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Jefferson Vineyards Wine Blog


Chris Ritzcovan
April 25, 2024 | Chris Ritzcovan

Welcome to Jefferson Vineyards: Charlottesville VA Winery at Its Finest

Welcome to Jefferson Vineyards: Charlottesville VA Winery at Its Finest

Welcome to Jefferson Vineyards: Charlottesville VA Winery at Its Finest

Experience the finest Charlottesville, Virginia has to offer at Jefferson Vineyards. Nestled in the heart of the picturesque Charlottesville and the Monticello American Viticultural Area (AVA), our Charlottesville winery boasts a rich heritage that we delight in sharing with our visitors.

Explore the captivating history of Jefferson Vineyards, established in 1774 by Thomas Jefferson's protégé, Philip Mazzei. Uncover our devotion to sustainable farming and the intricate artistry involved in producing every bottle of our award-winning Virginia wine.

Savor our delectable wines and food pairings from the Vine food truck, thoughtfully designed to elevate your culinary experience. Plan your ideal visit to Jefferson Vineyards, one of the best wineries in Charlottesville, where tastings, tours, and stunning vineyard views await.

Join our exclusive Wine Club to stay updated with our latest offerings, events, and special promotions. We eagerly anticipate welcoming you to Jefferson Vineyards, the leading Charlottesville VA winery.

And don’t miss a visit to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s mountaintop home and plantation.  Home of the author of the Declaration of Independence and a world heritage site. There are many ways to experience Monticello.  From guided tours to independent experiences, find what works best for your schedule and interests.

The History and Legacy of Jefferson Vineyards: A Premier Charlottesville VA Winery

Discover Thomas Jefferson's instrumental role in the establishment of Virginia's wine industry. As the third President of the United States and a fervent wine aficionado, Jefferson's passion for wine and his faith in Virginia's potential for wine production led him to lay the groundwork for the thriving wine industry we see today.

Embrace the unique terroir and vineyards of Jefferson Vineyards, perfectly situated in the heart of Charlottesville, Virginia. Our vineyards flourish in the Monticello AVA's unique terroir, featuring rolling hills, well-drained soils, and a moderate climate. These elements contribute to the production of superior grapes, resulting in top-tier wines. At Jefferson Vineyards, one of the best wineries in Charlottesville VA, we pride ourselves on our commitment to sustainable farming, ensuring the preservation of our vineyards for future generations.

Learn about the meticulous winemaking process at Jefferson Vineyards. Each step, from hand-picking the grapes to crafting each wine, is executed with precision and dedication. Our winemakers utilize traditional methods and modern advancements to produce wines that encapsulate the unique flavors and characteristics of the grapes at our Virginia winery.

The History and Legacy of Jefferson Vineyards: A Premier Charlottesville VA Winery


Experience Award-Winning Wines at One of the Best Wineries in Charlottesville

At Jefferson Vineyards, we take pride in offering an acclaimed selection of wines that will satisfy even the most discerning palate. From the elegance of our Viognier to the robust flavor of our Cabernet Franc, each bottle is created with passion and expertise.

Our commitment to an exceptional experience extends beyond our wines. The Vine food truck offers a variety of food pairings that highlight the remarkable flavors of locally sourced ingredients. These pairings are designed to enhance your tasting experience, perfectly balancing the flavors of Virginia wine and cuisine.

What distinguishes us from other Charlottesville wineries is our unwavering commitment to sustainable and organic winemaking practices. We believe that exceptional wine begins with superior grapes, and we dedicate ourselves to nurturing our vineyards with sustainable farming methods and without harmful chemicals.

Plan Your Ideal Visit to One of the Best Wineries in Charlottesville, VA: Jefferson Vineyards

At Jefferson Vineyards, we aim to provide an unforgettable experience for all our visitors. Whether you're a wine enthusiast or simply seeking a tranquil day in the stunning Charlottesville, VA area, we have everything to make your visit perfect.

