It’s a familiar story: The wine columnist heads out to pick up a bottle of Viognier for the whole gang and a couple of weeks go by. Knowing him, we think J. Tobias Beard might be arrested in his tracks in front of a selection of young whites that hint at apricot and spring flowers. But no worries. This hiatus provides a good occasion to review a few pointers about Virginia wines that we’ve picked up from The Working Pour.—ed.
1. What did Thomas Jefferson, Virginia’s first oenophile, famously say about wine?
a) “Nineteen bucks?! Are you kidding me? I can get an Australia Shiraz for $8.”
b) “Mmm, robust notes of granite and pum-ice, with a hint of lemon on the finish.”
c) “Good wine is a necessity of life for me.”
2. Who did Governor Baliles call “The First Lady of Virginia Wine?”
a) Dolley Madison
c) Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott
3. In the trade, “malo” refers to what?
a) Short for “Malox,” the preferred aperitif of wine distributors.
b) Duh. Natural de-acidification and soft-ening of the wine’s palate by converting malic acid to lactic acid in a process of secondary fermentation. Give us a hard question!
c) Mine is broken. Can I get another pencil?
Barboursville’s Luca Paschina
4. What is the favorite geometric shape of Barboursville winemaker and multiple Governor’s Cup winner Luca Paschina?
a) Octagon. His outstanding Barboursville Vineyards Octagon Eighth Edition 2005 was served at one of Barack and Michelle Obama’s formal inauguration dinners, among many other honors.
b) Square. For more than 30 years, everyone’s been welcome at the Barboursville Vineyards tasting room.
c) Circle. What goes around comes around. You take care of the vines, the vines take care of you.
5. When Virginia wines were exhibited at last month’s London International Wine Fair, how were they received?
a) By a stern bobbie at the Customs gate.
b) “Virginia? Loved Mrs. Dalloway. Can’t remember Orlando. Didn’t realize she was a drinker.”
c) “We are plenty surprised about Virginia wines.”
6. Micro-oxygenation means what to Virginia wine lovers?
a) That Patricia Kluge is trying to get all Mondovino on the local industry by employing a controversial French consultant who successfully manipulates wines to suit the palate of the world’s most powerful wine critic, Robert Parker.
b) It’s like micro-greens, but you inhale it instead of digest it.
c) That the Democratic gubernatorial wannabes are sucking up so much air, the rest of us in the state have to take shallower breaths.
7. How many tons of grapes did Virginia harvest last year to make it the seventh-largest producer in the nation?
8. If you had to choose just one Virginia wine to bring to a desert island, what would it be?
a) 2005 Linden Hardscrabble Chardonnay
b) 2007 Michael Shaps Cabernet Franc
c) 2006 Jefferson Vineyards Merlot
Answer Key: 1) c; 2) b; 3) b; 4) a; 5) c; 6) a; 7) c; 8) a, b, and c.