August 27, 2008

Barboursville Chardonnay

When we first began traveling to Lynchburg from Northern Virginia we found a delightful little local wine shop near Keswick, Virginia. In Vino Veritas is a small wine shop situated between Charlottesville on one side and Keswick Vineyards and Winery on the other. The owners are delightful and very helpful for wine newbies (like me).

Barboursville Vineyards

Elinor, one of the owners of In Vino Veritas, has given me some great wine recommendations over the almost three years that we have been visiting her shop. But the one that stands far above the rest of the crowd was an amazing Cabernet Franc by Barboursville Vineyards.

Since I tried that outstanding native Virginia wine, I have been interested in visiting the Barboursville Vineyards. Yesterday, as I traveled home from Washington, D.C., I did just that. And I just have to encourage you to visit this amazing and beautiful place if you're traveling through the Charlottesville/Barboursville, Virginia, area. If you're a wine aficionado who is interested in Virginia wines, you absolutely must visit Barboursville. This is the winery that, 200 years later, fulfilled Thomas Jefferson's viticultural dreams.

Along with a few other wines that I tasted there at the vineyard, I tried the Barboursville 2006 Chardonnay. As with all the other wines from Barboursville, the standard 2006 Chardonnay is outstanding. Barboursville makes two Chardonnays—one aged in oak barrels (the Chardonnay Select) and the other cold fermented in stainless steel. I purchased a bottle of this second Chardonnay and it is absolutely fantastic!

The wine has a good tartness indicative of high acidity levels, typical of steel fermentation. It is crisp and refreshing with flavors of green apple and lemon. The Barboursville Palladio Restaurant chef recommends pairing this wine with gnocchi with sauteed shrimp and cherry tomatoes, carpaccio of swordfish with lime and olive oil, and cornish hen stuffed with chestnut and sage. I can't wait to visit the restaurant to try out one of these recommendations. I personally paired it with a Barboursville wine glass and it was quite good that way.

Baraboursville 2006 Chardonnay

The Barboursville Vineyards are located on a 900-acre plantation that was once the residence of Governor Barbour, a close personal friend of Thomas Jefferson. Many stories are circulated about of the friends who were recipients of vines given to them by Thomas Jefferson—a great lover of wine who desperately wanted to launch the wine industry in the New World. Sadly, none of the vines President Jefferson distributed ever turned into vineyards. They had not yet learned how to beat some of the diseases that attack vines in North America. So Jefferson's viticultural dream was not fulfilled during his lifetime. But in 1976, Gianni Zonin purchased an old estate that included the ruins of a house that Thomas Jefferson had designed for his friend Virginia Governor Barbour. The ruins of that house still stand on this magnificent campus.

I'll try to post a little bit more about this fantastic vineyard in Central Virginia as I have time. This is one that you simply must experience for yourself. Truly outstanding.

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