Explore our vineyard during our regular hours, from 11:30 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Sunday. Leisurely wander through our lush vineyards, take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, and learn about our winemaking process.

Enhance your visit with our tour options. Join a guided tour for an in-depth understanding of our vineyard and wines, or embark on a self-guided tour at your own pace. Enjoy our wine tasting experiences to uncover the rich flavors and aromas of our award-winning wines.

For your private event or wedding, Jefferson Vineyards provides a picturesque venue. Our vineyard setting offers a romantic backdrop for your special day, and our dedicated events team will work closely with you to create a personalized and unforgettable experience.

We look forward to welcoming you to Jefferson Vineyards, one of the best wineries in Charlottesville, where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of Charlottesville, VA while enjoying exceptional wines and hospitality.

Explore the Beautiful Charlottesville Wine Region

Charlottesville, VA is the ultimate destination for wine lovers. The region’s Monticello Wine Trail is home to some of the finest wineries.  Jefferson Vineyards is proud to be part of this vibrant wine community.

While visiting Jefferson Vineyards, we encourage you to explore the other wineries in the Charlottesville area, each offering a unique selection of wines and atmosphere. Beyond wine, the Charlottesville area is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, offering a variety of outdoor activities, from hiking and biking to hot air balloon rides.

After a day of wine tasting at some of the best wineries in Charlottesville VA, rest and rejuvenate in one of Charlottesville's accommodations. Whether you prefer a cozy bed and breakfast, a boutique hotel, or a luxury resort, you'll find the perfect place to stay just a short drive from Jefferson Vineyards.

Become a Member of Our Wine Club at Jefferson Vineyards: A Top Charlottesville VA Winery

Becoming a member of our wine club is the perfect way to enhance your experience at Jefferson Vineyards.  As a member, you'll enjoy exclusive benefits and discounts, making your visits to one of the best wineries in Charlottesville even more enjoyable.

As a club member, you'll be among the first to taste and purchase our limited-edition releases and receive invitations to special events held at our winery. Stay updated on all the latest news at Jefferson Vineyards through our newsletter and social media channels.

Become a member of our wine club today and enjoy the exclusive benefits that make Jefferson Vineyards the premier winery in Charlottesville, VA. We look forward to welcoming you as a valued member of our wine club!

Time Posted: Apr 25, 2024 at 7:58 AM Permalink to Welcome to Jefferson Vineyards: Charlottesville VA Winery at Its Finest Permalink
Heather Lavelle
March 15, 2023 | Heather Lavelle

Virginia Governor's Cup Awards

Chris Ritzcovan, Winemaker, next to Governor Youngkin

We are deeply honored and humbled to have been recognized with two of the top twelve wines in this year’s Virginia Governor’s Cup competition! February 23rd, at the Virginia Governor’s Cup Gala in Richmond, our 2019 Meritage and 2021 Petit Manseng won gold medals and made it into the Governor’s Cup Case. 

As well, we received two other gold medals for our 2019 Petit Verdot Reserve “Upper Vineyard” and 2019 Petit Verdot Reserve. That's four total gold medals with two being in the Governor’s Case!

What a spectacular night and an amazing accomplishment!!

Every year Virginia wineries enter this prestigious competition vying for the coveted Governor’s Cup (the top wine in the state). This year 614 wines were entered, and 142 gold medals were awarded. Within the 142 golds, twelve were selected to be in the Governor’s Case and one of those received the prestigious Governor’s Cup. 

The tradition and elegance of Meritage continues with our 2019 vintage. This Bordeaux style wine is a blend of 45% Merlot, 40% Petit Verdot, 12% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Malbec. Entirely estate grown and aged 20 months in oak. Decadent red fruit and cedar on the nose, with flavors of cocoa, currant and macadamia nuts.  The finish is round with medium tannins. This red blend is age worthy, detailed, and precisely balanced.

