Trump That! Blanc de Blanc and More from Virginia:
The current American presidential race has created a schism. My understanding is that Terry McAuliffe, Governor of the State of Virginia and Donald Trump are not exactly great fans of each other, so I suspect with some irony, the opening wine at a recent Virginia Wine Dinner was a Blanc de Blanc 2009 sparkling wine from the Trump winery in Virginia. I could find nothing to fault with this light, herbal méthode champenoise wine, though you might describe it as subtle and unremarkable – terms that could never be used for Trump himself. The winery was acquired by Trump and rebuilt, it’s now the largest wine estate in Virginia, which is now the fifth largest producing US State.
As part of our introduction to Virginia wines we tried three more whites before sitting down to dinner in one of the private rooms at Duke St James’s
Barboursville Viognier 2013 was a lightly acidic mouthful – I’d have enjoyed a few more canapes with this one. It’s 100% viognier, not a grape I know well, and retails at £20 in the UK. By comparison, the Veritas Viognier was a little more floral and at 13.9% higher in alcohol.
My favourite of the trio was the Boxwood Topiary 2014, a drink that made a pleasant alternative to the Trump Blanc de Blanc as an aperitif. It retails at £28 in the UK.
Our salmon starter was accompanied by a white Chardonnay from Barboursville which was crisp, aromatic and made without oaking or malolactic fermentation. For my money though, the Boxwood rose, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot was a better option, with just a little more structure to match the rich beetroot cured salmon dish with crab, lobster and avocado.
We were offered three options to pair with the classic lamb rump main. Barboursville Octagon 2014, Boxwood Topiary 2010 and Veritas Petit Verdot 2010. I enjoyed each of the wines, though I blinked a bit at the £45 price tag on the Barboursville Octagon. It was lovely but for me lacked the complexity of the kind of French wines you might buy at that retail price point. I did however particularly enjoy the 2010 Veritas Petit Verdot, which was unusual, made with 100% Petit Verdot and with a velvety, smooth earthy mouth.
Dessert was paired with another Veritas wine, the sweet Petit Manseng 2013. There was just the right amount of acidity to balance the creme brulee well.
I can’t think of a better introduction to the Wines of Virginia than in the very enthusiastic hands of Terry McAuliffe, with the support of some of the winemakers themselves. For those who are interested in trying some for themselves, both New Horizon Wines and Zonin1821 distribute throughout the UK. Or, wine and gastronomy tourism is well established in Virginia, if you prefer to learn about the wines in-situ.
With many thanks to Virginia Wines for a splendid evening of food and wine.
Boxwood Winery – www.boxwoodwinery.com
Barboursville Vineyards – vwww.bbvwine.com
Veritas Vineyard – www.veritaswines.com
Trump Winery – www.trumpwinery.com