Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Keswick Vineyards Virginia Viongier and Cabernet Franc

Last year I went to Virginia, and tried some incredible wines. Here’s another one of the visits I made.

Keswick Vineyards is located at the historic 400-acre Edgewood Estate in Keswick, Virginia. The land was part of the original 1727 Nicholas Meriwether Crown Grant that comprised nearly 18,000 acres on the east side of the Southwest Mountains. George Barclay Rives, a direct descendent of the original grantee, built the current residence in 1911. He served in the U.S. embassies in Germany, Austria and Brazil, negotiated exchanges of prisoners of war during World War I, and was decorated by the French, English and German governments.

After six years of searching the country, Al and Cindy Schornberg finally settled on the Edgewood Estate in Keswick, Virginia as their new residence. “Since we didn’t move because of a job relocation, the entire country was open to us,” says Cindy. In moving from Holly, Michigan, the Schornbergs sought a desirable place to raise their children and a milder climate, particularly one that was well suited to grape growing.

When Al Schornberg moved to Virginia, he left behind the hi-tech corporate world he created in Michigan and traded it for the lifestyle he had dreamed of since childhood – as a vineyard owner. Upon purchasing the estate vineyard, the Schornbergs decided to dedicate themselves to producing the best wines in Virginia. The Schornbergs spared no expense in installing top-quality winery equipment, irrigation and root wells.

Making your way through the gates to Keswick is an intriguing entry into a beautiful Virginia country estate. One is reminded of fox hunting pictures, and folks on horseback.

It was a quiet autumn morning, with the sun shining, and the degrees climbing quickly from the dewy meadows and fields to a warm, crisp, clear autumnal day. The outside fo the tastingroom featured a porch with beautiful, comfortable looking outdoor furniture for lounging.

Once inside the tastingroom, there was much to see and taste. The room and tasting bar were handsomely appointed, and the staff was very friendly.

I walked away with two real favorites among many.

Among the first wines that I tasted was the 2009 Viognier. The wine was incredibly memorable because of its wildly fruity nose. The nose on this wine burst forth with such gorgeous smells as apricot, pineapple, green apple, bright pear…and a whiff of kiwi or star fruit maybe? There was also just the slightest whiff of sweet vanilla. The wine was made and matured with a combination of stainless steel and French Oak. The wine itself brought forth nig fruit flavors up front, but with wonderful acidity, a slight tannins, it balanced out beautifully with a clean, crisp, bright, dry finish. It was remarkable. Of course, you don’t have to believe me. Wine Spectator awarded this wine a score of 88, the wine has won medals at several competitions.

The 2009 Cabernet Franc is 100% Virginia Cabernet Franc. This wine had won a Gold Medal at the 2011 Virginia Governor's Cup competition, among is several other medals. The wine was a dark garnet color. It had aged 10 months in American oak barrels. There was cherry and raspberry, but the wine also exhibited, as promised, aromas of cracked black pepper and spices. The alcohol level was 13.9%, so it was a big wine. The fruit lasted a good long time in the mouth, with nice acidity and medium tannins, making the mouthfeel really lovely. This is a quality red wine, showing great elegance and flavor.

I also tasted a very nice Chardonnay and a lovely Touriga. I walked away with more than a few bottles. A greta visit. A beautiful estate. A lot of fun. Wonderful wines!