A visit to the Gaylord National hotel in Washington DC provided me with a chance to again enjoy wine from one of Virginia’s most acclaimed wineries: Barboursville Vineyards. The National is actually across the Potomac in National Harbor, Maryland. But since I could see Virginia right across the river from our restaurant table, it was an opportune time to introduce the rest of our dinner group to Virginia wine.
We were at the Old Hickory Steak House, a classy restaurant with a diverse wine list. We enjoyed a Duckhorn Merlot to go with our cheese course and for our entrees I selected the 2008 Barboursville Reserve Cabernet Franc. I chose a salt brined pork chop while the rest of the group made their picks from the stellar lineup of steaks.
Virginia primarily hangs its hat on two main grape varieties: Cabernet Franc and Viognier. Viognier earned the title of official state wine – but their Cabernet Franc has won the hearts of many a wine drinker. Barboursville grows their Cab France from Bordeaux and Loire clones and the wine has a very polished European feel.
A signature of Cab Franc is the pepper taste that differentiates it from Cab Sauvignon (along with a lighter body). But pepper isn’t part of the flavor profile of the Barboursville Cab Franc. It is soft-pedaled while the ripe red berry flavors take center stage. The deep garnet wine also has wisps of caramel and fig. Aging for 14 months in French Oak adds complexity but never overwhelms the smooth approach and tongue tantalizing finish.
This is a smooth, sophisticated wine that is a great match for roasts and steak. It’s one of the very best wines I’ve tasted from Virginia. Rated **** of *****.