Friday, April 05, 2019

Kirsty Harmon Scores Big With Blenheim Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2017 (VA)

I am a big fan of Blenheim Vineyards. So, when I was at the Eastern Winery Exposition 2019 in Syracuse, it was easy for me to be thrilled when I saw it was there to be poured!

In 1999, singer/artist Dave Matthews purchased more than ten acres of land in Albemarle County, Virginia, known as Blenheim Farm, to preserve its historical significance. He later decided to plant grapes on the property, since it is located within both the Virginia and Monticello viticultural areas. Blenheim Vineyards was founded in 2000, and currently produces 5,500 cases of wine per year, including their signature Petit Verdot and several special edition wines which have featured unique labels with drawings by Matthews himself.

More than anything, the wines are terrific. And it's always a big thrill to get my hands on a bottle. So I was thrilled when I was able to taste the wine. 

The wines are made by winemaker and general manager Kirsty Harmon.Born in the Netherlands, Kirsty has spent a majority of her life in Charlottesville. According to her biography, "After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1998 with a degree in biology, Kirsty developed an appreciation for wine through a job that allowed her to apprentice with famed Virginia winemaker Gabriele Rausse.

After making wine for several years in Virginia, Kirsty moved west to pursue formal training at the University of California at Davis, where she graduated with an M.S. in Viticulture and Enology in 2007. After graduation, Kirsty spent six months at Domaine Faiveley in Nuits St. Georges, France as a recipient of the 2007 Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin Scholarship. In Spring 2008, she worked as a harvest intern at Craggy Range Winery in New Zealand as a recipient of the Dough Wisor Memorial Scholarship. Kirsty officially joined Blenheim Vineyards as winemaker in June of 2008."

So when the chance to taste the current release of Blenheim Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2017 came, I throttled that bottle. This wine was made and then aged 100% in French, American and Hungarian oak for 9 months. On the nose and on the palate the ripe dark cherry gave way to plum, which slowly morphed into tobacco, and then passed the vanilla of the toasted oak, finishing with cracked pepper...and a long sudden draw of the cherry again to finish. Lovely. Absolutely lovely. 

Congrats to Kristy and the gang at Blenheim!