Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Tasting selected wines of Barboursville Vineyards (Barboursville, VA)

The white wines we tasted at during our visit to Barboursville Vineyards were brought to our table as a single flight, each wine identified by a marking on the base of the glass. Luca (Paschina, GM-Winemaker) arrived shortly after the wines did and we delved into an hour-long conversation. It was only at the end of that conversation that I had the chance to sample these wines briefly before we turned to the reds.

Luca and Frank and my (to this point untouched) white wines
The Pinot Grigio showed a nice brightness with no flab; the Sauvignon Blanc showed green bark, nice acidity, and great weight on the palate; the Chardonnay showed sweet fruit and tropical notes, and a disconnect between elements; the Vermentino was unfocused with salinity and salted sour cherry on the palate. But the star of the whites, I felt, was the Viognier.

In my previous post on Barboursville, I related the fact that the winery had switched from the traditional Northern Rhone production for this variety to:
  • Fermentation in stainless steel
  • Avoidance/suppression of malolactic fermentation
  • 9 - 12 months aging in stainless steel
  • Lees stirring in the SS tanks.
This approach has paid off "bigly." The Viognier Reserve 2015 has perfect weight on the palate (as opposed to the weightiness associated with traditional Viognier), perfect balance, and a rich, creamy mouthfeel and finish (the result of the lees-stirring).

Switching to reds, we tasted the 2015 and 2010 vintages of the Cabernet Franc. The 2015 showed red fruit and some green bean. On the palate, ripe, bright fruit, salinity, and a lengthy finish. The 2010 showed smoke, tar, green bean, and red fruit. Sweet red fruit, salinity, savoriness on the palate.

Of the 2014, 2011, and 2009 Nebbiolo Reserves, I preferred the '09. It showed olives and a bit of tar on both the nose and palate and with a bright acidity on the latter. I felt that this vintage also showed the best concentration of the three.

We tasted the 2012 (50% Petit Verdot, 50% Merlot), 2010 (60+% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the remainder Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) and 2004 (70+% Merlot) Octagons.

The 2012 showed coffee, berries, cedar, and baking spices on the nose. Medium-bodied on the palate with a medium-length finish. The 2010 was elegant. Berries, cassis, mocha, and baking spices on the nose. Medium-bodied with a long, creamy finish. The 2004 was phenomenal. Red fruit, tar, chocolate, and baking spices on the nose. Balanced with a lengthy finish.

Barboursville Vineyards produces an extensive portfolio of wines, with both current year and library wines available for purchase to visitors as well as on its website. The signature wines for me, though, are the Viognier and Octagon.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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