Our 2021 Petit Manseng was sourced from Silver Creek Orchard in Nelson County. We have partnered with Silver Creek for over a decade. With a different microclimate, their fruit provides a varying degree of flavors and textures. Our 2021 was aged 6 months in oak to provide balance. Petit Manseng needs to be tamed. Honey, tropical notes, and spice on the nose lead into a full-bodied palate of pineapple and stone fruit flavors.  Hint of grapefruit lend to the bright, lengthy finish.

Here are some of the notes from the prestigious judges.

2019 Meritage- Nose: “Black cherry, herbal notes.” “Black currants, tart blueberries, purple flowers, thyme and other herbs, wood and cedar, potting soil.” Palate: “Cedar, black currant leaf, blackberry jam, wet leaves.” “Flavors of blackberry, black cherry, rounded medium tannins, pleasant aftertaste of blackberry, black cherry.”

2021 Petit Manseng- Nose: “Refreshing, tangy flavors of lime zest, pineapple, ripe peaches.” “Bright citrus and tropical notes.” Palate: “Verdant notes, fruit fresh. Brisk acidity, good balance, lengthy finish of complexity and nuance.” “Bright acidity, rich texture, nice concentration, nice complexity, long finish.”

2019 Petit Verdot Reserve “Upper Vineyard”- Nose: “violet, licorice, blackberry, explosive!! Wow!” “Floral, violet, licorice, black fruit.” Palate: “Blackberry, tannic backbone, violets”. “Dry, flavors follow nose, silky mouth feel, ripe tannins, medium length.”

2019 Petit Verdot Reserve- Nose: “powerful nose, with black currants, spices, purple lavender and violets, some peppery notes.” “Cedarwood, oak spice, dark fruits.” Palate: “Palate is soft and jammy, very nice. Other notes as above, with some cocoa introduced. Nice wine, nice finish that is jammy, but still elegant and nuanced. Nice work here.” “Silky, bold tannins, rich texture, dense ripe fruit, nice concentration and complexity, long finish.”

A big thank you to the entire Jefferson Vineyards team that made this all happen! Remember wine is “made” in the vineyard. Our vineyard team is second to none. And we adore them! Let’s celebrate this momentous accomplishment.

We also want to congratulate our fellow Monticello Wine Trail colleagues at Delfosse Vineyards for taking home the 2023 Virginia Governor's Cup. Great job friends!

Time Posted: Mar 15, 2023 at 12:00 PM Permalink to Virginia Governor's Cup Awards Permalink
Anabelle Nuelle
October 13, 2022 | Anabelle Nuelle

The Incredible Guzman Family

For fourteen years, Hector Guzman and his family have cared for our vines.  He, his wife, and his children have each participated in caring for our precious vineyards.

“I love to work in agriculture,” Hector told us, and it is his extensive agricultural experience that brought him to Jefferson Vineyards. “I like and appreciate this place,” he continues, “Working in the countryside is also something very beautiful and it relaxes me.” Every day, he looks after every vine – doing all work by hand to ensure the vines receive the utmost care. “Thinning the canopy and leaf pulling are my favorite part of taking care of the vines” he explains. These critical processes take place over the summer months – a careful hand-made adjustment of the vines’ canopy to offer the grapes just the right degree of air and light to thrive.

Emily, Hector’s daughter, joined her father in caring for our vines about three years ago. She takes after her father in his enthusiasm and skill: “I enjoy working with my family and at Jefferson Vineyards because it is a very calm and happy place where I can still enjoy time with my family and learn more about the care of the vines that my dad knows of.  Like how to take care of the vines for them to grow healthy.  This year has been a great grape picking season and it was great due to all the great work my dad and everyone who helped him out to take care of the vines throughout the whole year.”

You’ll find Hector and his family most happily caring for the Chardonnay vines in our spectacular Upper Vineyard with views stretching across our estate’s rolling hills. Each task is completed by hand, each vine receives the ultimate care. It is to Hector and his family that we owe the vigor of our vines and the quality of our fruit. We are deeply grateful to have them as part of our team.

