Virginia Dare Winery Chardonnay 2018
The 2018 Chardonnay offers a gorgeous nose of green apples, creamy lemon, toasted oak, and brioche. Slightly leaner than last year’s rendition, the palate is creamy with sweet flavors of pineapple and nectarine up front, which are made more intriguing by mineral notes and a hint of honeycomb that emerges on the finish.
This wine pairs well with Chicken Cordon Bleu, Lobster Rolls, and Seared Scallops.
Virginia Dare was the first English child born in the New World to colonists in 1587. Virginia's fate became a mystery after her colony, now referred to as the Lost Colony, vanished from Roanoke Island in the late 1500s. Legend has it that she lived among the Native Americans and grew into a beautiful young woman trapped in the middle of a tragic love triangle when she was turned into a White Doe and ultimately killed. On the very spot where she bled and died, a grapevine sprouted with its fruit stained red. According to the legend, this is how the white wine of America became red wine. The grapevine is widely believed to be the 400-year old Mother Vine, reportedly the oldest cultivated grapevine in North America which still exists today -- a clipping of which will soon be planted in Virginia Dare Winery’s estate vineyard.
The story of the Virginia Dare Winery began with North Carolina's first commercial winery, Medoc Vineyard, which opened in 1835. Two businessmen, known as the Garrett brothers, purchased the property in 1865 calling it Garrett & Company. They began producing the Virginia Dare label which quickly became one of the nation's top selling wines. With the start of Prohibition in 1919, Garrett & Company was forced to move, first to Brooklyn, New York, and then to Cucamonga, California, where the business transformed into the Virginia Dare Winery. It was one of the first wineries to sell wine after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 and was considered a booming business for much of the late 40s and 50s, but eventually saw turmoil and nearly faded into history.
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.