Monday, January 27, 2020

Excellence: Barboursville Impresses Once Again (VA)

I was recently at a tasting in New York City, of  the New York Wine Media Guild of Virginia wines where several producers shown through. Chief among them were winemaker Luca Paschina's three wines from Barboursville. 

The Barboursville Vermentino Reserve 2017 was easily the best white in the bunch...and impressive statement, believe me. Vermentino is normally grown in Liguria, Corsica and Sardinia. This how ever is an estate wine grown in the Piedmont region of Virginia. This Vermentino is a stainless steel monster, where the wine lay on the lees for 7 or 8 months, which gave it a wonderful nose and big mouth feel. Aromatic, with incredible tropical fruit notes, the wine started like fresh fruit, but finished dry and beautiful. And incredible experience. It wowed almost everyone in the room. 

Next up was the Barboursville Cabernet Franc Reserve 2017. Barboursville's relationship with Cabernet Franc in Virginia in 1976, when they were the first to plant the varietal in the state. From 1976 to 1991 is was blended with Cabernet Sauvignon. However, the 1992 was a seminal vintage and Barboursville started bottling individual lots of Cabernet Franc. 

 In 1994, 2000, and 2010 Barboursville improved and increased their plantings of the grape, adding numerous clones. This project was overseen by Barboursville's viticulturist Fernando Franco and  Professor of Oenology Denis Dubourdieu. The wines have been winning raves reviews since the mid-1990s. The 2017 was a big, full Cabernet Franc, featuring big ripe cherry, deep dark raspberry and a lovely red cassis. A terrific wine layered with flavors. Beautifully balanced.  

The most impressive wine of the entire tasting was the Barboursville Octagon 2010. Just to be clear, this was a library wine. The current vintage available at the winery is the 2015. However, the 2010 Octogon was drinking beautifully. When originally released it scored 91 in both Wine Spectator and  Wine Enthusiast. Octagon is the poster child for the art of blending estate-grown Bordeaux varietals, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. If there were a category of First Growth wines for the east coast, Octagon would be one of the top five.

This wine was a big, deep dark dive into a stew of dark berries, dark cherries, blueberries, dark raspberries, and black currants. Layers of mocha and cedar and vanilla, end with a smooth finish. A wine of many layers and great complexity, truly balanced, it was an immense pleasure to drink.

Hats off the the folks at Barboursville once again.