Jump to content

Virginia 2014 Governor's Cup Winners


Joe H
 Share

Recommended Posts

Virginia announced the winner of their 2014 Governor's Cup today: 2010 Williamsburg Adagio which lists for $72.00

I believe that RDV, Glen Manor, Linden and Delaplane Cellars didn't enter.

If that's the case - I was curious when I saw the results as to where they were - I wonder what the reason was for not submitting entries?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was surprised too as I don't associate half the gold medal-winning wineries as top tier in the state. I suppose more wineries are making better wine but I also wonder if the results are more of a reflection of who's entering instead of representing the best wine in the state. Barboursville, while still making top wine, has a higher production level than the smaller high-quality wineries. I don't think any winery has received three gold medals since the Cup was revised, so that is impressive. Its amusing to see some higher-production wineries carpet bomb the Governors Cup with entries and come up a little short. Regarding the 4 wineries Joe mentions, I imagine its the amount of cases they have to commit that prevents them from entering, at least year after year. Also, they don't need the Cup's press to sell their wine. However, if the Governor's Cup can't attract some of the best winemakers in the state then it loses its relevance...to me at least. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is very late as I type this, we've just returned from visiting six wineries in the greater Charlottesville area which included a number of interesting conversations along with one of the best VA wines I've ever tasted and what must certainly be the most spectacular, breathtaking setting of all.

If a winery wins the Governors Cup it has to sell ten cases of the winning wine for $200.  Some of the best VA wines (i.e. Linden Boisseau, Glen Manor Petit  Verdot) only represented two barrels or about fifty cases.  Then, factor in another fifty cases which have to be available when the results are announced and literally, for some wine, there is not enough to enter them.

For some wineries (i.e. RDV) anything less than actually winning is a loss.  For a winery such as Linden with a long established, loyal clientel the competition has little value.

Then we have some interesting political issues:  Fauquier County was not home to a single gold medal winning wine.  Northern Virginia now has more wineries than Central Virginia and some may be asking if they are receiving as much recognition and support as those closer to Richmond?

We tasted an incredible wine today that has not yet been released:  King Family Vineyards 2010 Meritage.  One hundred dollars a bottle and I had to talk my way into buying it.  Their 2011 was included in the Governor's Case and is being sold by the winery for $60.  I did not taste it; rather a conversation led me to their '10 which I was told was at least a year away from being released.  (Their '09 has not been released yet, either.)  But the '10, opened for a small glass, and then 11 hours later at home, is a sensational bottle of wine that changes every few minutes in the glass.  This may be five or more years away from even being approached.  Layers and layers of flavor, remarkable complexity-a real lucious mouthful that has as much potential, perhaps more potential than any VA wine I have had.  I would love to taste this side by side with '09 RDV Lost Mountain and a year or so from now I will.  Honestly, each wine IS worth its price.  I truly believe that Virginia has successfully realized that level.

We had an excellent '09 cabernet reserve from Pollack which was officially "sold out" but I was able to coerce them into selling me.  $32 a bottle and a remarkable value at this price point.  Veritas has one of the best and most "refined" petit verdots in the state ('10) which is also one of the most expensive at $50 a bottle.  Their multi year port like blend, 500 ml Othello Reserve, at $40 was worth every penny.

The nearby Afton Mountain is a gorgeous winery although excepting a library $75 '10 petit verdot I didn't taste anything I really liked.  I met the owner of Afton Mountain and he and I had an interesting discussion about picturesque winery settings.  Given the incredible beauty of his own winery I thought he would have an interesting opinion.  And he did.

Stone Mountain is legendary for the partially eroded, narrow dirt and gravel road that you climb for two miles to get up to the top of the mountain it sits on.  "Tony" at Afton Mountain told me that it may not be the best view that he has seen.  He described the year old Moss Vineyards as having perhaps the most beautiful view of any winery that he has been to in Virginia.  He noted that its road was better, still dirt, but with fewer ruts and not a road that was so bad that you'd only go if someone else drove their car.

