We all know what you’re supposed to do when life hands you lemons. And when life hands you a 40 year old vineyard, you make wine. When Scott and Martha Stinson were looking for a place to retire, they came upon the property which boasts an eighteenth century farmhouse and 12 acres of vines.
Scott’s background in architecture gave him the vision for the restoration of the Piedmont Estate buildings. A love of French wines gave him and his daughter, Rachel, a vision for the vines. Under the guidance of viticulturist and vineyard consultant Lucie Morton, they revived the soil and planted Sauvignon Blanc, Petit Manseng, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tannat. They source from other Virginia growers as needed to create smaller production, French inspired boutique wines.
I had been hearing about the great wines coming out of Virginia but had not had the opportunity to try any so I was thrilled to receive the samples of Stinson Vineyards wines from Folsom and Sons. In fact, I couldn’t wait to open them. I gave them a couple of weeks to settle and opened them for happy hour on the deck.
Without a kitchen, my options are limited for pairing fare, but thanks to a borrowed toaster oven, I pulled off something. The first one I opened was the 2012 Cabernet Franc. When I think Cab Franc, I think green pepper, so I roasted some Shishito peppers. It is one of my current favorite appetizers. Toss them in olive oil and broil them until they blister. Shave some parmesan cheese and sprinkle with salt and a squeeze (or three) or lemon.
It worked just as I hoped. Really beautiful Bing Cherry notes and a pop of pepper. Medium bodied, good acid, with a clean, bright finish. Some Cab Francs have a bite at the end. This tasted like lovely, unmanipulated fruit.
This past Friday was our first day in the 80s in a while. After a very long week, it was time to open the 2012 Rosé. The wine is 100% Mourvédre sourced from Horton Vineyards in Madison County, Virginia. Pale salmon color, clean dusty nose. I kept getting cinnamon stick at the end. On the palate, pink grapefruit, good minerality, herbal notes. Maybe tarragon? Herbs de Provence? Whatever it was, it was delicious. I could have paired it many ways. Chicken salad with tarragon, grilled salmon with herbs and green olives, farro salad with feta, mint, parsley. It is a versatile, food-friendly, tasty wine.
When I was growing up, the “Virginia is For Lovers” tourism campaign was in full swing. If Stinson Vineyards is any indication, “Virginia is for Wine Lovers” is bound to gain a similar momentum.
8 thoughts on “Virginia is for (Wine) Lovers”
Good luck with your kitchen & see you soon!
Excellent review, Alyssa! I hope your kitchen is coming along well and you will get it back soon!
Thank you. Final steps this weekend! In the slow process of moving back in but no dishwasher yet. The end is near!
Hi SAHMmelier, I have a weekly newsletter that I send to over 700 people that provides information about wine as well as wine travels. Your article is something that I would like to share with my distribution list. As long as I give you credit for writing the piece, do you mind if I repost your article in my newsletter?
If you would like more information about me and my business, my name is Mark Salinas. I am the President of a company called World and Wine Getaways. My URL is worldandwinegetaways.com. Also have a Facebook page at facebook.com/worldandwinegetaways and am @winetravelguy on twitter.
Please let me know what you think. Thanks!
I will check out the site and be in touch very soon. Thanks for reaching out, Mark!
I’ve spent the better part of my life living in Virginia . . . winery visits are a regular event for us (though weekdays only anymore, that activity has been “discovered” and it’s too CROWDED on the weekends). I haven’t been to Stinson before, but I know exactly where it is . . . just down the road from another Virginia Favorite – King Family. Virginia is enjoying some success with Cab Franc, though I think the future for Virginia reds may just lie in blends. Love your pairing — looks and sounds perfect! Salud!!
I get it! We generally only do weekdays here and always in Sonoma. It is so much more fun when you can talk about what you’re drinking!