Virginia has been noted for their white wines, especially Chardonnay, for many years. Reds, however, have been more of a challenge. Humidity and ample rainfall encourages fungi and rot, excessive cloud cover makes ripening difficult, and high temperatures at night keep acidity levels low. Combine that with clay soils that tend to be too fertile and drain poorly, and the threat of fall rains that encourage growers to harvest early, and the result is a challenging environment for late-ripening reds. But Virginia is proving that careful vineyard management can overcome many of these problems. Their reds are on the light side, and you find lots of Cabernet Franc because it ripens early, although many wineries are experimenting with Petite Verdot with the jury still out on whether this will be their big red.
Nevertheless some wineries are making good Cabernet Sauvignon and Meritage blends. RDV sets the standard with their exclusive, high-priced Bordeaux blends and Jim Law at Linden Vineyards makes elegant red blends with great depth. But the winery that really attracted my attention was Pollak Vineyards.
Black Cherry with fig bass notes and vanilla highlights are the prominent aromas. Wood notes play on the edge of the nose and will become more integrated with time in the bottle. But the palate is a mouthful of energy. The round, full, darkly fruited introduction gives way to cranberry sailing on rollicking acidity as flavors bounce around the mouth like a pinball. The tannins are slow to come on but have some grain when they arrive joining the acidity in a tangy embrace pushing forward the medium length finish.
A bit leaner than its aforementioned peers, this wine is designed to be nimble and nervy, exhilaration that is part anxiousness.
Babba Riley by the Who is its musical match.
“The exodus is here,The happy ones are near,Let’s get together, Before we get much older”