Williamsburg Winery’s 2019 Petit Verdot Reserve Achieves a Coveted Spot in 2023 Virginia Governor’s Cup® Case
Williamsburg, Virginia — Cheers to the Williamsburg’s Winery’s 2019 Petit Verdot Reserve!
This full-bodied red wine with dark fruit flavors and layers of dark chocolate and vanilla earned a coveted spot in the 2023 Virginia Governor’s Cup® Case, announced Thursday at a gala in Richmond.
The Virginia Governor’s Cup® is among the most stringent competitions in the United States, hosted by the Virginia Wineries Association in partnership with the Virginia Wine Board and the Virginia Vineyards Association. In 2023, world-class judges sampled 614 of the best Virginia wines, awarding 142 Gold Medals, with the top 12 meriting selection to the Virginia Governor’s Cup® Case.
“We’re doing very well in Virginia with Petit Verdot,” said Williamsburg Winery Founder Patrick Duffeler. “As Petit Verdot is a signature varietal in Virginia, this honor is very gratifying to our operation.”
Judging was led by Director Jay Youmans, one of 51 Masters of Wine in the United States, who has overseen the competition for 10 years. All wines submitted must be made from 100% Virginia fruit.
Petit Verdot, a late-ripening Bordeaux varietal, is one of the most competitive categories in the competition that showcases Virginia’s terroir. Virginia Wine notes, “traditionally used as a blending grape in Bordeaux, Petit Verdot has come into its own as a star varietal in Virginia.”
As of 2019, there were nearly 300 acres dedicated to Petit Verdot throughout the Commonwealth, making it the third most planted varietal in Virginia behind Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. In 2008, only 80 acres of Petit Verdot were planted in the state.
The 2019 Petit Verdot Reserve includes 65% of Petit Verdot grown at Wessex Hundred, the 400-acre farm that houses the Williamsburg Winery. Petit Verdot thrives at Wessex Hundred that is part of the Virginia Peninsula American Viticultural Area (AVA), distinguished by its subtropical climate, extended growing season and maritime features.
The remaining 35% of the grapes for the Petit Verdot come from growing partner Mount Juliet Farm in Crozet, Virginia.
The 2019 vintage stems from a near-perfect growing season that started with a mild winter that rolled into an early spring, leading to excellent fruit set and ultimately, a bountiful crop. A relatively mild summer that year followed by a warm autumn with cool nights and minimal rainfall the month before harvest were invaluable for maturing grapes.
“I believe the 2019 vintage to be the best I have experienced in Virginia for my tenure here,” said Matthew Meyer, winemaker at the Williamsburg Winery since 2002.
In his tasting notes, Meyer writes, “initially there are dates, figs and plums that give way to blueberry, dark cherry and blackberry. Next to the dark chocolate covered fruits is a lovely floral and fresh herb nuance. The oak comes through just enough to balance out the bold fruits. The tannins are firm yet approachable. Together, these attributes create a finish that is expressive, bold and well-integrated.”
The Williamsburg Winery’s decorated history in the annual competition includes winning the Governor’s Cup in 1989 and 2014. In 2022, the Williamsburg Winery earned a trifecta, awarded three Gold Medals for its 2019 Petit Manseng, 2017 Virginia Trianon and 2019 Wessex Hundred Petit Verdot — all signature varietals.
The Williamsburg Winery planted its first grapes and sold its first bottle of wine in 1987, back when only a few wineries existed in Virginia. It planted its first cluster of Petit Verdot in 2005. Today, wine is a burgeoning industry in the Commonwealth that is home to more than 300 wineries.
Petit Verdot pairs well with lamb, steak, rich sauces, barbecue and strong cheeses.
The 2019 Petit Verdot Reserve can be purchased for $49 at the Williamsburg Winery’s retail shop.