Friday, July 29, 2011

Virginia Winery Visit: Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery

The second Virginia winery stop on our Wine Bloggers’ Conference mystery bus tour was Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery. Cardinal Point earned its spurs as a vineyard before construction of a winery building in 2002. Our tour leaders were winemaker Tim Gorman and his sister Sarah.

To help us knock off the road dust and revive from the heat, we enjoyed a 2009 Barrel Select Chardonnay in the tasting room. This had a bright, refreshing flavor of crisp green apples.

We then crossed the walkway to the winery and descended into the tank and barrel room. This was Tim the winemaker’s domain.

The tasting continued with a dry Cab Franc Rose’. Another great choice for a swelteringly hot day. This is a lively wine with a surprising thread of banana. It retails for $15.

Tim then led us through a tasting of the ‘09 Riesling/Gewürztraminer, a sassy wine that has just a touch of sweetness. The grapes marry very well with the minerality of the Riesling helping to mellow the floral aspects of the Gerwurz.

The next wine captured the crowd. The 2009 Cab. F + Vio is a blend of 95% Cabernet Franc and 5% Viognier. The red and white grapes are fermented together. The wine has a round, supple flavor of cherry and blackberries. The addition of just a small amount of Viognier makes this a smooth ride indeed. ****

Winemaker Tim Gorman
There was no drop-off with the next wine, the 2009 Clay Hill Cabernet Franc. Tim described it as a typical Virginia Cab Franc with herbaceous flavors. Sure it was typical – if awesomeness is typical in the Old Dominion! This is 100% Cab Franc with a mélange of warm berry taste. ***+

We were in for quite a surprise next. Tim pulled out an 18-year old bottle of Afton Mountain Winery Cabernet Franc. The wine was from grapes supplied by Cardinal Point and bottled for release in 1994. At the time the wine was very tannic and there were some upturned noses.

Not today! The tannins integrated beautifully with the brambly fruit for a well structured and aged wine with a rewarding finish.**** Tim said he thought there was a flaw in the wine – if so, no one present detected it.

I made a mental photograph of the moment. Here was the winemaker, sharing a rare bottle with new friends in the barrel room of his family’s winery. There were smiles all around.
That Cab Franc was great! I'd like some more.

I paused on the way out for a sip of Union, a new red blend of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon and to enjoy the antics of Gracie, the winery dog.

Cardinal Point produces captivating wines and none top $25. The family friendliness and creative winemaking with Virginia grapes makes this a great stop on your next wine caravan.

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