Saturday, June 25, 2016

Clarksburg, Part 2

Viognier (VEE-ohn-yay) is one of the handful of grapes worldwide that may be considered to be noble.  When grown in the right terroir with the right winemaking talent, Viognier can be about as good as any white wine, period.  The finest Viognier comes from Condrieu and Chateau Grillet in the northern Cotes du Rhone and there will be no threat to that title since the old vine/older strains of Viognier there don't exist elsewhere.  Notoriously difficult to grow, Viognier is now being attempted everywhere around the world.  We shall await the results.

Chenin Blanc (she-NEEN blahn) is very much the opposite of Viognier.  It is the most ordinary of grapes everywhere but reaches its epitome in Vouvray in the Loire Valley of France.  Since this is a commercial industry, Chenin Blanc plantings are in decline everywhere just as Viognier is on the rise except in Clarksburg where both do remarkably well.  With soils similar to Vouvray, Chenin Blanc has become the signature white grape of the region.

Wilson Vineyards of Clarksburg is in all likelihood the source of most of the Chenin Blanc and Viognier being bottled by wineries outside of Clarksburg.  Started in 1920, Wilson has the industry relationships in place and the mature vines to produce serious fruit.  Our Terre d'Oro white blend is definitely Wilson product as is our White Knight Viognier.  The Pine Ridge and Dry Creek whites are probably from them also.

The premier red grape of Clarksburg is Petite Sirah and the current examples in the store include Handcraft and The Crusher.

Just as a disclaimer, our promotion of the wines of Clarksburg is not to say they are world class.  They're just better than you would think they should be.

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