He gave us directions and we went.  In my wife's new Lexus.

Moss Vineyards is literally on the top of a mountain, one thousand + feet above the expansive valley and four distant mountain ranges which unfold in front of it.  From their website which also has a number of photographs:  " The mountaintop vineyard and winery were designed and built to offer our guests and visitors what is simply one of the most beautiful vineyard and winery experiences to be had in Virginia." http://www.mossvineyards.net/  The fourth photo that flashes on this screen is the real showstopper.  For myself Moss is not about wine; rather, it is an adventure to find, a heartstopping narrow, steep dirt road to climb.  And much of the near vertical ascent caused me to curse it because of my wife's new car yet, a mile or more at the top it was, simply, worth it.

Breathtaking setting.

From D. C.:  route 29 to route 33 (which is the Barboursville turn-but you are going to go in the opposite direction, a right on route 33).

Follow 33 for six or seven miles to 810.  Left on 810 and pay attention.  The route number will stay the same but there are going to be a number of times that the road actually makes turns.  And narrows.  At some point you'll come to the turnoff for Moss Vineyards and that is when it will really get interesting.

Four or so miles away is Glass House which is one of Virginia's most unique wineries.  Five or so miles away-in another direction-is Stone Mountain Vineyards which for all the world will feel like climbing a one lane, two mile long dirt and mud road in a third world country.  The area around the base of the mountain actually feels and looks like this, too.  (Remarkable neighborhood which feels like the complete antithesis of Charlottesville.)  Similar to Moss Vineyards, for me Stone Mountain is not about extraordinary wine.  Rather, another remarkable heartstopping setting that will make your friends jealous because they won't have the courage or stupidity to drive to it themselves.  But when you go, ideally in a rented car or with someone else driving, you will talk about both wineries for years to come.

We've now been to over 100 Virginia wineries and I would suggest there is nothing else that even approaches either Moss Vineyards or Stone Mountain which claims to have the highest elevation-1700 feet-of any wine in the state.  http://www.stonemountainvineyards.com/  You'll feel comfortable that both claims are true because you'll never see another road like the horsetrails these wineries use to get to them.

Both Moss Vineyards and Stone Mountain Vineyards opened for the season Saturday.

For all of my humor they are both sincerely worth the effort and the adventure to get to them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I now understand there are a significant number of wineries which did not enter this.  I would suggest that it is at a crossroads and unless the vast majority of the 251 wineries in Virginia believe it is beneficial to them it will lose even more future participants.

I would further suggest that Richmond needs to accept that there are now more wineries in the state in Northern Virginia than there are in the greater Charlottesville area.

This is a far more interesting topic than the attention it is receiving on this board.  Simply, if Virginia wine is going to be accepted on the national stage it needs the 6.4 million people in the Washington, D. C. area. And the credibility of acceptance there. It needs both the Loudoun AND the Fauquier county wineries. It can't lose Front Royal.

Charlottesville wine country is gorgeous.  For a number of wineries it is also successful with a number of 5,000+ case wineries.  I would even suggest that King Family 2010 Meritage has the potential to be the best wine ever produced in this state.  Pollak, mentioned above, has an '09 reserve cabnernet that, at $32 a bottle, is one of the great values anywhere.  Veritas' $50 '10 peitit verdot is worth every penny of its cost.  And, Afton Mountain is one of the most beautiful wineries anywhere.  I haven't overlooked Keswick, Barboursville or Michael Shaps.

But I believe the growth of Virginia wine, the national acceptance of Virginia wine is directly dependent on the success  of Jim Law and his desciples Rutger de Vink at RDV, Jeff White at Glen Manor and Jim and Betsy Dolphin at Delaplane.  And there are more:  Chester Gap, the just opened Maggie Malick and several others about to open their own wineries after "tutelage" at Linden.

