It was almost ironic, for TasteCamp participants who had also visited Virginia for the Wine Bloggers Conference, last year. The weather for the first tasting of this three-day tour of North Virginia wine country was reminiscent of the much-discussed heat of last July, with temperatures reaching into the 90s.
90 degrees is better than 100, however, and tastings were certainly enjoyable, starting with a very fresh rosé from Bordeaux varieties that Boxwood served on arrival. Crisp, balanced, fresh, with nice notes of red fruit, it is also very reasonably priced at 14$ a bottle. In fact, reasonable prices are the norm at Boxwood, with a second label red called Trellis (a very floral, substantial and joyous blend of malbec and merlot, mainly) at 18$, and the solid, classic main Bordeaux blends, Boxwood and Topiary, both selling for 25$. The winery announced yesterday that it would now be open to visitors (previously, it was by appointment only), and it is certainly is a place worth visiting, if only to get a peek at the elegant, circular barrel room.
The grand tasting, with eight Virginia wineries attending, showed a lot of good wine, whether Bordeaux blends, viogniers, chardonnays and others. Lots of well-balanced wines, some that showed a good aging capacity (2005 cabernet franc from Barboursville, for instance). As well, it was interesting to note just how different vintages can be: a cool 2009, a cool and sunny 2010 that produced reds at over 15% alcohol, and 2011 where winemakers were chasing maturity like crazy, despite the heat spikes of July.
There is much more to say, of course, but it is almost 8 am and the bus will be leaving for vineyard walks and all the other nice things in the TasteCamp agenda. See you later!