Sunday, March 06, 2011

Jefferson Vineyards Shines in Virginia

At Jefferson Vineyards, they grow grapes and make wine from Thomas Jefferson's original vineyard sites, first planted in 1774 just one mile from Monticello. The replanted those iriginal vineyards in 1981, and have been making wine there since. Jefferson produces between 4000 and 8000 cases annually.

Andy Reagan is the winemaker and general while Missy Stevens is the tasting room and office manager.

I arrived on a beautiful autumn day, with a crips, clear blue sky, and red, orange, and yellow leaves dancing cross the driveway. Gorgeous! I've been drinking Jefferson Vineyards for quite a while now, and I always look forward to tasting their wines.

The first on the list I really liked was the Pinot Gris 2009. This wine won a double gold medal at the 2010 San Diego International WIne Competiton. It was a clean, light, bright expressive wine, with a fragrant nose and nice acidity. It ended with a citrus note, a slightly graefruity finish. Lovely.

I also enjoyed the Chardonnay Reserve 2009. This had won a gold medal at the 2009 Lodi Wine Awards. This was a minerally chard, with big fruit up fornt - green apple, crisp pear, a touch of citrus. Great acidity and nice balance. Refreshing. Not real heavy. Absolutely lovely.

The came my absolute favorite, the Viognier 2009. This also won a gold at San Diego in 2010. The nose was ripe with apricot, peach, and honeysuckle. And those flavors also were hinted at on the palate as well. Great acidity. A real touch of minerality. A real experience. Light, refreshing, but delicate, and powerful at the same time. Certainly among my favorite of all Virginia Viogniers. Wow!

Next came the Cabernet Franc 2009. This was a nice, medium-bodied red, with bright red raspberry and cherry on the nose. On the palate the cherry dominated more than the cherry, though both were present. There were hints of pepper as well. Nice balance of acidity and tannins. A very smooth drinking red.

Their Petit Verdot 2009 was also very, very nice, with lots of dark berry fruit - and a whiff of tobacco? On the plate is was a stew of blackberry, dark cherry, dark raspberry, maybe even a hint of black currant - and a touch of saddle leather or moacha? This was a very nice red, with great balance, wonderful big tannins, and long lasting fruit flavor.

And of course, my favorite, the Meritage 2007. This is usually a blend of about equal parts Cab Franc and Merlot, with a siable dose of Petit Verdot, and about 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Again, big black fruits, but a while the Petit Verdot has a much stronger up front blast, this was a mixture of blackberry with bright cherry, bright raspberry, and maybe a hint of red currant. These fruits came across on the palate as well, but they were rounded out by hints of mocha or esspresso? A hint of fall leaves. This is an elegant wine, that finishes delicate and beautiful. A real sophisticated red bordeaux-styled meritage. A really outstanding wine.