We had a great time this weekend and believe Charlottesville and the surrounding area is one of the Great destinations in the U. S.  There is also wine for the national stage.  But it's not going to receive attention and acceptance until Washington, D. C. embraces it.  The $100 dollar King Family 2010 Meritage is worthy of any dining room in America, worthy of being carried and presented to a Michelin starred chef in Europe.

But that trip goes through Washington, not through Richmond.  It's going to include northern Va, Fauquier county and the wineries noted above.  It's going to succeed because some of the absolute best wine in the state is less than an hour from the Washington Beltway.  Not the Richmond bypass. I don't think enough people really understand this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to add an addendum to the above.  In my industry there are a number of European manufacturers who meet every year during our annual tradeshow.  Each will bring a magnum of a wine that he or she is "proud of."  For the Italian manufacturers from the Veneto this includes Quintarelli and Dal Forno.  For the French there will be several mature first growths, the Germans will include not only auslese and spatlese reisling but also TBA and even a red or two.  That they are proud of.

I visit Germany in two weeks and will have dinner with several of them.  I am bringing several bottles of wine that I "am proud of."  Virginia wine.

I have a lot of Virginia wine.  '09 and '10 were good years.  Really good years.

I am debating what I am going to take:  '08 RDV, '09 Octagon, '09 Hodder Hill or Petit Verdot, '09 Hardscrabble Red or '10 Boisseau, '10 Williams Gap, '10 Veritas Petit Verdot or even the far too young but exceptional '10 King Family Meritage.

Whatever I decide it's going to include wine from Northern Virginia.  Some of them have never even heard of Richmond.  But they know Washington.

I've done this before and I know the reaction:  "there is wine like this one hour from Washington?  Amazing."  Spoken with a French accent.  I once shared a bottle of Washington state wine (Leonetti Reserve) with Santi Santimaria at his three Michelin star restaurant, El Raco de Can Fabes outside of Barcelona.  With a fishbowl sized wineglass in his hand he came into the dining room late in our evening there and, with the waiter translating, told me that he "didn't know they made wine in Washington.  Are there vineyards in the city?"

Santimaria thought the Washington state wine was Washington, D. C. wine.

The road runs through D. C.  Not through Richmond.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the info and insight Joe, but I don't think I understand it!!!

Are you saying that the fix is in and the Governor's Cup hands out prizes to C-ville and Richmond for political or tourism reasons?  Or is it something else?

Surely they can't award RdV or Linden or any other NoVA vineyard the top prize if they don't enter.

And as a possibly related aside, I find the Linden situation hilarious (in a good way).  They've always limited the number of guests ("no buses, no limos, no parties larger than 6"), and a few years ago they only let "case club" members drink our on their deck, but more recently they've disappeared from the "Virginia Wine World".  And by that I mean the state vineyard map (an actual paper folding map) and the state winery web site.  I have an old VA winery map from maybe 5 years ago and Linden was on it, but on the last couple, it has vanished!!  Same thing for the VA state winery website.........Linden used to be on it, but now they're not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe that Linden is still, very much, the long standing, preeminent VA winery.  Possibly Barboursville, too. Overall he is doing some great things from his Boisseau to Avenius to Hardscrabble Red.  Huge fan of Jim Law.  I think he's close to selling out (or at least as much as he wants to sell) of almost everything. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Joe -

    I get that about Linden, but my real question was about your thoughts on the Gov's Cup.  I'm not sure I understand the point you're making.

A cut and paste from above:

<<<< Are you saying that the fix is in and the Governor's Cup hands out prizes to C-ville and Richmond for political or tourism reasons?  Or is it something else?

Surely they can't award RdV or Linden or any other NoVA vineyard the top prize if they don't enter. >>>

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a far more interesting topic than the attention it is receiving on this board.  Simply, if Virginia wine is going to be accepted on the national stage it needs the 6.4 million people in the Washington, D. C. area. And the credibility of acceptance there. It needs both the Loudoun AND the Fauquier county wineries. It can't lose Front Royal.  

