I made a second visit to Hark with some friends today. It is a stunningly lovely fall weekend in Charlottesville with temps in the 60s-70s, and for the wineries, it’s harvest time, so two friends and I grabbed sandwiches and headed up to Earlysville to enjoy the afternoon.
The drive out is lovely and brings back memories of my time at the University as we drive past Foxfield (site of a few tailgating experiences, none of which we should mention). This is Virginia wine country, narrow winding roads through the woods and small towns passing horse farms and the tiniest post office.
Hark is set back on a lovely piece of property. As we drove up, Jake Busching himself was pouring and talking a couple through a tasting – I was surprised, because it is harvest time, so I expected him to be among the vines – I will have to research and see if this was a special deal to have him walk you through the wines, he left soon after the couple finished their tasting and was later spotted with the telltale yellow bins. I didn’t get to snag some time talking with him about his wines, but I will… That’s what really separates Virginia wine from big Napa wineries – getting facetime with the winemaker to hear about their philosophy and process and what they want to emphasize and achieve.
The tasting featured seven wines from their current lineup:
- 2019 FUSE – this was a nice light white, mostly vidal blanc with a 7% splash of petit manseng to it. I found it very drinkable and nicely crisp, with a hint of apple to it. Despite the notes saying lightly sweet, I really didn’t pick that up, cause I am not much for sweet wine.
- 2020 Virginia Verde – I agreed with the tasting notes that it had lime and zing to it – but I didn’t get the effervescence. I wasn’t as crazy about the tartness in this one, but I’ve never cared for lime outside of a mojito.
- 2018 Chardonnay – lots of toastiness on this one. Despite not being the style of chardonnay I like, it wasn’t bad. I tend to prefer mine crisper and cleaner. It’s just a stylistic difference – I know some folks love their toast.
- 2020 Jake Busching Rosé – a friend there said – wow this smells like roses. It had a lot of floral nose and a nice fruit flavor. I see this as super enjoyable for a hot summer day, I could have done this all day at the picnic table.
- 2018 Spark — For a wine only 21% PV (53% Cab Franc and 26% Merlot) the PV really showed up in this wine, and I wonder if that is about the 2018 heavy rains that the other fruit showed mellow. Very dry and astringent, but you know I love that kind of depth to my red wine.
- 2019 Cab Franc – This is a nice example of cab franc – it has that lighter essence to it that cab franc always has, but also good fruit coming through. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
- 2018 Petit Verdot – I forgot I had my bottle of 2017 PV open on the counter from Friday night – despite the trials of 2018 on Va Wine, the PV from Hark is solid, typical dry punch of PV. Very nice.
Of course, we spent two wonderful hours soaking in this view. I recommend a visit here. The wine is great, and the views match. The property is stunning and peaceful and a great place to charge your batteries for whatever lays ahead in the coming week. I still have a tannat from Jake in the rack, so I didn’t take any home, this time (husband will be happy to read that).
I was here in July with husband and wine friend #1, and dang near joined the club to get a bottle of F8 out of Jake. It’s sold out now, and it appears I will be waiting some time for the next release. This is on the short list of wineries where I may join the club now that I’ve relocated. There is a significant backlog of VaWine in my inventory to drink through, but I can always make room for another club membership….