Virginia makes decent wine? That’s what I first asked myself when trying my first glass of “Virginia Wine” at the Wine Bloggers Conference this year. As a wine professional, I am aware that all states make wine and many have vineyards, but I have not ventured into Virginia until now.
After first sip, I realized there was probably more to this “Virginia Wine” then I had thought. Well balanced, fruit forward, and hints of what I would expect from the grape varietals being poured… I had to explore more!
I decided to take a trip to Virginia one weekend to explore the wine scene, which is surprisingly very popular. Vineyards high and low, tasting rooms, and farms line the hillsides of beautiful Purcellville, VA. I stopped at Doukenie Winery where I met a lovely woman named Maria. Here she walked me through the winery and of course had me tasting some fantastic wines.
Virginia has some great varietals, and grows Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Riesling well. Doukenie has over 1800 members in the wine club, who get great priced wines and more of the “boutique selection”. They do happily ship, for you out of town folks who want to try some for yourself!
The 2013 Riesling is mineral driven and full of citrus. Hints of peach brush your nose, and it leaves you with a clean and refreshing finish. The Chardonnay has a nose of bright yellow apple, and on the palate a fun surprise of oak and malo-lactic fermentation (I say surprise because it was not detected on the nose at all).
Reds here grow nicely. The Cabernet Franc holds up well during harvests, and this one in particular is full of black pepper, which they obtain by covering the grapes with leaves during the growing and ripening seasons.
For Merlot fans, you will find Doukenie’s 2012 Merlot has the body of a Pinot Noir with some blackberry jam notes. This one was certainly great for those who love red wine but don’t want too much heaviness.
The Dionysus is a special wine that sees more attention than a lot of the other ones. Aged in the bottle for two years, this wine was wonderfully fruit forward, balanced, and would be even better if laid down to age more. The Zeus however, which is a red blend, was one of my favorites and in the words of Maria, “Pretty Darn Dynamic”!
Be sure to stop in to Doukenie Winery when you are in VA. Virginia wine country is beautiful and you will discover some fantastic wines on your way through it all. Stop in here for some of Hope’s Baklava and Raspberry Dessert Wine for a sweet treat this fall. Doukenie’s tasting room is open all year round, and offers plenty of events and seasonal fun found here.