I'm curious if the wineries themselves are interested in having Virginia wine on the national stage, or if they simply want to sell out every year to whomever cares to buy.  It seems from the other comments that there is not enough wine to go around in the Commonwealth, much less to be distributed more widely.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My impression is that Fauquier county does not receive the emphasis that it should with Richmond.  For me, there seems to be a focus with Charlottesville and elsewhere in the state.  This might have been fine ten years ago but today there is genuine excellence "up here."  There are also 6.4 million people as opposed to the metro Richmond population.  With  251 or so wineries there needs to be a population base to support this number of wineries:  Richmond and Charlottesville alone are not going to do it.

I think Richmond ignores the greater Washington, D. C./Baltimore area focusing on the state capitol and the wineries to the west of it.  With Baltimore we are now approaching ten million people.

From my perspective Jim Law is a huge part of the reason that there is excellent wine in Northern VA.  I believe that VA is stronger if he and those who he has influenced are on board.

I do not mean to imply a "fix."  The '09 Octagon for example is an extraordinary wine-one of the best ever produced here.  I also opened a bottle of it, '08 RDV and '10 Delaplane Cellars Williams Gap for friends who own a Michelin starred restaurant in Germany Monday night.  The Octagon was the favored wine (they were shocked at how good it was) followed by Williams Gap and RDV which they both liked a lot.  There were six people reviewing this wine including a world class sommelier.  I will go back there in several months (there is some business associated with this in my industry) and I will take more VA wine.  The next time I will include Glen Manor Hodder Hill or Petit Verdot, Linden '10 Boisseau or '09 Hardscrabble Red and the King Family '10 Meritage.  Maybe Veritas' Petit Verdot.

I bringing wine from Front Royal, Delaplane, Linden and Charlottesville-all side by side.  The image of Virginia wine is stronger by including all of them.

The '09 Octagon and '10 King Family Meritage are extraordinary wines with depth, complexity and with time, balance, that are huge credits to here.  As they would be to California or Washington.  But there is similar excellence emerging uphere and I believe Richmond should go after them.  Simply, Linden, Glen Manor, RDV and Delaplane along with several others need to be part of this.  Jim Law must be "courted" and "sold."  He and the others are far too important to the overall success of the Virginia wine industry.  Frankly, he is already leading the charge.  And doing a helluva job.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm curious if the wineries themselves are interested in having Virginia wine on the national stage, or if they simply want to sell out every year to whomever cares to buy.  It seems from the other comments that there is not enough wine to go around in the Commonwealth, much less to be distributed more widely. 

There is a lot of wine to go around-much of it consumed at wine festivals or the cheaper bottles that are usually bought at wineries.  When I look at the shelves in Wegman's, Harris Teeter and Safeway it is mostly cheap VA wine that is on them.  There are very few, if any, good bottles for people to buy and taste.   It is the dozen or so  wineries (of the 251) who are really dedicated to making serious wine that will benefit the image of the state.  As that image grows so will the ease to sell even the less expensive wine.

For all those who taste VA wine at some kind of festival and think they've had it, it might be a shock to taste what I poured in Germany on Monday night.  Literally, I poured world class wine which stood up on the world stage.  The restaurant that this was poured in has an extensive wine cellar featuring numerous first growths including a dozen or more from 2000 and earlier.  Over the course of the night, given the reaction to those at the table to the VA wine, a number of other people came over to try their own taste.

