One of the reasons regional wine has always done so poorly with the Winestream Media is that it doesn ?t lend itself to iconic and cult wines. The critics and reviewers prefer wines, usually red, made by celebrity winemakers that they can get all silly about.
There just aren ?t many of those in the other 47 states, whether because the wines aren ?t expensive enough or no one knows about them or the winemakers aren ?t famous enough. It certainly isn ?t about quality, because most of the top regional states produce top-flight expensive wine.
The best may be the Octagon ($50, sample, 13.5%), made by Luca Paschina, who would probably be a celebrity winemaker if he was working in California. Instead, he is in Virginia, where his consolation is making some of the best wine in the United States. His viognier always makes me smile, even at $22 (and I have wanted to do a Texas-Virginia viognier showdown for years). And the Octagon is a step beyond that.
It ?s a Bordeaux blend centered around merlot that shows off Virginia ?s terroir and style ? a powerful wine that isn ?t showy, high in alcohol, or too fruity. Look for dark fruit (plums?) and nooks and crannies of complexity, all of which is bound together by some amazing tannins. This is wine made to age, and may seem rough now. But give it some time, and you ?ll wonder how someone can make this great a wine and be so little known outside of Virginia.
Availability is limited, but it ?s still worth looking for. Highly recommended.