Exploring Richmond – Episode 3

As we continue our intentional exploration of our new home I will, from time to time, offer these special posts.

We haven’t really had a good exploring adventure for a while.  There’s this whole “real life” thing that insists on getting in the way.  The recent weeks posts about beer got me thinking about a little bit of wine exploration we’ve done as well.

(Yes, this makes four posts essentially in a row about alcohol.  No, you do not need to do an intervention)

I’ve noted before that we got the chance to check out a really cool car show at a nearby winery.  If you have somehow missed that, the photos are HERE.

I want to focus on the New Kent Winery a little more here.  The winery is less than a decade old and set in an area showing some serious “lifestyle” growth.  That means beautiful housing areas, a Rees-Jones designed golf course and more.  They have a wonderful area out front where they can do big events, like the car show, grape vines surrounding the area and a gorgeous building.

The inside is just as impressive.  We slid up to the tasting bar and were greeted by a pourer (?, not bartender.  There has to be a technical term for what these folks do.  The good ones I mean, the ones who know what they’re talking about), a representative of the winery who hit on all cylinders (car reference, see what I did there?).  Did not catch his name but he could talk knowledgeably about the wines.  Love it when that happens.

White Norton – this is an indigenous to Virginia grape that has started to see more usage.  They did this one as a rosé and it was truly impressive.  A more unique flavor with some complexity to it.  Was our favorite.

2011 Chardonnay – I’m always very honest with the winery folk when they go to pour a Chardonnay for me.  I ask about the level of “oakiness”.  Traditionally, Chardonnays have a sharp oak bite that I find quite unpleasant.  So for years I simply avoided them.  Then I discovered “unoaked” varieties (usually done in steel tanks rather than oak barrels) and “lightly oaked” (where they use a variety of techniques of bringing just a touch of that oakiness.  At New Kent they blend a little traditional oaked wines with the main batch (done in “neutral tanks”).  The result is one of the most impressive Chardonnays I’ve ever had.  Smooth, wonderful flavors and just a touch of that bite to it.  (I actually might have liked this a tiny bit better than the Norton, but I was out-voted)

White Merlot – done with the Merlot grape but without the skins remaining in contact with the wine for long resulting in a lovely pale wine with the flavors of Merlot.

Meritage – a blend of red varieties in the Bordeaux style.  We have really liked the Meritages we’ve tried but this one was fine but not outstanding.  Would gladly open one with friends.

2013 Vidal Blanc – finished in a very close finish with the Meritage.  A fruity white that was fine but didn’t make us want to go back again.

The top two were clear of the rest of the field, the Merlot held the middle ground and the other two finished rather farther back.

There were a couple other wineries at the event:

Williamsburg Winery – We really like 2013 Vidal Blanc.  Crisp with some fruit and citrus flavors.  Not far behind was the A Midsummer Nights White, a blend of Traminette, Vidal Blanc, Petit Manseng and Viognier.  We’ve run into the Viognier graper here before.  There are a couple varietals that are new to us that seem relatively common in Virginia wines.  A very pleasant “porch” wine.  We were not impressed with the 2012 Lord Botetourt Red.  We have a couple Williamsburg wines we really like but the staff at the tent here was less than impressive.  Really seemed to be “Let’s push this through as fast as possible mode”.

Saudé Creek – a bit of a crush here.  Several of the wines seemed interesting but couldn’t really give them a fair taste.  We’ll have to catch them again.  Staff did a fine job with the madness.

James River Cellars – we’ve tried them before (and visited the winery! Although it appears I didn’t blog about it.  Will have to go back to remedy that).  Staff did a nice job, it wasn’t too insane but nothing jumped out at me on this visit.  It was interesting, they offered their 2012 Chambourcin both chilled and at room temperature.  Very different, I preferred it at room temp.

Still so much more to explore!

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