Time Posted: Oct 13, 2022 at 9:30 PM Permalink to The Incredible Guzman Family Permalink
Anabelle Nuelle
October 3, 2022 | Anabelle Nuelle

A Wine Transformed - Petit Verdot

In 1984 our vineyard and its vines were just a few years old, and even Virginia as a growing region was itself budding and new. Yet, taken by the potential of our land, we were fast at work developing the wine region to come. Our winemaker in 1984, Gabriele Rausse, who joined us after playing a critical role establishing Barboursville Vineyards, busied himself grafting new vines - many of which were the same varietals Thomas Jefferson himself has grown centuries prior. Among these experimental grafts was Petit Verdot.

Petit Verdot, pronounced “peh-tee vur-doe”, is a bold red wine. Hailing from France’s renowned Bordeaux region, it is one of the five grapes that typically compose the equally legendary Bordeaux blend. A dark and velvety hue in the glass, Petit Verdot is bold and distinguished. Deep fruit aromas like plum, blueberry, and dark cherry on the nose, with herbal flavors on the palate and warm tannins on the finish define this elegant wine. Historically, however, Petit Verdot was rarely showcased on its own.

The name “Petit Verdot” translates loosely to ‘little green one’, due mostly to its late ripening cadence, meaning the grapes were frequently still somewhat green by harvest’s time [1]. Accordingly, it was used in small amounts in blends, added to give tannic structure to the wine, and lend interesting tasting notes like violet or sage [2]. But no longer is Petit Verdot confined to a supporting role.

In 2001, Jefferson Vineyards was among the first Virginian vineyards to bottle a single varietal Petit Verdot. Two decades later, single varietal Petit Verdot maintains a place amongst our portfolio’s darlings. We showcase Petit Verdot as a single varietal wine, celebrated its strengths as a blending grape, and have used it as the foundation for many of our beloved Meritage blends (a new world take on the old world Bordeaux blend). Each iteration highlights the strength of this special varietal and we are humbled by the accolades we have collected for our Petit Verdot over the years.

How apt a varietal for October, a transitional season between Fall and Winter, then a varietal which itself has been transformed. Deep, velvety, and warm, Petit Verdot no longer is found listed only in the blend’s composition. It, as a single varietal wine, has shaped our trajectory for decades and has come to be celebrated as defining Virginian wine.

This October, we celebrate a grape that, though it is one of the last we harvested, is well worth the wait. Enjoy our oldest Petit Verdot as a single varietal, Petit Verdot 2016, with a bouquet of vanilla and caramel on the nose, coffee and berry flavors on the palate, and a warm, lingering finish with hints of cherry. Our 2018 Petit Verdot vintage opens with dried red fruit and hints of tobacco on the nose, the palate is smooth and integrated with vibrant fruit and black tea flavors, before a bright acidic finish with raspberry and sandy tannins. Or, enjoy a newer vintage - our 2019 Petit Verdot has dried fruit and oak on the nose, with a vibrant palate of red berry flavors before a bright, lingering finish filled with raspberry notes and warm tannins Alternatively, our 2017 Petit Verdot Reserve is made from only the best fruit. This lovely wine opens with aromas of vanilla and cedar, the palate displays berry, plum, and raisin flavors before tart cherry notes in the finish. Experience each (and more) in our Featured Wines Shop.





[1] "Guide to Petit Verdot Red Wine". Wine Folly, Wine Folly, 10 Mar. 2016,

[2] Ibid.

Time Posted: Oct 3, 2022 at 5:00 PM Permalink to A Wine Transformed -  Petit Verdot Permalink
Anabelle Nuelle
July 16, 2022 | Anabelle Nuelle

Heather Lavelle, Our Retail Operations Manager

"Let’s talk about aging and fermenting. No, I’m not talking about myself. Well, maybe. But let’s start with one of my favorites, Chardonnay. No this isn’t what you think. Chardonnay is probably the most versatile grape out there. Chardonnay has a style for everyone. 

