I was thinking about all American wines this year and decided to take a trip with my wife to Virginia's wine country (The rest of this will be in first person).
Not far from the renowned tourist area of Williamsburg, Virginia sits Gauthier Vineyards (Kent County).
Off the highway and down a narrow, bumpy road, it's an easy good find.
Upon my arrival, I was greeted with quite a welcome by one of its owners, Sandi Gauthier.
She was kind enough to take me through what will soon be a distillery tasting area and its adjacent vault. She said that's to come in just a few months.
Back to the wine.
As I entered the tasting area, I couldn't help but notice the magnificent views of the surrounding landscape. The porch area has seats all around its sides with small dining tables to enjoy the wine.
I got to take in some of the lake views (and the Norton grapes) which I highly recommend.
Once inside, I was greeted by Mike, the tasting room manager. Quite the knowledge this gentleman has on Virginia wine country, its origins, personas and current state of affairs.
Little did I know that Viognier (the white wine grape from France), could be grown in Virginia. In the tasting room, they had an oak aged version that was impressive, subtle yet easy to drink.
One of the ones that livened me up was the Traminette 2014. Almost aperitif like, with a big aroma of flowers, after drinking it I felt like I was dipped in a bouquet. I learned that it is a hybrid of Gewurztraminer.
We moved on to the reds and I was mostly intrigued by the Petit Verdot 2014. Spicy, rich and with a good amount of tannins, it's interesting to see how the winemaker was able to pull this off as a standalone wine, since Petit Verdot is usually used to blend with other varietals.
A little after, had the signature Brick House Red 2014. With a blend of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a signature grape of Virginia's Chambourcin, this voluptuous red has plenty of tannings. However, very light astringency for a big wine. It was one of my favorites due to its richness.
Finally, the Port Style Rochembeau's Starboard made with fortified Chambourcin (grapes are hybrid from the Loire Valley) with quite the herb type aroma. It's made from grains alcohol but has no brandy despite its fortification.
Gauthier Vineyards is a reasonably priced winery. At a $10 fee for a tasting of 7 select wines sets a fair ground for what you'll encounter in its vinos. Plus, you'll get to take a souvenir wine glass. If you are active or retired military, you'll get an extra 15% off.
Most grapes are grown in the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia and are brought to the winery for fermentation, bottling and serving.
This former Naval officers duo of wife (Sandi) and husband (Mo) are putting the right touches on the Virginia wine world. A small production, family owned winery doing cool, easy to drink wines enriching the industry. Although they may only make an average of a few thousand cases a year, that's enough to put them on the map.
More info: www.gauthiervineyard.com
Please wine responsibly, and as always, Salud!