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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Petit Wines Dominate Governor's Cup Competition

John Marshall Hotel
Richmond, Virginia

York had a terrific time representing the Wine Dogs at the 2017 Governor's Cup Gala. It was an exciting evening. Paws up to The Barns at Hamilton Station team for their "Best in Show" victory (read more here).

Wine Dog York at Governor's Cup Gala with pet-friendly Cross Keys Winery team.  
Five Wine Dog takeaways from the 2017 Governor's Cup Competition.

Petit Grapes Dominated the Case: Our Petite Pups couldn't help but notice that, of the 12 wines in the Governor's Cup Case, seven had petit at the front of their name. Five Petit Verdots (from Ingleside, Jefferson, King Family, Valley Road, and Veritas) and two Petit Mansengs (King Family and Veritas). Petit Verdot is also part of the blend in the two Meritages in the case (Breaux and Michael Shaps). What is it about those small berries that thrives in Virginia?

Emily Pelton pours the Veritas 2014 Petit Verdot Paul Shaffer 6th Edition, one of seven petit wines to make the case.
Winemakers with the Midas Touch: Two winemakers crafted nine of the 23 wines earning gold in this year's Governor's Cup Competition. Michael Shaps was the winemaker for the top dog 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from The Barns at Hamilton Station (as well as their gold-medal winning Meritage). He also produced two gold medalists at Michael Shaps Wine Works.
Michael Shaps with his 2014 Meritage, one of four gold medalists he crafted, including the Governor's Cup winning Cabernet Sauvignon.
Winemaker Matthieu Finot brought in three gold medals for the King Family Vineyards (Loreley, Petit Verdot, and the Brut). He is also the winemaker for newcomer Valley Road Vineyards (Petit Verdot) and the consulting winemaker for Ingleside (Petit Verdot).
Pouring the award winning Petit Verdot for Ingleside Vineyards. Matthieu Finot is the consulting winemaker. 
Monticello AVA Is Virginia's Sweet Spot: Mr. Jefferson will be smiling as wines from his beloved Monticello AVA rack up the awards. Nine of the wines in the case are from producers in the region - Barboursville, Horton, Jefferson, King Family (2), Michael Shaps, Valley Road, and Veritas (2). And while the Governor's Cup is heading to Loudoun County, home to The Barns at Hamilton Station, the grapes were grown in vineyards in the Charlottesville area.
Amanda Charette and Janice Satafora with Jefferson Vineyard's two gold medalists - the 2014 Petit Verdot (in the case) and 2012 Meritage. Jefferson is very dog friendly, using the same rule for dogs and children: "As long as they are well behaved and quiet, they can stay."
Virginia Continues to See Red: There are four whites in this year's Governor's Cup Case, because, well, the rules require that both reds and whites be represented in the case (at least one-third from the minority which is inevitably white). This year, the competition's affirmative action for whites resulted in three dessert wines (Barboursville, King Family, and Veritas) and an outstanding Viognier from Horton. It was Dennis Horton, incidentally, who introduced Viognier to Virginia in 1989. Viognier is the official state grape.
Caitlin, Shannon and Dennis Horton with Virginia's signature Viognier, the only dry white to make the case.
Newcomers Welcome: Virginia's list of wineries tops 260 and continues to grow. Two noteworthy newcomers claimed gold in this year's competition. Upper Shirley Vineyards in Charles City County opened their tasting room at an historic estate on the James River on February 26, 2016, and celebrated their first anniversary with a Governor's Cup gold for their 2014 Zachariah, a blend of Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Tanat.
Suzy and Tayloe Dameron celebrate the first anniversary of Upper Shirley Vineyards with Governor's Cup gold.
Valley Road Vineyard opened their doors this fall and already has earned a coveted spot in the Governor's Cup case. The excellent 2014 Petit Verdot was made by King Family Vineyards' winemaker Matthieu Finot. The Wine Dogs look forward to taking in the breathtaking views into the Rockfish Valley from this Afton winery.
Scott Link displays Valley Road Vineyard's case-making Petit Verdot.
York left the Governor's Cup Gala stuffed - but of course, he arrived that way.


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