I STILL REMEMBER THE TIME I
ducked behind a wine-tasting tent at the Boar’s Head Inn
in Charlottesville to spit out a vintage that was utterly
unpalatable. It happened nearly 30 years ago, but the bad
taste so soured my impression of Virginia wines that I
avoided them for decades.
My, how times (and regional viticulture) have
changed. On a recent return trip to the area, I find myself
sipping a delightful 2014 Viognier, a varietal that rose
to fame in the Rhone Valley but more recently became
Virginia’s signature grape.
“It’s more of a classical take on a French-style Viognier
with really nice peach and apricot flavors on the front
of your palate,” explains Nick Dovel, head of tasting at
Pollak Vineyards ( www.pollakvineyards.com), whose
picturesque terrace (located 15 miles west of Charlottesville) overlooks rolling vines with a stony-faced
mountain as the backdrop.
I nod, because I do so enjoy the poesy of a good wine
description, then move on to sample the staff favorite, a 2012 Petit Verdot. Once again, Dovel’s narration
doesn’t disappoint. “It has really nice notes of campfire
and leather and smokiness in there,” he says of the full-bodied red. “It’s a good steak wine.” Behind him, I spy
a succession of bottles bearing both local and national
medals around their necks.
Locavores will find good libations and beautiful scenery
in and around Nelson County, Virginia
BY AMY BRECOUNT WHITE