The Virginia Grape Archives - Please The Palate
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This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register. The famous Blue Ridge Mountains have been written about in songs. These mountains are the first major eastern line of the Appalachian Mountains, running from north to south though Virginia. Along the east side of the Blue Ridge in central Virginia are the historic homes of Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and James Madison Monticello. And Monticello, named after Jefferson’s famed estate, is one of the seven established AVA’s in Virginia.
Lined along the eastern side of the of the mountains is home to a large percentage of the wineries in Virginia, which is more than 200. As winery owner David Pollak best explained, with a mix of humor and seriousness, “It is no more challenging than anywhere else to make wine here, except that we have frost, humidity and hurricanes.”
But with high elevations, sloped vineyards and good wind flow, if the winter is not too treacherous, this is as good area to make wine as anywhere else. And my host, Brian Yost of The Virginia Grape, a resource to all things Virginia wine, took me out to show me this.
Viognier, the white grape that originated in the south of France, was named Virginia's official state grape in 2011. Perhaps it was because both start with the letter "v". Regardless, there is a lot of the highly aromatic viognier grown in Virginia. This week I traveled to the east coast for a few events. I arrived a few days early so that I could head to Charlottesville, Virginia to stay with friends and explore the wines of the Monticello region. From the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the Shenandoah Valley, my guide, The Virginia Grape, demonstrated the diversity and the quality of the wines in the area. I tasted some delicious sparkling wines, white wines (viognier, albarino, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris) and red wines (cabernet franc, petit verdot, cabernet sauvignon) but the wine that stood out this week and pleased my palate was..... Pollak Vineyards 2015 Viognier, Monticello, Virginia
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