During our recent visit to Barboursville Vineyards, founded in 1976 by Gianni Zonin, we had the opportunity to taste several wines not usually available for sampling in the tasting room.
Energetic winemaker Luca Paschina has worked with Barboursville for more than 20 years now, and his knowledge of the terroir and his care with the wines becomes evident when you taste them. Barboursville produced some of the best wines we sampled in Virginia, and these days, Virginia produces some very fine wines indeed.
In addition to the many delightful and readily available wines we tasted on our trip, we felt privileged to sip these reserve selections:
2002 Viognier: Very rich and surprisingly lively, considering its age, with much of its perfumed bouquet intact.
2005 Nebbiolo: A signature varietal of Barboursville, this wine had up-front fruit, some zesty spice and a finish of earth and iron. The 1999 vintage we sampled had less power, so I think it wise to stick to Barboursville’s younger Nebbiolos.
1998 Cabernet Franc: Served from a double magnum, this remarkable wine tasted ripe and plummy, with some satisfying tobacco at the end. No problem with age here.
2002 Octagon: This Bordeaux-style blend also still seemed young, with a jammy nose, rich tannins and a long, long finish. Delicious.
2006 Octagon: An elegant wine, with well-balanced tannins and acids and just a touch of oak (Paschina firmly believes that while oak can add to a wine, it can’t make a wine).
2007 Malvaxia Passito: This honeyed dessert wine also had some tobacco in the finish, but more important, bright acids kept it from being syrupy or cloying. The acids in the 2001 Malvaxia Passito we tasted didn’t hold up quite as well, again making it wise to keep to the younger vintages.
Ask the tasting room staff if any older Barboursville vintages are available for purchase, and they may be able to assist with securing something special from the back. Any of the above would make a fine and unusual gift for the holidays.