“Someone Else’s Hands In the Wine” at Glen Manor Vineyards

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I was out at Glen Manor Vineyards a few weekends ago for their vertical tasting of Petit Verdot. I loved the vertical tasting of Sauvignon Blanc and Hodder Hill last year, so was pretty excited for this year.

Glen Manor Vineyards

The tasting takes place in the cellar, which has great ambiance, around a handmade wooden table that just fits 10 people. That means the tasting are usually social as well informative, a good group of people who love wine and aren’t pretentious.

Glen Manor Petit Verdot Tasting 2014

The line up was Petit Verdots from 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011 with pairings of local cheeses and cured meats.

Glen Manor Petit Verdot Tasting 2014 Pairings

While we sipped the wines, Jeff, the winemaker, told us a bit about each growing season and challenges faced, as well as more general information about the grapes themselves. I had no idea that Petit Verdot has thicker skins and smaller clusters than other varietals. And that this makes them particularly resistant to the rainy weather that can ruin other harvests — thicker skins equal more flavor and smaller grapes limit the amount of water that can be absorbed.

Of course I don’t mind a slightly rainy harvest because that increases the likelihood of a tasty dry rose being produced. 🙂

Glen Manor Vineyards Rose

A particularly neat feature of this tasting was getting to see the different flavors a wine can pick up depending on where it is vinified (crushed and barrelled). The 2005 had been grown on the property like all the rest, but it had been crushed and prepared at Linden Winery a few hills away before being brought back to Glen Manor to age. I had never thought about the role yeast plays, nor would it have occurred to me that different locations would have different natural yeast (though it makes sense) and thus different flavors.

Glen Manor Petit Verdot Tasting 2014 Growing Seasons

And yet, as we sipped the 2005 which had a similar growing season as 2007 and 2010 — it tasted very different. Far more different than you would have expected for grapes that came from the same vines. As I found out later, one wine expert observed it was “like someone else’s hands had been in the wine.” To me, getting to experience differences like this is what makes vertical tastings so very fun.

I wish the hour-long tasting could have gone longer, but there was some great new selections waiting for us in the main tasting room:

  • 2013 Sauvignon Blanc — still very young and would benefit from more time in the bottle, but still nice for drinking now. Very bright and tart with some minerality and an almost effervescent feeling on the tongue.
  • T. Ruth — a very light red with plenty of fruity flavor some structure, but very little tannins.
  • 2010 Hodder Hill — as always, an amazing bourdeaux style blend.
  • 2013 Morales Rose — I LOVE Glen Manor Rose’s and this one doesn’t disappoint. Not quite as creamy as the previous year and with plenty of bright fruit.
  • 2013 Petit Manseng — Last year’s Petit Manseng was rather like “someone squashed a pineapple in your face.” This version is less pineapple and more mango or guava. Still too sweet for me to enjoy on it’s own, but when paired with curry cayenne popcorn…YUM.

Glen Manor Vineyards is by far my favorite winery in Virginia. Their staff is friendly, the wine is outstanding, and though no longer a bargain, the wine is still better priced for the quality than most Virginia wineries. If you’ll be out in the Shenandoah Valley or Winchester area, it’s a must see!


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