Wednesday, February 22, 2012

NoCal vs. Virginy

Tasting two young cabernets with friends recently, one wine from Napa Valley and the other from Virginia, was both fun and instructive. Primarily we realized – again - that American wines produced outside sunny, temperate California will have trouble matching the marvelous, up-front fruit, but also that the stretch of Virginia piedmont between Middleburg and Charlottesville has come into its own ( and is now producing some really fine wine that has more in common with the Medoc than Napa. The ’07 Volker Eisele Estate from Chiles Valley, in the mountains east of the Napa River, is one of the best deals around for medium-priced, top-notch, classically structured cab. The other wine, the ‘08 RdV – for Rutger de Vink, the vintner – from the environs of the hamlet Delaplane, in Virginia's Fauquier County, also had good structure and was more deeply hued, with remarkable body. But the Eisele, lighter in color, brighter on the palate, was more inviting at the outset than the RdV, whose characteristic black cherry quality was masked. This was my fault, not the wine’s, which had ridden around in the back seat of my car all day, and I had failed to let it rest before opening and hadn’t decanted it. However, the longer the RdV stayed in the glass, the better it got, showing that it had more in common with the wines of Bordeaux than those of NoCal. Finally both wines, though not at all the same, showed the power and grace of fine cabernet that suited the venison we ate with them but would have gone down smoothly - and has on other occasions - with most anything from grilled vegetables to dark chocolate.

1 comment: