Sunday, May 24, 2009

Washington Post Praises Virginia Sauvignon Blancs

Here's an excerpt from THE WASHINGTON POST

With this new style of sauvignon blanc emerging on the West Coast, where will the grape make its next big statement? My guess is, right here in our own back yard. A handful of Virginia wineries are making excellent sauvignon blanc. The best of them, from Linden Vineyards and Glen Manor, can stand proudly against competitors from around the world. Veritas, Barboursville and Breaux are nipping at their heels.

Virginia's wet climate makes the grape tough to grow and even tougher to fit a style. "Some years we have left more than half our crop on the vines, because it rotted before it could ripen," said Jeff White, owner and winegrower at Glen Manor, on the west-facing slopes of the Shenandoah Valley just south of Front Royal. "But we've learned to control the crop and leaf canopy to encourage ripening."

White's 2007, still available on the market, shows the fat ripeness of a long, dry, hot growing season. The newly released 2008, on the other hand, was picked during the five-day window between tropical storms Fay and Hanna. A decade ago, that one-two punch from Mother Nature might have ruined the vintage, but with vine age and experience, White was able to produce a wine that not only tastes ripe and tropical, but also features the grassy edginess that characterizes the grape.

So with sauvignon blanc, don't just think California. You might be overlooking a gem next door.
Dave McIntyre can be reached at