Whatever Virginia's image was before Monday night, near the Kaiserstuhl area of Germany, it went up.  FWIW, Kaiserstuhl and Oberbergen, near the Rhein river and the French border, is one of the most beautiful areas I have ever seen.  Easily as beautiful as anywhere in Tuscany, it is also the warmest part of German and, as such along with literal rocky, volcanic soil, Germany's largest wine region. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiserstuhl_(Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg)  Photographs of this idyllic area:  http://search.aol.com/aol/image?q=kaiserstuhl+oberbergen+photographs&s_chn=tt_unauth&v_t=client97_searchbox

csm_Vogtsburg-im-Kaiserstuhl-Bassgeigenk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a lot of wine to go around-much of it consumed at wine festivals or the cheaper bottles that are usually bought at wineries.  When I look at the shelves in Wegman's, Harris Teeter and Safeway it is mostly cheap VA wine that is on them.  There are very few, if any, good bottles for people to buy and taste.   It is the dozen or so  wineries (of the 251) who are really dedicated to making serious wine that will benefit the image of the state.  As that image grows so will the ease to sell even the less expensive wine.

For all those who taste VA wine at some kind of festival and think they've had it, it might be a shock to taste what I poured in Germany on Monday night.  Literally, I poured world class wine which stood up on the world stage.  The restaurant that this was poured in has an extensive wine cellar featuring numerous first growths including a dozen or more from 2000 and earlier.  Over the course of the night, given the reaction to those at the table to the VA wine, a number of other people came over to try their own taste.

Whatever Virginia's image was before Monday night, near the Kaiserstuhl area of Germany, it went up.  FWIW, Kaiserstuhl and Oberbergen, near the Rhein river and the French border, is one of the most beautiful areas I have ever seen.  Easily as beautiful as anywhere in Tuscany, it is also the warmest part of German and, as such along with literal rocky, volcanic soil, Germany's largest wine region. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiserstuhl_(Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg)  Photographs of this idyllic area:  http://search.aol.com/aol/image?q=kaiserstuhl+oberbergen+photographs&s_chn=tt_unauth&v_t=client97_searchbox

csm_Vogtsburg-im-Kaiserstuhl-Bassgeigenk

It is sincerely disappointing that there is not a single response to my comments about Oberbergen in the Kaiserstuhl.  In a lifetime of travelling perhaps as singularly beautiful of a place as I have ever seen, virtually unknown by Americans and even with a storybook portrait nobody has read this thread to appreciate it.  One cannot imagine what it is like to drive over a hill and see the breathtaking, expansive valley above unfold in front of the car...

To present Virginia wine in this setting is equally breathtaking.  And courageous.  And....appreciated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a lot of wine to go around-much of it consumed at wine festivals or the cheaper bottles that are usually bought at wineries.  When I look at the shelves in Wegman's, Harris Teeter and Safeway it is mostly cheap VA wine that is on them.  There are very few, if any, good bottles for people to buy and taste.   It is the dozen or so  wineries (of the 251) who are really dedicated to making serious wine that will benefit the image of the state.  As that image grows so will the ease to sell even the less expensive wine.

For all those who taste VA wine at some kind of festival and think they've had it, it might be a shock to taste what I poured in Germany on Monday night.  Literally, I poured world class wine which stood up on the world stage.  The restaurant that this was poured in has an extensive wine cellar featuring numerous first growths including a dozen or more from 2000 and earlier.  Over the course of the night, given the reaction to those at the table to the VA wine, a number of other people came over to try their own taste.

Whatever Virginia's image was before Monday night, near the Kaiserstuhl area of Germany, it went up.  FWIW, Kaiserstuhl and Oberbergen, near the Rhein river and the French border, is one of the most beautiful areas I have ever seen.  Easily as beautiful as anywhere in Tuscany, it is also the warmest part of German and, as such along with literal rocky, volcanic soil, Germany's largest wine region. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiserstuhl_(Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg)  Photographs of this idyllic area:  http://search.aol.com/aol/image?q=kaiserstuhl+oberbergen+photographs&s_chn=tt_unauth&v_t=client97_searchbox

csm_Vogtsburg-im-Kaiserstuhl-Bassgeigenk

I thought I would bury this little tidbit here:  Safeway, as I type this early on March 21st, is selling '09 Barboursville Octagon for $35 a bottle with a six pack purchase.  That's $20 off per bottle.

'09 Octagon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...