Walsh is doing the pickup parties right. Tasting, education and fun all wrapped in one.
We were lucky enough to score entry while my sister and her husband were here. We had already decided to spend an afternoon at Walsh (and sister had a secret mission to score some En Passant). Sarah greeted us and told us to jump in on the 1:00 club tasting so we did.
The tasting began with a really cool checking out of the 2019 Bethany Ridge Sauvignon Blanc, right out of the tank. It was cloudy and had a little bit of sweetness on top of the characteristic sauvignon blanc taste.
This was delicious, and I’m looking forward to the bottle of 2018 SB I still have left in my fridge. Maybe when it gets warmer tho….. Anyway, they have one of the best NoVa Sauvignon Blancs in my book, and 2019 will continue the streak. (And when I told Sarah that Chenin was my total fave she shared that they planted Chenin that will be producing and harvesting soon! Sqeual!).
The preview of an upcoming wine was a great touch. Well done, Walshes.
Then we moved on into our package wines. First up was the 2018 Walsh Chardonnay – their first chardonnay although it is from the North Gate Chardonnay vines. They’re currently pouring North Gate Chardonnay when you enter, and the comparison shows where Nate’s winemaking style impacts the grapes – I found the North Gate a little stuffier and feeling like it aimed at classic grocery store chardonnay, whereas the Walsh version was cleaner and crisper, more along the lines of a Virginia chardonnay. It was nice, and I kept this one in the package.
Next up the 2018 Petit Manseng. This rocks. It has that characteristic Petit Manseng that hints at sweet but is really crisp and acidic. They kept it in the dry style, but will eventually produce some dessert-style (see my interview with Nate for more on where they are heading).
The final wine was the 2018 Loudoun County Cuveé. This was a much lighter red blend, made with the 2018 red grapes that didn’t really work to make a single varietal. This blend is primarily Russ Mountain Merlot, and you can taste the difference in the merlot from this vintage that was so diluted by rain. They made lemonade (grape-aid?) from a rough growing year with a wine that is a pleasant evening table wine – light and enjoyable.
Nate did give us a preview that the other 2018 red project will be about a tannat/petit verdot blend, as those grapes tended to do better in the really wet year and can still make a bolder red. He told us he is excited about how it’s developing, and I’m hopeful we will be able to taste it soon! Who knows, maybe the next package pickup will offer a preview of that?
Probably my favorite thing about the tastings in the cellar is that you get to explore what’s in barrel waiting, and I got to hear from Nate about a few little projects – mostly around barreling wine from different blocks and aging separately before blending back together later, just to see how even specific blocks within a vineyard may produce a different type of wine. I feel like I’m spying and picking up secrets when I scope out the barrels and boxes in the cellar.
I did take the opportunity (finally) to upgrade my membership. It was time – as much as I’m buying there, I really should take advantage of a higher discount level, and stock up on all the great stuff. Thus I have two petit manseng here, and I took two merlots home.
If you’re a member, get in there now and stock up. If you’re not, why on earth not?