Vintage Virginia Wine Festival
May 31-June 1, 2014
Bull Run Park
Despite having begun to taste the Virginia wine landscape with my book club, the Vintage Virginia Wine Festival was the first proper wine festival I’ve ever attended. It was a lot of fun and it makes me look forward to next year’s.
My fiance dropped my friend and I at the gates a little after 11 am. Already, the longest lines were for those who had already purchased their tickets. The line to buy them at the gate was almost nonexistent. With all our coolers and lawn chairs, we were grateful that line did move at a fair pace.
One of my friends is a particularly large fan of this festival and had already set up a 10×10 tent on the hill overlooking the stage and near the gate. This served as a fantastic home base for our group, allowing us to hide from the sun and eat the very large spread of dips, breads, cheeses, fruits, and chocolates. We made it our goal to only stand in line for wine, not for water or food. It’s safe to say that there was still a lot of leftover food despite being there the whole day!
After covering ourselves with sunscreen, we headed out for our first tastings. Chateau Morrisette was our first stop. I have been to quite a few Virginia wine tastings now and I know that it’s a good place if I like about 50-60% of the wine. I typically enjoy dryer wines and can be a little picky. I was so happy with Chateau Morrisette. I think that winery received the vast majority of the purchases between my friend, myself, and my fiance. I bought a bottle of the Cabernet Sauvignon and a bottle of the Blackberry Wine.
The Blackberry Wine was by far the most popular wine of the afternoon, with several open bottles being purchased for the group and closed ones for later. It was sweet without being overwhelming sweet, and perfect for enjoying outdoors. We were told about the various ways the Blackberry Wine can be used in cooking, including BBQ, brownies, and pies.
I bought a glass of their Sweet Mountain Laurel, made from Niagara grapes, the same grape typically used in white grape juice. I could definitely taste that similarity, and yet I really enjoyed it. It was again sweet without being too sweet. I’ve had other Niagara grape wines and they ended up making me pucker up. The Sweet Mountain Laurel was again great to drink underneath a sun hat on a field.
Next we visited the Oak Crest tent. There, my friend really enjoyed their Hot Jazz wine, made with Symphony grapes and a bit of jalepeno. You could definitely taste the jalepeno! My friend enjoys spicy food and bought a bottle of Hot Jazz for her father.
We later paid a visit to the Rosemont tent, where I was again very impressed with their wines. The person pouring was fantastic and answered all my questions. I was particularly interested in trying to find a strong red that would impress any wine snob as a gift for someone. He showed me the 2011 Kilravock, which won silver at the 2014 Virginia Governor’s Cup. Oh my! It was a fantastic wine and definitely worth the higher price point.
By this point, my friend and I were getting a little weary of tasting. I didn’t want to attend too many more tastings in fear of the tastes beginning to blend. We each bought a glass of the Williamsburg Winery 2010 Adagio, winner of the Virginia Governor’s Cup for 2014. We skipped out on the lines for the tasting and took our chances with just purchasing the winner. I’m sure there are a lot of people who would really enjoy it, but it wasn’t really for my taste. Additionally, later that evening we tasted Barboursville’s 2010 Octagon, one that also had a very impressive reputation. It, again, wasn’t quite for my taste.
As an amateur in the world of wine, I’m sure someone could more easily figure out my taste from simple up or down vote. I look forward to attending again next year, either as a patron or as a volunteer. There are some attractive perks with being a volunteer at a winery’s tent. We couldn’t have asked for better weather and everyone was very friendly. I didn’t experience any outrageous lines and the tastings, while sped up, weren’t too fast. I highly recommend this festival to others, particularly if you can set up a home base to relax between tastings.