Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vint Hill Chambourone is a Winner! (VA)

Vint Hill Craft Winery announced a new medal awarded to one of their wines. They participated in the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in March and came home with a Silver Medal for their Chambourone. It also took home a Bronze at the Town Point Virginia Wine Competition, which took place in Norfolk, Va

Vint Hill, you will recall, is the make-your-own winery, that also makes wine. It is a state-of-the-art facility, using “green” technologies and materials wherever possible and created as an example of sustainable design. The building is a restored circa 1900 dairy barn, located on the former Army base, Vint Hill Farm Station. In its past, the building was used as a secret listening post by the government.

In 1943, according to an Army history of the post, a soldier working in the barn (that is now the winery) copied decoded radio messages from the Japanese ambassador to Berlin to his superiors in Tokyo that gave a detailed description of the German Atlantic Wall defenses at Normandy and Calais. Because the Japanese diplomatic code had been broken, the intercept provided Allied planners with details needed to overcome German defenses. Over the years, the Army suspended miles of antenna wire from poles in the fields at the base. The antenna arrays, which eventually spread over 450 acres, could be tuned to collect high frequency radio messages being transmitted to and from embassies in Washington.

Today, Vint Hill is one of a Washington DC region’s premier mixed use office parks. Over 60 businesses and organizations and 1,000+ employees enjoy Vint Hill’s diverse living and working environment, enriched with over 170 acres of parks and open space. So, Vint Hill Winery is easy to find.

The Executive winemaker is Chris Pearamund, whom I have written about at The Winery at La Grange and Paradise Springs Winery, as well as the Chris Pearamund Cellars. I caught up with Chris at the grand tasting at Tamp Camp East 2012 at Boxwood, in Virginia. he was wearing his winemakers jacket, and we shared a good laugh. He's a great guy, and a major success in Virginia wine, and eastcoast wine.

The winemaker at Vint HIll is D.J. Leffin. DJ has moved up in the world of fermentation. With humble starts in beer production, he moved to winemaking first at Pearmund Cellars under the watchful eye of Chris Pearmund and is now the full time enologist and partner at Vint Hill Craft Winery. His days as a school teacher and his completion of a program in viticulture and enology from U.C. Davis make him a great asset for the teaching and learning environment of Vint Hill Craft Winery.

So, this is all very nice, but what the hell is Chambourone? Isn't that what you're asking right about now? This wine is made from 100% Virginia grown Chambourcin grapes. But it is made in the same style as the Italian wine, Amarone. Before the grapes are crushed, they are harvested, and set on drying racks, where the grapes begin to raisin. Losing water, and increasing in flavor, and concentrating the sugar, the wine is a much more intense elixir when pressed and vinted.

This is a big intense wine with prune, plum, and cassis all at the forefront, with even a hint of lackvar to it. Dark cherry and a whiff of vanilla. This has big fruit up front, with low acid, and a medium tannin. A nice, delicious wine, meant for charred steak and veal osso bucco. I've had a lot of Chambourcins, buit nothing like this one. The judges got it right - this wine is a winner! Congrats to DJ and Chris!