Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Cooper Vineyards Petite Verdot 2009 (VA)

OK, so I’ve spent a lot of time in Virginia lately. Here’s another tremendous wine I picked up. Found it in a store, but I was so intrigued after drinking it that I started reading all about it… and liked what I read.

Located midway between Richmond and Charlottesville in Louisa County, Cooper Vineyards is nestled amongst rolling hills in a traditional farming community. The goal of the winery founders and current owners, Jeff Cooper and Jacque Hogge, was to create small lots of unique wines that expressed varietal character and would be recognized as quality wines. Both owners are doctors.

Jacquelyn (Jacque) P. Hogge, MD received her MD from the University of Virginia in 1990. She is currently Director of Breast Imaging for CJW Medical Center and partner Radiology Associates of Richmond. "Top Doc" in Breast Imaging 2010. Passed first level of Sommeliers Exam administered by the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2006.
Geoffrey (Jeff) G. Cooper, MD, FACS is a native of Washington, DC, Jeff grew up in Bethesda, received his MD from Tulane University School of Medicine 1981. Jeff has been in private practice in Ophthalmology in Richmond, Virginia since 1987. "Top Doc" in Ophthalmology 2010, 2011. He is on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons, Stony Point Surgery Center, and is Section Chief in Ophthalmology at St. Mary's Hospital.

Cooper Vineyards was licensed as the 53rd Virginia Farm Winery in July of 1999. The first vineyard block of 2 acres was planted with Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc and Norton in the spring of 1999. The original farm covered 36 acres, but over the years have increased to 150 acres. Ten different varietals are planted.

Michael Boone ("Boone") is the vineyard manager. He originally moved to Charlottesville in 1974. In 1986, Boone was hired by Oakencroft Winery, one of Virginia's very first wineries. For 22 years at Oakencroft, Boone learned all aspects of viticulture and vineyard management as well as the wine business as a whole. In 2008, the proprietor of Oakencroft Winery retired and closed the winery.
After a brief job search, Boone was hired as Vineyard Manager by Cooper Vineyards in the spring of 2008. “Boone” tends to 15 acres arranged in 4 blocks, which include additional Norton, Vidal Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonel, Viognier and Petit Verdot.

The doctors bottled 250 cases in 1999. Cooper Vineyards now bottles approximately 6000 cases per year.

Graham Bell has been winemaker for Cooper Vineyards since 2002. A native of Swarthmore, PA, Graham spent time in California before moving to his family's Fluvanna farm in the 1980s. Graham's winemaking experience includes such prestigious wineries as Montdomaine and Horton Cellars. In 1991, he was full time assistant winemaker at Montdomaine, in 1996 winemaker at Horton, 2001 winemaker at Lake Anna Winery.

In April 2011, Cooper Vineyards was proud to announce the grand opening of its new "green" tasting room and event facility with an official ribbon cutting assisted by First Lady of Virginia, Maureen McDonnell. According to Virginia Wine Guide, “As we’ve reported, Cooper Vineyards, in Louisa, VA, recently received Platinum LEED Certification. According to Virginiawine.org, they are the first winery on the East Coast and the second in the United States to receive this accreditation.”
So that leads me to my wine. The other night Dominique made pasta with fresh tomatos, onions, garlic, grilled sausage, and peas. It was fantastic. And we needed a wine to go with it.

Enter Petite Verdot. Petite Verdot is one of my favorite grapes. It’s big and jammy, and is a great blending wine. But I tend to like it as a varietal. And in Virginia they are growing a lot of it, and those plantings are increasing. There are some in Virginia that would like to see it become the dominant red varietal. I happen to think meritages are the way to go. I think Virginia should be embracing them.

The Cooper Vineyards Petite Verdot 2009 was something special. As with most Petite Verdot it was an inky purple-ish red. A nice deep color. The bowl of the glass overflowed with a big nose of blackberry, other dark stewed berries, a hint of cassis, and had passing whiffs of vanilla. On the palate, the wine was even more impressive with black berry, dark raspberry, and the cassis coming through. Very jammy. Nice mouthfeel, with low acidity and low tannins. An easy, smooth wine. The Petit Verdot 2009 was a Silver medal winner at the 2011 Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition.

An impressive wine! Congrats to Jeffrey, Jacque, Boone, Graham, and everyone at team Cooper Vineyards.