Last weekend my husband Bob and I met at Dave Matthews‘ Blenheim Vineyards with Nick Attaway, VP of Artist Development for Vagrant Records, formerly employed by RED LIGHT MANAGEMENT/ATO RECORDS, ARISTA. Nick and his partner, Justin Billcheck are coordinating the 2nd Annual Blue Ridge Oyster Festival, along with Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company and Cerberus Productions , benefitting the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The event will be held in Nelson County, VA on the 21st of April, 2012. Looking forward to this since I missed it last year.
Our mission was to select a wine to be released in conjunction with the festival that pairs well with oysters. Accompanying Nick was his wife, Dominique Attaway, a professional photographer and oenophile. Nick arranged for us to do a barrel tasting with Blenheims’ winemaker, Kirsty Harmon.
I had visited Blenheim several times without prior notice, but never had the opportunity to meet Kirsty personally. Gracious and serious about her wines, it was apparent that she was determined to bottle wines with a clean crisp quality and not intended to win competitions just because they appealed to the judges. The three that we sampled were a 2011 Table White: 2/3 Viognier and 1/3 Chardonnay, a Rose: a blend of Cabernet, Mourvedre and Merlot all in stainless steel and a Chardonnay with 25% aged in French, Hungarian and American oak barrels.
The Table White was crisp, vibrant and would pair well with oysters and seafood. The Chardonnay was creamier- nice with a minerality and not overly oaky, and the Rose ideal, chilled for sipping on a warm Spring day. I think it was pretty obvious which wine would be chosen and after some deliberation, it was the Table White.
If you want to see some excellent photography, check out Dominique’s website and some of the shots she captured. We had a similar vision but her pictures were certainly better than mine.
I think Kirsty’s personality came across as sweet, serious and humble, committed to quality and I look forward to her future wines.
I noticed something that had eluded me on past visits to Blenheim, the diamond reflection from the ceiling of the tasting room floor to the barrel room.
I thought it was kind of cool! Thanks for the invitation to Blenheim!