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Loudoun County wineries earn spots in prestigious Governor’s Case

North Gate’s 2015 Petit Verdot finished in the top 12 wines in the 2018 Governor’s Cup Wine Competition out of more than 400 entries. Facebook/North Gate Vineyard
Two Loudoun County wineries placed in the Governor's Case of the prestigious Governor's Cup Wine Competition Tuesday night.

North Gate Vineyards' 2015 Petit Verdot and two wines from Virginia Cellars for The Barns at Hamilton Station – a 2015 Meritage and 2015 Petit Verdot -- placed in the case, claiming the distinction as some of the top wines in the state. North Gate is located in Purcellville, while The Barns is in Hamilton.

Virginia Cellars is a production facility of esteemed Charlottesville winemaker Michael Shaps, which is where The Barns' wines were produced.

King Family Vineyards' 2014 Meritage from Crozet won the Governor's Cup as the top wine in the competition. The Governor's Cup and Governor's Case honorees were chosen from more than 440 entries from 100 Virginia wineries.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced King Family Vineyards' victory at a gala in Richmond Tuesday night.

All wines in the Governor's Cup must be made from 100 percent Virginia fruit. The 12 wines making up the 2018 Governor's Case are:

-Barboursville Vineyards 2014 Paxxito
-CrossKeys Vineyards 2015 Ali d'Oro
-Early Mountain Vineyards 2015 Eluvium
-Jefferson Vineyards 2016 Viognier
-Jefferson Vineyards 2015 Viognier
-King Family Vineyards’ 2014 Meritage (Governor's Cup)
-Keswick Vineyards 2016 Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve
-North Gate Vineyard 2015 Petit Verdot
-Potomac Point Winery 2016 Cabernet Franc
-Veritas Vineyards & Winery 2015 Petit Verdot
-Virginia Cellars 2015 The Barns at Hamilton Station Petit Verdot
-Virginia Cellars 2015 The Barns at Hamilton Station Meritage

“I am pleased to present this award to winemaker Matthieu Finot and to David and Ellen King of King Family Vineyards as well as their entire team, who have proven again that they are leaders in producing outstanding Virginia wines,” Gov. Northam said in a prepared statement. “I also want to congratulate all of the wineries included in the 2018 Governor’s Cup Case. Virginia’s wine industry has grown exponentially in recent years, with an enormous impact on economic development and tourism in the commonwealth, thanks to the hard work of people in wineries across the state.” 

King Family Vineyards’ 2014 Meritage is 100 percent Monticello AVA fruit and 91 percent estate fruit. The wine was aged 18 months in French oak and went through malolactic fermentation. The composition of the wine is 50 percent merlot, 23 percent petit verdot, 21 percent cabernet franc, and 6 percent malbec.

Last year, The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards was the first Loudoun winery to win the Governor’s Cup with its 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Local gold-medal winners

The Virginia Wineries Association announced the 2018 Virginia Governor’s Cup gold medal winners earlier this month, with Loudoun wineries claiming 11 golds.

The panel of 40 judges, directed by sommelier Jay Youmans, scored the wines on appearance, aroma, flavor, overall quality and commercial suitability. Gold medal winners had an average score between 90 and 100. Of all the gold-winning wines, there were 36 Bordeaux blends, 11 petit verdots, 11 viogniers, eight chardonnays, five petit mansengs, three tannats and three red blends with tannat and four dessert wines.

The gold-medal winning Loudoun wines are:

-868 Estate Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Franc and 2015 Meritage
-Bozzo Family Vineyards 2016 Meritage
-Breaux Vineyards 2015 Meritage and 2015 Nebbiolo
-Casanel Vineyards and Winery 2015 Petit Verdot
-Doukenie Winery 2015 Petit Verdot, 2015 Vintner’s Reserve Meritage, 2015 Cabernet Franc
-Lost Creek Winery 2015 Chardonnay
-North Gate Vineyard 2015 Petit Verdot
-Tarara Winery 2015 Navaeh Merlot/Syrah blend
-Two Twisted Posts Winery 2014 Thomas Great Meritage
-The Barns at Hamilton Station 2015 Petit Verdot and 2015 Meritage
-Willowcroft Farm Vineyards 2015 Assemblage Select Meritage

The 2018 Virginia Governor’s Cup Competition was conducted over four weeks of preliminary tastings at the Capital Wine School in Washington, D.C in January, according to the Virginia Wine Marketing Office. The final round of tastings was held at The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond in early February.

Virginia features more than 280 wineries, more than 40 of which are in Loudoun County. According to a 2017 economic impact study, the state's wine industry employs more than 8,200 people and contributes nearly $1.37 billion to the commonwealth's economy.


The Trump wine typically gets entered in Russian competitions.

Noticeably absent from the selection: Trump Winery.

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