Friday, April 20, 2012

Virginia Wineworks and Michael Shaps Wines

Virginia Wineworks and Michael Shaps Wines are located in the former Montdomaine winery just 12 miles south of Charlottesville. Virginia Wineworks produces wines under both the Virginia Wineworks label & the Michael Shaps label. In addition, we are focused on increasing the popularity of custom winemaking.

Michael Schaps has been making wine in central Virginia since 1995. He previously worked with two highly regarded central Virginia wineries – Jefferson Vineyards, and King Family Vineyards. He currently works as a consultant to wineries in several states and has been involved in the startup of more than ten wineries.

He was the winner of the Virginia Governor’s Cup Wine Competition in 2004 and has been mentioned in numerous wine publications such as Saveur, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Advocate, Washingtonian, and The Washington Post.

Michael is also a partner in Maison Shaps & Roucher-Sarrazin in Meursault, France. Michael oversees all Virginia Wineworks operations and works with partner Philip Stafford on strategic planning for the winery. He holds a BPA (Brevet Professionnel Agricole) in Enology and Viticulture from Lycée Viticole de Beaune, France. In addition, he has a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Skidmore College.

Michael's partner is Philip Stafford. Philip worked in the vineyards in Bordeaux in 1978 and opened central Virginia’s first fine wine shop in 1979. In 1987 he founded USA Wine Imports, a wine import and distribution company based in New York City. He continues his ownership and management position there. Philip oversees all financial and compliance work, and works with Michael on strategic planning.

Laurent Saint Martin has been working as Co-Winemaker at Wineworks since 2009. He studied viticulture and enology at Bordeaux-Blanquefort in France, and works on bottling, vineyard management, as well as taking point on the many projects of harvest. Manu Galineau, from Loupiac, France, near Sauternes is a fifth generation winemaker, and his family has a farm and vineyard in France.

Together, they make a great team.

I have long been a fan of Michael Shaps. For ten years I have followed his wines and watched in wonder. Recently I tried two that were absolutely wonderful.

The latest release is from the fantastic 2009 vintage. Shaps' Viognier 2009 is crisp and dry, and always features brightness and balance. The wine was soaked overnight on the skins prior to pressing and fermentation. Shaps likes to create a Viognier that has aromatic intensity as well as texture and palate structure. Peach, apricot, and floral notes all come through as promised. On the palate citrus and anise come through, an the flavors have great length. Absolutely lovely.

Shaps Petit Verdot 2009 was another absolute find! Petite Verdor does very well in Virginia, an it's steadily becomeing a bigger, and bigger starin the Virginia wine firmament. For Shap this is a small lot production of a very dark aromatic red. Spice spice and floral notes come through on the nose as promised. This is a deep red-purple wine dark and lush. The wine spent eighteen months in French oak. This Petite Verdot is incredibly rich. Big bold, dark stewed fruits, blackberries, plum, prune, cassis. Low acidity, medium tannins, great quality and nice structure. Fantastic. Absolutely age worthy. Drink now and save a bottle or two...oh, for five to ten years! Fantastic! Enjoy!

Nice to see Michael Shaps Wines maturing an improving. Great stuff. A classy winery for a growing region.