Home > Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > Tasting Virginia Wine At True To Our Roots

Tasting Virginia Wine At True To Our Roots

Over ten years ago my wife took a welcome break from her law school studies for us to spend a weekend visiting wineries in Virginia. The wines of Linden Vineyards stood out to us then as they do now. We still do not drink much wine from Virginia but through my friendship with Frank Morgan (Drink What YOU Like) I have tried and become aware of more wines.   As a result it was not with complete ignorance that I walked into Virginia Wine True To Our Roots tasting.  I could only attend the last hour so after conversing with Dave McIntyre (DM Wine Line) I set out to taste what I could.  What is more important than reading my short notes is to try some of these wines.

If you could try only one from each winery I would suggest 2012 Ankida Ridge Vineyards, Pinot Noir.  I was unaware there was Pinot Noir based wines in Virginia and this was very good.  There is, of course, the famous 2010 Barboursville Vineyards, Octagon.  There was good depth of flavor and it is poised to develop in the cellar.  The iconic 2010 Linden, Hardscrabble Red showed very well out of decanter.  It is hard to believe this wine is 15.3% alcohol but it was balanced with meaty flavors, herbaceous notes, and the ruggedness of youth.  It should develop really well.  Waves of flavor come out of the 2010 RdV Vineyards, Rendevous so much so that you’ll be amazed at the amount of flavor but also feel the urge to drink more.  The 2013 Michael Shaps, Viognier 2013 Michael Shaps, Viognier offers both ample floral aromas with weighty mouth feel but also good acidity and mineral notes.  I should note that the tasting was held in Washington, DC at Range, a proud supporter of Virginia wine.

Ankida Ridge Vineyards


Nathan Vrooman, Ankida Ridge Vineyards

Nathan Vrooman, Ankida Ridge Vineyards

2013 Ankida Ridge Vineyards, Rockgarden Vert
This wine is a blend of 85% Vidal Blanc and 15% Pinot Noir which was fermented and aged in stainless steel.  Alcohol 10.3%.  There was highly lively acidity on the tongue. This tangy wine still had CO2 with drying tannins and dry chalk notes.

2013 Ankida Ridge Vineyards, Rockgarden Rouge
This wine is a blend of 40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 30% Cabernet Franc that was aged in 20% new French oak.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This had more greenhouse aromas that mixed with vintage floral perfume. The vintage flavor continued in the mouth with a persistent old-school aspect.

2013 Ankida Ridge Vineyards, Chardonnay
This wine is 100% Chardonnay which was aged in 12% new French oak.  Alcohol 12%.  The flavors had a ripe hint before a yeast note came out and the structure firmed up. It became creamy with supportive oak in the middle and stone notes in the finish.

2012 Ankida Ridge Vineyards, Pinot Noir
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir which was aged in 25% new French oak.  Alcohol 13%.  The red and black fruit had that Virginia hint. The fuzzy/fluffy flavors filled the mouth with structure underneath and fine tannins evident in the aftertaste.

Barboursville Vineyards


Jason Tesauro, Barboursville Vineyards

Jason Tesauro, Barboursville Vineyards

2010 Barboursville Vineyards, Octagon – $55
This wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot.  Alcohol 13.8%. This was a balanced blend in the mouth showing good depth, black fruit, floral notes, and a little cocoa. It had a racy finish and some grip.

Linden Vineyards


2013 Linden, Avenius Sauvignon Blanc 
There was a textured, aromatic nose of grassy and ripe aromas. The texture repeated itself in the mouth complementing the good flavor.

2011 Linden, Hardscrabble Chardonnay – $35
There was a tight nose with very subtle toast aromas. There was a lot of acidity on the tongue, flavors of baking spice, and firmer acidity in the finish. It developed brighter fruit.

2011 Linden, Claret – $25
This wine is a blend of 44% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Cabernet Franc declassified fruit sourced from the three vineyards.  It was aged for 20 months in older French barrels.  There was good, clean fruit in the mouth. The wine tasted young with moderate structure, acidity, and some spice flavor adding to the black and red fruit.

2010 Linden, Hardscrabble Red – $50
This wine is a blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot that was aged for 21 months in 60% new French oak barrels. Alcohol 15.3%.  There were slightly meaty flavors with racy fruit. It was black and almost inky with a slight herbaciousness and dry spices. It bears the attractive roughness of youth.

RdV Vineyards


Jarad Slipp, RdV Vineyards

Jarad Slipp, RdV Vineyards

2010 RdV Vineyards, Rendevous – $75
This wine is a blend of 44% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot, and 12% Cabernet Franc which was aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak.  Alcohol 14.9%.  There were dense, youthful aromas that came out of the glass. The flavors were concentrated and racy with black fruit, ripe texture, and a spicy hint. The wine was big but so tasty. There was a long, black fruit aftertaste with just a hint of cocoa powder.

2010 RdV Vineyards, Lost Mountain – $95
This wine is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon and 36% Merlot which was aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak. Alcohol 14.7%.  The nose was dark with low-lying aromas. In the mouth dense, red and black fruit mixed before red notes poked out. The wine was drier with spicy tannins that continued into the finish. There was some minerality, baking spice, and a chewy aftertaste.

Michael Shaps


Michael Shaps

Michael Shaps

2013 Michael Shaps, Viognier – $26
This wine is 100% Viognier which was fermented with native yeasts then aged in stainless steel.  Alcohohol 13.7%. The aromatic nose brought right, floral aromas. The ripe start continued to build in flavor with an almost honied feel. Minerals came out in the finish before the wine left a lip-smacking sensation.

2013 Michael Shaps, Petit Manseng
This wine is 100% Petit Manseng sourced from a single vineyard.  It was barrel fermented then aged in 30% new French oak.  Alcohol 14.6%.  The tight nose made way to good, focused fruit in the mouth. There was a hint of almonds, almost tart fruit, and a little spicy, dry finish. A youthful wine.

2010 Michael Shaps, Cabernet Franc – $28
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc which was fermented with native yeast then aged for 24 months in 100% French oak of which 50% was new.  Alcohol 13.7%. There was focused bright fruit that has that Virginia taste. The wine had a tart side with dense, red and black fruit, and ripe, gum-coating tannins.

2010 Michael Shaps, Petit Verdot – $35
This wine is 100% Petit Verdot which was fermented with native yeast then aged for 24 months in 100% French oak of which 75% was new.  Alcohol 13.7%.  There were bright black and red fruit, a racy nature, and a citric finish. The flavors stood out.

  1. August 1, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Hey Aaron! We love hearing about your experience with each of our wines! You can connect with us on Twitter at @mswineworks — @mshaps is not functional, currently. Thanks!

    • August 1, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      Thanks! It was a memorable experience and I’m also glad the wines are affordable. I got the Twitter handle from the marketing material so I’ll update my post now.

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