Virginia Wine has announced the Governor’s Case and Cup winners for 2019. This is a tremendous honor intended to promote the best wines in Virginia to wine lovers around the world. Ideally, the case should promote the variety of wines available across the state and be as diverse as the wineries in Virginia. I’m kind of shocked by the results. What do I know, right? I am John Snow and I know nothing. But I like wine, and Husband will let you know there is a lot of it in our house.
So I followed the Governors’ Case this year with interest now that I’m seeing more wineries and tasting more wine. Contests are always fun but I already let you know my thoughts about points and ratings systems. This is not much different.
Now that Virginia has almost 300 wineries, how do we end up with a Governor’s Case in which 5 of the 12 bottles are from one winery/winemaker? A friend says this specific winemaker’s wine is really good— ok, I’m willing to believe that. But five slots in a case that represents the best of Virginia? There is a lot of diversity in our wine here, why are we providing such a narrow picture of it?
I admit to my uneducated palette. I admit to having no training in what I’m talking about. I’ve never taken a course in marketing, and I don’t play someone who has on TV. But this seems like a bad idea.
So…… here it goes. From the uneducated, uninitiated, wanna-be winery employee…. the case I would award if I were promoting Northern Virginia Wine… (as a rule, The NoVa Wine Blog team limited the selection to no more than 2 bottles per winery, in order to remain diverse). These are 12 all-Virginia wines that knocked my socks off in the past 12 months, and I enjoyed each one tremendously.
Arterra – 2017 Chenin Blanc
Arterra – 2016 Malbec
Greenhill – 2017 Syrah Rose
Greenhill – 2017 Chardonnay Reserve
Casanel – 2015 Carmenere
Two Twisted Posts – 2015 Thomas Great
Linden – 2017 Avenius Sauvignon Blanc
Linden – 2015 Claret
Chester Gap – 2014 Reserve Viognier
Early Mountain – 2014 Etlan
Early Mountain – 2015 Novum
Slater Run Vineyards – 2014 Roots
And the No Va Wine Blog cup goes to…… all of the above. I really like all of them, and I’ve bought at least one and in most cases multiple bottles of each.
So take these as my recommendations for the best wines of the past 12 months that I have personally tasted and evaluated against the criteria of what felt good at the time (and again later when I brought it home and enjoyed it), and maybe try a few out (though some are sold out and we won’t see them for a while until the next vintage releases or there is an amazing library tasting or special event).
Seriously, I think there are probably good wines in that Governor’s Case and among the big medal winners. I haven’t had any of the bottles from the case, though there is Eluvium on my wine rack now, and will be more shortly. I’m betting you could put together your own case too, that represents the diversity of Virginia as you see and love it. If so, comment on what those wines are below, because I’d love to try them out!