The Virginia Wine Showcase, held August 22nd–24th at the Dulles Expo Center, was a fun-filled indoor event presented by Capital Celebrations that promoted over 30 of Virginia’s newest and established producers. This tasting event also boasted a number of local arts and crafts vendors and tasty and fanciful foods, as well as educational and entertaining wine seminars.
This indoor tasting event, first of its kind in Virginia, debuted in February of this year where I enjoyed ‘live blogging’ at the Bloggers Corner. This past Sunday, I attended not to blog, but to sample and chat up Virginia wines with Virginia wine lovers like you! That said, I saw a lot of old faces and met some new ones – a few people even recognized my mug from the blog – wow! With much talk about the 2007 vintage, I must say that I enjoyed a number of delicious white wines from what many consider to be a very exceptional vintage for the Commonwealth. It is still a little early to see any 2007 red wines, but I encourage readers to seek out the 2005’s (another good vintage year for most producers) and patiently wait for these much talked about 2007 reds to show up at a tasting room near you.
One of the highlights of this show for me, outside of tasting oodles of good, and even some unique wines, was sitting in on the Tarara Winery vertical tasting. This tasting celebrated Tarara’s 20th anniversary and gave attendees the opportunity to taste Tarara’s portfolio of Meritage wines starting with their first vintage in 1989 through the most recent 2005 vintage. Most of these blends consist of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, and is restricted to only Bordeaux grape varieties under this registered name (Meritage). Of these wines, the 89, 91, and 95 were all very lean, (very) soft fruit, herbaceous - basically simple wines, shutting down, that will no longer get better with time. But hey, they are still drinkable and who knows what the winemaker was aiming for that long ago, and what the vintage brought in terms of weather and the challenges growers faced with vinifera varieties, especially the 89 and 91 vintages. In 97 however, you see a much different wine than the past three vintages - one that is interesting, has a fuller mouth feel and slightly complex with good tannic structure and definition, and still holding on to some fruit. Coincidentally, this was one of the first wines our pal Doug Fabbioli made for Tarara Winery when he was the winemaker there. Good job, Doug, some 11 years later. To those seeking out these aged wines, I do recommend not holding onto these any longer; drink it now and enjoy. The following 2 vintages, the 02 and 05 are drinking well now and are solid wines that reflect maturity and elegance and would certainly pair well with an appetizing hearty dish.
Inside Tarara Winery's Vertical Tasting (vintages:89,91,95,97,02,05)
In closing friends, look for the Virginia Wine Showcase again December 13th-14th at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. You won’t find any outdoor festivals in the winter, so enjoy the warmth of the convention center, do some Christmas shopping, grab a glass and sample some Virginia wines.
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