Wednesday, June 27, 2007

British Media, Wine Experts "Surprisingly Impressed" With Virginia Wine at Historic Tasting

London Wine Tasting Commemorates Anniversary of Virginia’s Jamestown Settlement;
First Place in North America Where English Settlers Tried to Produce Wine -
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — May 8, 2007 — The Virginia Wine Experience in London, LLC poured 64 high-quality Virginia wines for leading members of the British wine trade and media last Wednesday, May 2nd at Vinopolis, London's unique wine tasting venue.

The tasting was a great success, generating impressive reviews from top opinion shapers and creating an awareness of Virginia as a quality wine producing region. The complete list of the Virginia wines presented can be found at wineries link and photos of the event are available on request.

All eyes - and taste buds - were focused on Virginia wines, with more than 100 trade and media attendees sampling wine in an intimate, relaxed atmosphere. All feedback received on Virginia wines was positive, but many were particularly impressed with the consistency of wine quality, the wines’ balance and clean fruit flavors, the restrained nature exhibited by moderate alcohol levels below 14 percent, which is unusual for New World wine, and both the diversity of and unconventional range of grape varieties such as the varietal petit verdot and the native Norton grape.

High profile attendees included Hugh Johnson, author of the annual Pocket Encyclopedia of Wine, World Wine Atlas and columnist for Decanter; Steven Spurrier, known for arranging the "judgement of Paris" tasting in 1976 which launched respectability for California wines and Decanter columnist; Andrew Jefford, contributing writer for Decanter; and Stephen Brook, the American specialist at Decanter.

"As a result of this tasting, Virginia has clearly been established as a quality wine region in the minds of leading opinion shapers in the U.K. wine trade," said Richard Leahy, executive director of the Virginia Wine Experience in London. "We made a distinct impression when it came to how leading British wine authorities saw Virginia wines stylistically. Virginia is both geographically and stylistically between Europe and the West Coast, and the tasters in London really understood that. Traditionally, the British think of American wines in the context of the West Coast, with higher alcohol and lower acid levels than we typically get in Virginia, so our wines are seen as a refreshing change."

Some notable comments from tasters include:

Spurrier said, "An eye-opener for chardonnay and particularly Viognier; lovely Meritage blends."

Nick Williams of Morgan Stanley said, "Great variety, [Cabernet] Francs fantastic; When are they available?"

Carol Whitehead of Marstone Wine Consulting said, "Sparklers very promising, loved the Petit Verdot examples. Some fine Chardonnays and white blends, good Cabernet Francs too."

Christos Ioannou of Criterion Wine Ltd. said "Really liked the quality of whites; elegant, subtle, fragrant, intelligent use of oak. Also liked the Cabernet Francs."

Hugh Johnson was so delighted with the Veritas Petit Verdot '05 that he took a bottle with him! Greville Hawanth of Wine on the Web summed it all up when we heard, "Surprisingly impressive!"