A fine birthday wine
Breaux Vineyard's 2010 merlot is one of 11 wines blended into Virginia's “1813," a bicentennial-themed red created to coordinate with the commonwealth's 200th birthday.
The ceremonial “1813,” believed to be the first-in-history statewide blend, was unveiled June 27 at an Executive Mansion reception in Richmond. Not by accident, 1,813 bottles of “1813” were produced, and the wine will be used exclusively for promotional purposes, according to Annette Boyd with the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office.
Jen Breaux, director of sales and marketing at Breaux in Purcellville, said the winery is honored to be a part of the inaugural experiment.
"'1813' was created as a way to celebrate the bicentennial of the Executive Mansion which has been a special project of the first lady of Virginia, Maureen McDonnell, throughout the administration. It was only fitting to include grapes and wine from across the state, especially including the first harvest of wine grapes from the Executive Mansion itself," Breaux said.
In addition to Breaux's merlot, the wine consists of: a 2010 merlot from Chatham Vineyards; a 2011 nebbiolo from Barboursville Vineyards; a 2011 merlot from King Family Vineyards; 2012 chambourcin from both James River Cellars Winery and the Executive Mansions Vineyard; 2012 petit verdot from Silver Creek & Seaman's Orchards, The Vineyard at Point Breeze and Veritas Vineyards & Winery; a 2012 viognier from Barboursville and a 2010 red blend from Barboursville.
The participating vineyards and wineries sent their liquid contribution to several of the state's most revered winemakers and experts in 2012. The blend masters then composed the “1813” at Barboursville's facility near Charlottesville.
As Breaux noted, “1813” is the brainchild of Maureen McDonnell, who in 2010 planted 10 vines of chambourcin (a red grape) in the mansion's garden. McDonnell followed up with the idea to create a unique blend specifically for the state's bicentennial.
Commenting on the release, Gov. Bob McDonnell, in a prepared statement, said: “At the beginning of my administration, I made the promotion of Virginia wine and wine tourism key components of my overall economic development and jobs creation agenda. I also said that I wanted Virginia to be the East Coast capitol of wine and wine tourism. Working with our partners in the Virginia wine industry, we’ve achieved success in both goals. Sales of Virginia wines reached an all-time high last year and record numbers of tourists are visiting our beautiful wineries.”
Diggin' into vin at Doukenie
One of the most fascinating aspects of wine is the involved science. There's soil type, slope and drainage, climate, sun impact on the vines, blending and often the use of various chemicals. All can have a profound impact on what you taste in the glass.
Anyone interested in getting the dirt on wine production would be well served to join Leanne Wiberg at Purcellville's Doukenie Winery July 6 – or the first Saturday of any winery-weather month – for “A Taste of Science at Doukenie.”
Wiberg, a geologist and former Northern Virginia Park Authority employee, leads the outing where drinkers can learn scientific and technical details of winemaking and vineyard management.
“My goal is to help people figure out what they like, why they like it or what they don't like and why,” Wiberg said. “People shouldn't like [a wine] just because folks say this is something you should like.”
The wine and science trek was launched earlier this year, Wiberg said, and thus far she's been impressed with the turnout. Participants have largely included members of Doukenie's Heritage Club, who have frequently brought along non-wine club members, Wiberg noted.
Doukenie's “Taste of Science” is free for Heritage Club members and $15 for non-members.
Read recent Wine Wednesdays here:
-"Boxin' it up at Village; D.C. Wine Country destination race" -- June 5
-"Carroll Vineyards; Sunset’s solar power; and Purcellville Wine Kitchen" -- May 1