Discovering Italy In Virginia Vines

I finally made my way into Virginia wine country. This is Barboursville. I’ll admit that much of its history was lost on me. After a two-hour drive from Washington through rolling country side, I was relaxed, ready to stretch my legs and try some wine. The grounds are gorgeous. This view is just from the parking lot, but they have 900 acres to roam through. And on a non-humid barely 80-degree day in the middle of August, there’s nothing to complain about.

Barboursville makes a lot of wines! I failed to count, but I’m guessing we tried at least 12. What stood out were the Italian varietals, which are their specialty. After all, the modern winery that’s there now was born from an Italian winemaker. The Sangiovese makes for a nice table wine – juicy and not too overbearing. Medium bodied and well balanced. The Nebbiolo was dark and intense, with meatiness, earthiness and complexity. And while neither put me over the edge to purchase, I did later have a glass of the Nebbiolo during our stop at Early Mountain (which features many other Virginia wines besides their own).

I brought home a single bottle of the Barboursville 2010 Octagon, a Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Merlot blend with one of the longest finishes I can remember. Funny – because after enjoying the Italian varietals, I chose the one wine I generally avoid (Cabernet and Cabernet blends are often at the bottom of my tasting lists – but that’s a posting for another time).


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