Friday, September 24, 2010

Rappahannock Cellars’ Anniversary!

Rappahannock Cellars’ Anniversary!
September 25 & 26, 2010
10 Vintage Years 2000 – 2010

Saturday, September 25
Hank Gorecki 2pm to 5pm

Sunday, September 26
Marie Miller Noon to 3pm

Recognizing the promise in Virginia wines, the Delmare family moved their family’s winery from California to the Blue Ridge Mountains in the heart of Virginia. With careful tending of the vineyard and exacting knowledge of the cellar, they strove to create rich, supple, and elegant wines, dedicated to the winegrower’s art.

"We came to Virginia with west coast experience that few others possessed here, but quickly realized the uniqueness of the Mid-Atlantic growing environment. Virginia has taught us plenty, and we hope we’ve given back a little too. Our 75 acre farm now consists of 20 acres of vineyard, including new varietals such as Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Norton, and others. With over 11 years of Virginia grape growing experience, we now are for the first time removing grapes and replanting vines more suitable to the specific micro-environment of each individual vineyard block. We’ve been blessed with a wonderful vineyard site with sandy-loam soils (which grapes love,) and characteristics which help to deter frost, winter injury, and disease. Our vineyards supply about 2/3 of the grapes necessary for our boutique 6,500 case production, and so we have found other high quality vineyards to lease. In that process, we’ve nurtured long term relationships with like minded growers…they are those that share our passion, and settle only for the best. Tom Kelly oversees all our vineyard operations and consults with our grower partners to assure that our winemaker, Jason Burrus, only receives the highest quality grapes to craft into some of Virginia’s (and dare we say the world’s) highest quality wines," says John Delmare, the family patriarch. "It’s humbling for me to look back over the past 20 years of our family’s wine experience and see the fruits of our labor. Our Virginia winery began producing wine over 10 years ago, where we have strived to create not just good wine, but fantastic wine."

In 2010 Rappahanock garnered the following awards, testament to their incredible rate of quality production:

◦2007 Meritage, Gold – 2010 Indy International Wine Competition
◦2009 Viognier, Gold – 2010 Indy International Wine Competition
◦2009 Noblesse Viognier, Gold – 2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
◦2008 Norton, Double Gold/Best of Class – 2010 Indy International Wine Competition, Gold – 2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
◦2007 Virginia Red Dessert Wine, Gold – 2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
◦2007 Cabernet Franc, Gold, 2010 Grand Harvest Awards

And produce fantastic wines they have.

I love Rappahanock Chardonnay! It is a unrepentant declaration of love. They ferment in stainless steel and they age the wine in French oak for five months. The result is a lean, crisp fresh light white wine, with touches of green apple and kiwi. There's also a hint of toasty oak an a certain creaminess. But a lovely balanced wine, with wonderful fruit and a nice clean finish. A wonderful chardonnay!

Their Viognier is one of my absolute favorites from anywhere! This viognier has a wonderful flowery nose, but also a touch of oak. The exotic aromas give way to a slight toastiness form the wine's contact with French oak. A lovely, lovely wine!

And their reds, in the last ten years have matured in an incredible way. Their Norton is an exeptional example of the varietal, big and deep and spicy! And their Cabernet Franc is lovely!

I recently pulled out an older vintage Chardonnay, afraid it might have perished in the dak recesses of my wine cellar. I chilled it, and then uncorked it, with feint hope of it's having lasted. I was most defintely surprised. The fruit was still there. The green apple and vanilla were still there. An absolutely astonishing accomplishment.

When I first read about the Delmares, I thought to myself, "who in their right mind would move from California to Virginia? Are they nuts?" But I stand absolutely corrected! Fabulous! Looking forward to the next ten years!