“We could in the United States make as great a variety of wines as are made in Europe, not exactly of the same kinds, but doubtless as good.”
Thomas Jefferson said it best, and we like to think good ol’ TJ would be proud of the ever-growing Napa-esque wine culture in the Charlottesville area. The Monticello Wine Trail consists of more than two-dozen wineries within the Monticello American Viticultural Area (the first established American Viticultural Area in Virginia), inspired by Jefferson’s winemaking vision. It’s a friendly and collaborative local industry for sure, but there’s always room for some competition, like the Monticello Wine Cup Awards held earlier this month.
“It’s fairly serious in the sense that we, the wineries, have dominated the Governor’s Cup for years, winning somewhere between 45 and 50 percent of the gold medals,” says Glass House Winery owner and Monticello Wine Trail President Jeff Sanders. “Some of the top wines from Virginia are from this area, so this is a competition among wineries here.”
Each of the eight judges—including local sommeliers, wine shop owners and wine writers—sampled half of the roughly 80 wines entered in the contest and ranked them using the UC Davis 20-point wine scoring system, and those that received gold status were then retasted by the entire panel.
Barboursville Vineyards took home the Monticello Cup this year for the 2010 Petit Verdot Reserve, a “distinctly darkly colored and assertively tannic blending varietal of Bordeaux.” With its flavors of licorice and black currant, the Petit Verdot pairs well with red meats with rosemary, thyme and mushrooms.
“I am particularly grateful that the PV 10 has won this Monticello Cup because I have been patient and diligent in storing 1,000 bottles in aging for the past few years, knowing that a powerful wine like this one needed time before showing elegance and strength at the same time,” says Luca Paschina, Barboursville Vineyards winemaker.
Michael Shaps Wineworks won the award for Top Rated White Wine for the 2015 Viognier, and Sanders says the competition only includes a top-rated category just below the cup award when a truly exemplary wine deserves the recognition.
Twenty-two wines won gold medals, including Afton Mountain Vineyards, Cardinal Point Winery, First Colony Winery, Pollak Vineyards and Trump Winery (making wine great again). Silver medals went to 30 different wines, and 10 wines received bronze awards.
Sustainability across the states
We already know that Virginia can’t get enough of this whole local food thing, which is why Charlottesville-based startup Foodwaze has been so successful, but what about the other 49 states? The Foodwaze app and website connect consumers with places that value and produce food that is sustainable—it allows users to access information about restaurants, farms and shops that the founders have gleaned and verified as sustainable.
The business has attracted some national attention, according to co-founder Michael Reilly, and The Foodwaze Challenge will launch on Sunday, May 1, on Barnraiser.us to determine which states are just as passionate about sustainability and responsible food production as Virginia. For $1, anyone from any state can contribute to the campaign, and for each state that meets its fundraising goal, Foodwaze will “commit personnel to expanding its online and mobile listings there as soon as possible.”
“People all over the country can have their voices heard, and stand up to be counted and let us know they’re interested in our service coming to our area,” Reilly says. “We want to make it fun and energizing and see where the passion is.”
The goal, Reilly says, is to provide information for consumers everywhere, especially in areas that may not already be known for their local and sustainable efforts.
“We want to help connect people to those places that are doing an amazing job that are off the beaten path or in places that you just wouldn’t really know about,” Reilly says.
Nude Fude will host the campaign’s launch party on Saturday, April 30, starting at 4pm.
Butter is better?
Yeah, yeah, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We all know it, and so many of us skip it anyway. You may have heard about a new trend that knocks out those morning calories for you with something you’re already dependent on: coffee. Health nuts are mixing butter (yes, butter), MCT oil and protein powder into their hot cups of morning coffee as a meal replacement.
“Adding in protein and different healthy fats and oils serves as good energy in the morning, and it’s also going to give you between 300 and 450 calories, so it’s a full breakfast,” says Complete Nutrition Manager Mitchell Parks, who drinks protein coffee regularly. “Plus, it’s frothy and delicious.”
It’s hard to imagine willingly mixing butter into a perfectly good cup of coffee, but Parks says it will keep you full and energized for up to six hours. And allegedly it tastes pretty good. Last Saturday Complete Nutrition held a free protein coffee bar, and the guys behind the counter can get you started if you’re curious about buttering up your morning joe.