Not That Barboursville Vineyard
Of course, the mention of Barboursville, VA might make you think of one winery in particular. I love a visit to Barboursville Vineyards and encourage anyone who is skeptical of the quality of Virginia wine to try some of the wines produced there. Gianni Zonin acquired the estate where Barboursville is located in 1976 and runs this property along with numerous wineries throughout Italy. In fact, when demand for Barboursville’s sparkling wine exceeded availability, the winery had to outsource and now both the Barboursville Brut Cuvee and the Barboursville Brut Rose Cuvee are made with grapes from Mr. Zonin’s Tunuta Il Bosco estate in Oltrepo Pavese. You can find Barboursville wines throughout the state and country, and when you visit the winery, the experience is sweeping, grand, and fitting of a large-scale production facility that produces around 40,000 cases of wine per year.
Reynard Florence Shows Another Side of Virginia Wine
Today I want to talk about another winery in the region. Reynard Florence Vineyard is a boutique winery that offers a totally different and complementary experience on your visit to the Barboursville area. Husband and wife owners Dee and Roe also purchased the property where Reynard Florence is located in 1976, but rather than starting a winery, they built a home shortly after they were married. Dee and Roe raised their children and waited until later in life to decide they would like to open a winery on their property. Some couples might have hired a winemaker or simply started experimenting. Instead, they both decided to attend Piedmont Virginia Community College’s enology and viticulture programs. Roe then drew on past experiences with business and carpentry to design the vineyard and launch the business. Today the winery produces about 500 cases of wine per year from around 1,000 vines.
Visit Reynard Florence Vineyard
The tasting room is a small and comfortable building located right next to the vines. Inside, Roe and Dee are often leading tastings themselves, making for a fun, friendly and educational experience. They are happy to talk about the growing and winemaking process as you sample the day’s selection. Along with the winery’s latest Virginia wines by glass or bottle, guests can also purchase Kirs—classic French cocktails made from white wine and cassis syrup. Dee is a retired French teacher and the French inspiration is clear throughout the winery.
If you visit, make sure you also notice the range of foxes throughout the tasting room, along with the selection of antiques for purchase in the back room. I picked up a lovely set of cut crystal cordial glasses on my visit. Also, make sure to say hi to Ray the corgi who will hang by your feet hoping for a scratch and pet while you taste your wine.
A French Take on Virginia Wine
Now, let’s talk wine. The winery’s feature grape is Petite Manseng. With complex pear and honey flavors, this wine is known for containing both acidity and sweetness. Reynard Florence’s version is extremely popular and not always available for tasting, so if you get a chance, go for it.
On my visit, however, the winery’s reds stood out to me. I enjoyed the Petit Verdot, which was smoky and bold with hints of plum and flowers. Petit Verdot is one of those popular Virginia grapes that can go either way based on the winery, and I thought this one showcased the care that goes into production here.
My other favorite was the Recherche (meaning “much sought after” in French) Bordeaux-style blend. While single varietal wines often showcase the quality of the terroir, blends are often the place where you can catch a glimpse of the winemaker’s tastes and preferences. The 2013 Recherche blend combines Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot for a balanced, approachable blend with aromas of raspberries, cherries, cigar box and tobacco that turns silky smooth on the palate with additional hints of cranberry and a bit of eucalyptus on the finish. The smooth finish makes the wine easy to drink, but the complexity of flavors on the front will please more serious wine drinkers. This wine won the 2016 Governor’s Cup Silver Medal.
In addition, I recently picked up a bottle of the 2016 Governer’s Cup Silver Medal Winner Reynard Blanc 2014. A blend of Petit Manseng, Traminette, and Vidal Blanc, this white wine is ripe and juicy with lots of ripe pineapple and nectarine on the nose and palate with hints of lemon meringue, white flowers, and honeysuckle. While a wine with so much big, bold flavors and a heavy dose of Vidal Blanc could go sweet, the Petit Mangseng provides the right notes of slate and acidity on the finish to make for a well balanced summer sipper that I could drink by the pool every day. I was impressed by the amount of fruit flavor that came through without overwhelming sweetness.
If you don’t want to drive to Barboursville, you can also find a selection of Reynard Florence wines in the Virginia wine section at Once Upon a Vine. However, if you are in the area, you should definitely stop by this Virginia Winery.