Virginia Wines With The Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell & First Lady Maureen McDonnell

Last Tuesday I was honored to have been invited to the Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and First Lady Maureen McDonnell’s wine reception in San Francisco, California. This event was showcasing Virginia wines, tourism and film. The Governor’s reception took place at the Westin St. Francis, Victor’s Palace room on the thirty second floor. This room was amazing with panoramic views of San Francisco.

Once up the elevator to the very top floor, we were welcomed with some Virginia Sparkling from Trump Winery. Their 2008 Kluge SP Blanc de Blanc which was a 2012 Governor’s Cup Case Wine, gold medalist recipient. This Sparkling is made with 100% Chardonnay grapes. A Sparkling I really enjoyed. Very nice floral aromas, bright flavors of citrus and grapefruit.

The Victor’s Palace room was filled with some of Virginia’s finest wines and foods for us to try.

Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife First Lady Maureen McDonnell are such huge supporters of Virginia’s wines and agriculture. It was great hearing him and his wife speak that night of their love for Virginia’s wines and striving to make Virginia the East Coast version of “Napa-Sonoma” for their state. They spoke of the importance the wine industry has for their state with Virginia being ranked fifth in US in wine production with over 220 wineries to visit. I was able to meet and speak face to face with the Governor and had a great conversation with First Lady Maureen McDonnell and her love for our Napa-Sonoma region and wanting that so much for their state of Virginia.

I tasted a lot of good Virginia wines that night at the event but a few bottles stood out among the rest. I have had the chance to taste some Virginia wines in the past and really enjoyed many of their Viogniers. One Viognier I found that night that I did enjoy was the 2010 Barboursville Vineyards Viognier, 100% Viognier from the Monticello AVA. This wine has very appealing aromas that were both floral and tropical. A very elegant wine that tasted first of nectarines, apricots and finishing with slight white pepper and floral notes. Definitely a crisp well structured Viognier. Another Virginia white I really enjoyed was Tarara Wineries 2010 Honah Lee.

This wine is a white blend of 40% Viognier, 40% Petit Manseng, 20% Roussanne which was a 2012 Governor’s Cup Case Wine and gold medalist recipient. A great white blend with huge tropical aromas tasting lots of fruit, melons and honeydew, slight honey and spices. Definitely a great Summertime wine. A Virginia red wine that was one of my favorites I tasted that night was Glen Manor Vineyards 2009 Hodder Hill Cabernet blend. That night I was able to meet and speak to the winemaker about his blend, which is always such a treat.

Glen Manor Vineyards 2009 Hodder Hill is a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot. Again another 2012 Governor’s Cup Case Wine, gold medalist recipient. This wine was very structured and smooth tasting of dark berries, licorice and finishing with cocoa and spice. Indeed a very palate pleasing blend. Another favorite Virginia red I tasted that night was Barboursville Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Franc Reserve.

This Cabernet Franc is a blend of 95% Cab Franc and 5% Petit Verdot coming from the Monticello AVA. What I liked so much about this Cabernet Franc was the softness this wine had yet was super intense with flavors of berries, cherries, and plum. Then finishing with a hint of toasted oak and pepper.

It really was a privilege for me that night to be able to taste all of these Virginia wines and meet the Virginia Governor and his wife. I want to send a special thanks to Frank Morgan @DrinkWhatULike and Kristen Green @KGreenPR and all the Virginia wineries that ventured out west that night for us, “California wine enthusiasts” to sip and enjoy some of your best Virginia bottles. The event definitely was a great night in San Francisco with Virginia wines, which I am so thankful to have been part of.