We are at a very fortunate position in Richmond, being located within a short drive of some of the best new American Viticultural Areas. Virginia was the first area of the country to attempt to grow wine grapes, with Colonists at Jamestown making wine production one of their goals all the way back in 1607. They failed for a number of reasons, but modern day Virginia is succeeding for a ton of reasons. The amount of wineries has grown greatly in the past few decades, with Virginia the number five producer of fine wines in the country.
About an hour and a half north of us lies Fauquier County, home to 23 wineries producing what we believe to be some of the most exciting wines in the state, including our featured local winery this month, Delaplane Cellars.
Delaplane Cellars is located in the breathtaking Crooked Run Valley, a national historic district, and produces both original style reds and whites as well as the best Bordeaux Style blends in the state. Started by Jim and Betsy Dolphin in 2007 after almost ten years of making wine at home, the brick and mortar winery they created has raised the bar to a new standard of excellence throughout the state.
We will start with the 2014 Melange Blanc, at $54 a bottle at Maple + Pine. A blend of Chardonnay, Virginia favorite Viognier, and the upcoming Petite Manseng. The Chardonnay gives a soft, pear like nose, while the Viognier and Petite Manseng add body and an exciting underlying tropical fruit characteristic. It pairs excellently with our Scallop Crudo with Thai green curry and lime, on the restaurant menu for $12.
Next on the list from Delaplane we have their Left Bank Red, at $87 a bottle at Maple + Pine. Named after the famous, gravel soiled western side of the Gironde River in Bordeaux. In true Left Bank style, this is a beautiful, powerful and age worthy wine of 43% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance a mixture of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. This wine has great tannic structure, dark brambly fruit and well integrated oak which adds dimension to the wine without overwhelming the natural beauty of the wine. It pairs fantastically with our Almond crusted loin of lamb with lavender hummus and pickled blueberries, on the restaurant menu for $33.Virginia may be the new kid on the block for American wine, but with pioneers and newcomers alike producing wines of outstanding quality, wineries in Virginia are here to stay.