Ramble On

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Vineyard Trips Preview

As a preview to some posts I will put up over the next couple of days about trips the family and I took to local vineyards last weekend (the photo here is of Mary and me in the fields at Wisteria - http://wisteriavineyard.com – near the Hawksbill Cabin), I wanted to make a note about some grape varieties that are grown here in Virginia.

Here are four of the more uncommon ones, with summarized information from their respective Wikipedia articles.


Petit Verdot-this late ripening red wine grape is typical of French Bordeaux blends, where it is used for tannin, color and flavor. Apparently it is regarded as unreliable in France and has fallen out of flavor there, but it can be used in the US reliably, even as its own varietal wine. It is sometimes used to bolster some Cabernet Sauvignon blends.

Norton-I first came across this varietal at Wisteria, but it is also the “cornerstone of the Missouri wine industry.” It’s often described as America’s native grape, but according to the Wisteria article, there are suspicions that it is actually a hybrid of European ancestry.


Seyval Blanc-A hybrid white wine grape that is popular at several Virginia wineries, including Linden Vineyards on the other side of the Shenandoah ridge from us. It is also grown in New York (which is likely how it came to Virginia) England and Canada.

Viognier-The final grape of our lesson today, a white variety that originates from the Rhone Valley. It’s origin is unknown but it has gained in popularity since the 1990’s, especially in California and Australia. It is well suited to Virginia’s “Monticello” growing region because of the mild climate there.
Tomorrow’s post will recount the trips we made to North Mountain Vineyard in Mauertown and our return visit to Wisteria in Stanley.


Brian McGowan said...

Never tried a "Norton"... have had a few "Cramdens" from New York City, though.

Jim said...

Best sipped from a paper bag while riding the bus, I trust...

Jose said...

We have tried 10 different Virginia Norton wines in the past couple of years. By far, Cooper Vineyard’s Norton is our favorite. Can you list some Virginia Norton vineyards that you have enjoyed in the past. Thanks.

Jim said...

Jose - will look into your recommendation on Cooper Vineyards. Thanks for the suggestion on future posts - I'll work on those. Jim