Fresh and captivatingly vibrant, with a vivid sense of place. Tasting blind, the question is . . . what place? Is this from Santa Barbara?—the crispness, only faint hint of oak, lemon verbena notes and refreshing acidity is certainly reminiscent of Chardonnays from that part of California’s central coast. Is this some négociant’s Bourgogne?—light-bodiedness and familiar trace of grassiness and minerality would make French Burgundy a valid guess. Or is this a Columbia Valley white?—warmth, generosity of fruit, orange oil notes, roundness of texture, structure, it’s all there. Wine label revealed, one feels the excitement of venturing into new territory: Virginia territory.
Does anyone outside of Virginia really understand the sense of place of this wine region?—a stretch of land that straddles the East Coast and the South of the United States? Probably not. Though America’s oldest of original colonies, these days it is bustling with the lively energy of newness and excitement on the possibilities of becoming a new epicenter of winemaking on that side of the country (that is, the non-California side of the country). The 2013 STINSON VINEYARDS Chardonnay is a prime example of the burgeoning creativity that exists there. “New and exciting” is generally not a phrase to describe the pursuits of a typical wine collector. There is, after all, not much that is new and exciting about a Drouhin, Jadot, Leflaive or Romanée-Conti; people prize these Chardonnays for their historically-proven greatness. For those on the more adventurous side or who want to get in early on possibly the next big thing, seeking out this beautifully produced Chardonnay from Virginia would be a worthy pursuit. –J.M.