09 April 2014

Stinson Vineyards of Virginia

Years ago, I was surprised to taste a wine with an Italian name that was from the Galilee region. At the time I thought it was somewhere in California, settled by particularly religious settlers from Sicily. Nope, it was an Israeli wine from the original Galilee.

Someone could have a similar reaction to pulling out a bottle that says Monticello. Italian? No. From somewhere in the New World settled heavily by Italians, like California or Argentina? No. This one bears its name from the home of Thomas Jefferson in Charlottesville, Virginia. I've visited a lot of presidential homes and libraries, particularly during the year I worked in Ohio. I even passed up an off-hours dinner with co-workers to zip west to check out the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont.

Stinson Vineyards is located near Jefferson's estate and continues on the tradition of growing Vitis vinifera grapes in the Old Dominion since the 18th century.

If you're interested in Virginia wines, bloggers from that state tend to be highly engaged in their local wines, and a list of them can be found at my Winebloggers In The South sister site.

2012 Stinson Rosé
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
100% Mourvèdre
$17, 13% abv.

The wine pours with bright acidity, mostly expressed in overripe strawberry elements and a slightly ashy finish. I actually tried this last year but got an off bottle. This one was enjoyable and presented in the French profile, and made for a delicious pairing with a croque madame.

2012 Stinson Cabernet Franc
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
80% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot
$23, 12.8% abv.

Light plum aromas with a touch of spice, followed by firm dark fruit flavors from the tiny grapes. The tannins are fairly mild and there's a long dark fruit finish. Cab Franc and Petit Verdot are two of my favorites, and while this doesn't taste Bordelais, it doesn't taste Californian either. Excellent example if you want to explore the influence of Virginia terroir on French grapes.

Note: These wines were provided as samples for review.

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