I am not familiar with Virginia wines. I am, however, familiar with the slogan “Virginia is for Lovers,” but after participating in my first (and hopefully not last) #VAWineChat, hosted by Frank Morgan (DrinkWhatYouLike) on November 17th, I think that slogan needs to be changed to “Virginia is for wine lovers.”
Or maybe the slogan should be “Virginia is for Oyster lovers.” In case you didn’t know it, November is Virginia Oyster month! According to Virginia.org, Eating an oyster in Virginia captures the character of our waters in one quick, complex taste. In fact, there even is a Virginia Oyster Trail. Virginia is the largest producer of fresh, farm-raised oysters on the East Coast, providing eight regions of distinctive flavor.
There were three different oyster producers involved in the chat. The conversation was discussing how each of the three oysters were significantly different from each other. Being the science nerd that I am, I immediately asked, “What made the difference?” Were they different species or was the water different? What I learned was that there is something called merroir. The Chesapeake Bay has regions that are broken up into these merroirs which is similar to wine terroirs. I was also told that they are only allowed to have the one species of oysters.
I guess they learned something from the Zebra mussel disaster some time ago! In case you have no clue what I am talking about you can read about it here. Basically, it is all about introducing non-native organisms into an environment and them becoming completely invasive. All of the company’s oysters are grown in the Chesapeake Bay area, but in different areas that have varying levels of salinity, which affects their taste. These changes in salinity, rainfall and amount and type of algae, lead to very different tasting oysters. They range from salty to buttery to sweet.
While I watched them enjoy their oysters, (let’s just say they were all gone before the hour was over) we were also there to discuss the wine. Wine is much more along my lines, just watching them eat the oysters gave me shivers! The wines were supplied by The Williamsburg Winery.
Williamsburg Winery is “more than just a winery.” In addition to the 300-acre farm that is home to The Williamsburg Winery, there is Wedmore Place where you can spend the night), Café Provençal and The Gabriel Archer Tavern. They are known as the Wessex Hundred, which refers to the Colonial times term for parcels of land sufficient to support a hundred families.
The winery was established in 1985 by the Duffeler family. The winery is located on the southern side of Williamsburg proper. Since their inaugural release in 1988, two generations have been united by a single goal: to make wines with great character and in all honesty, I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to Virginia wines.
2015 Wessex Hundred Viognier (SRP:$24.00)
2014 A Midsummer Night’s White (SRP: $14.00)
Disclosure of wine sample submission: I received this wine at no cost from Williamsburg Winery and VAWineChat. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are entirely my own. Virginia Wine Chat is a monthly winemaker interview series and virtual tasting focusing on the wines, winemakers, and wineries of Virginia.