Stinson Vineyards, 2016 Meritage, Monticello | Virginia, USA

By Dirk Smits

Wine of the WeekMarch 15, 2021

Virginia’s wine timeline stretches back to when colonists planted vines in the early 1600s. But it’s a chronology of fits and starts, wars and tumult, native varieties and hybrids, tobacco and teetotalling, until the 1970s. That’s when an idea first hatched by Thomas Jefferson in 1807 — Vitis vinifera flourishing in Virginia — at last reached commercial viability.

When much of the wine world dismissed Virginia viticulture as a lost cause, an eclectic handful of individuals pressed on — from European immigrants with wine in their DNA, to dairy farm matriarchs with a thirst for something different. One hard-earned vintage after another, these pioneers set the tone for the industry to come — curious, collaborative, and stubborn in the face of setbacks.

What began as a scattered handful of wineries would approach 50 by the mid-1990s. In less than a decade that number would double. Today, with nearly 300 wineries and counting, Virginia winemakers and wine lovers alike are reaping the fruits of those early experiments.

Stinson Vineyards is a family-run boutique winery located at the scenic foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Nestled in “downtown” White Hall, the historic property specializes in small lot wines with a distinct French influence. Traditional French winemaking methods are employed under the guidance of winemaking consultant Matthieu Finot, including whole berry fermentation for reds and sur lie aging (on the spent yeast lees) for whites. Focus is placed on European-style wines that emphasize subtlety and complexity rather than power and super-ripeness.

Stinson Vineyards, Meritage, Monticello, Virginia 2016

Origin: Monticello, Virginia, USA
Varietals: 35% Petit Verdot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot
Sustainability: Sustainable practices
Suggested retail price: $31.99
ABV: 13.5%

The wine offers aromas of ripe red fruit and a fine touch of exotic spices. The mouth is very balanced with juicy acidity, well integrated oak and a return of the red fruit and spices, and finishing with fine elegance.

Suggested food pairings: pasta with meat sauce, roasted chicken, veal, lamb, steak, roasted or grilled vegetables cheeses.

> For more information, visit the Stinson Vineyards official website.