Top Winemakers Talk Grapes at Stone Tower

Winemakers from across Virginia gathered in a sunny room overlooking rolling vineyards at Stone Tower Winery to talk grapes on Tuesday.

Stone Tower Winery winemaker Tim Crowe describes the process by which he created the 2013 Hogback Mountain. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)
Stone Tower Winery winemaker Tim Crowe describes the process by which he created the 2013 Hogback Mountain. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)

The makers of the 12 wines selected for the 2016 Virginia Governor’s Cup Case congregated to talk about their wines, what they did, and what they’d like to do in the future, at the first of four such seminars.

“The objective is to let anybody who wants to come and see where the bar is set in terms of the best winemaking in the state,” said Jay Youmans, who led the tasting and discussion. Youmans, one of only 38 Americans to earn the Master of Wine distinction, also selected the Governor’s Cup judges.

“Putting the way the wines taste together with what the winemakers were saying about their methodology, that was what was interesting,” said Tim Crowe, Stone Tower’s winemaker. Stone Tower’s 2013 Hogback Mountain blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot was one of the 12 wines selected from among 432 entries selected for the Governor’s Cup Case.

The 12 wines selected for the 2016 Governor’s Cup, four whites and eight reds, wait for a tasting. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)
The 12 wines selected for the 2016 Governor’s Cup, four whites and eight reds, wait for a tasting. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)

Youmans said Virginian winemakers are “not afraid” to collaborate and share their secrets.

“There is a great level of cooperation and camaraderie in the state,” Youmans said.

Doug Fabbioli, co-founder and winemaker at Fabbioli Cellars in Leesburg, and Jay Youmans talk about Fabbioli’s 2012 Cabernet Franc Reserve, one of 12 wines from across the state selected for the 2016 Governor’s Cup Case. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)
Doug Fabbioli, co-founder and winemaker at Fabbioli Cellars in Leesburg, and Jay Youmans talk about Fabbioli’s 2012 Cabernet Franc Reserve, one of 12 wines from across the state selected for the 2016 Governor’s Cup Case. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)

The Governor’s Cup, he said, is one of the most rigorous wine competitions in the world, but the result is international recognition for Virginia wines. Judges are selected from around the United States and Europe, and the Governor’s Cup Case is sent to writers and wine experts around the world to spread the word.

“I would go so far as to say Virginia probably has as good or better recognition in Loudoun as it does in San Francisco,” Youmans said.

The three remaining seminars will be at Barboursville Vineyards in Barboursville on April 19, Naked Mountain Winery in Markham on May 3, and Keswick Vineyards in Keswick on May 17.

The four white wines from the 2016 Governor’s Cup Case chill at Stone Tower Winery. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)
The four white wines from the 2016 Governor’s Cup Case chill at Stone Tower Winery. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)
The eight red wines from the 2016 Governor’s Cup Case on display at Stone Tower Winery. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)
The eight red wines from the 2016 Governor’s Cup Case on display at Stone Tower Winery. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)

rgreene@loudounnow.com
@RenssGreene

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