2019 was a spectacular year in Virginia wine. Here at JV, we are so excited about all of our 2019 vintage. As for me, I’ve completely fallen head over heels in love with our 2019 Chard Reserve. I must say it’s my favorite wine Chris has ever made. Even better than the elusive 2016 Viognier. Why? It’s a perfectly balanced wine. The nose is light citrus, brioche, and vanilla. The palate is apple, pear, yellow peach, butterscotch, almond, brioche, and a touch of spice. The finish is long with butterscotch, brioche, apple, and pear. I would pair this with a heavily aged sharp cheese. Think cheddar, gouda, gruyere. As for our stainless-steel Chardonnay, the 2019 doesn’t disappoint. Need a little zip in your life? Our 2019 Chardonnay does the trick. Green apple, citrus, and licorice on the nose. On the palate, green apple, banana, and citrus. It finishes tropical, with bright acidity. It’s zippy. This is the perfect hot weather wine." 

- Heather Lavelle, Our Retail Operations Manager

To celebrate our 40th Anniversary and enjoy our Featured Wines, click here.

Time Posted: Jul 16, 2022 at 2:03 PM Permalink to Heather Lavelle, Our Retail Operations Manager Permalink
Anabelle Nuelle
May 13, 2022 | Anabelle Nuelle

Allison Scott, Office Manager

"Jefferson Vineyards' Vin Rouge is one of my favorite red wines, and July is my favorite month – surprisingly they pair really well together.  The juicy red strawberry and rose-scented notes of this wine bring back memories of warm summer evenings. The fruity qualities are even more delightful when the wine is served slightly chilled.  I love the surprising twist of slightly chilling a Boudreaux blend, and it’s a nice break when everyone is white wined out.  Pop it in the fridge for about 60-90 minutes before you want to serve, and it will be perfect! The Beaujolais qualities bring out the Francophile in me so I make a big plate filled with creamy semi-ripe cheese, chunky country pate, grilled bread – and call that dinner.  Every July I look forward to my annual family reunion, and this year I plan to pour my friends and family chilled Vin Rouge!"

- Allison Scott,  Our Office Manager

To celebrate our 40th Anniversary and enjoy our Limited Releases, click here.

Time Posted: May 13, 2022 at 1:40 PM Permalink to Allison Scott, Office Manager Permalink
Attila Woodward
April 27, 2022 | Attila Woodward

Jefferson Vineyards Wins Twice

We are deeply honored to have been recognized with two of the six top best wines in this year's Monticello Cup Competition.  Jefferson Vineyards won one of the top three best white wines for its 2019 Chardonnay Reserve.  It also won one of the top three best red wines in the red wine category for its 2019 Merlot Reserve.  We are humbled to have won a top place in both the red and white categories - the only winery to have received this distinction in the competition.  

Every year the Monticello Wine Trail, a gathering of some thirty-three wineries in the Monticello American Viticultural Area, hosts the Monticello Cup Competition.  The competition selects the top wines produced. Though a small competition, this region represents some of Virginia’s most consistently and highly awarded wineries - making this win even more special.

About The Wines

Our 2019 Chardonnay Reserve is an elegantly balanced wine and a winemaker’s favorite white wine.  Light toast and spice are greeted with flavors of pear and apple. This well-integrated wine finishes with citrus notes and great length. It was aged nine months in oak and drinks beautifully alone or paired with savory dishes of grilled shellfish and roasted white meats.  We are delighted that this beautiful Chardonnay is receiving the attention it deserves. 

Since releasing our 2019 Merlot Reserve two months ago, it has already garnered two gold medals.  The first gold was awarded by the 2022 Virginia Governor’s Cup Competition.  This wine greets your nose with currant, vanilla, and toasted fig.  The medium tannins and earthy qualities on the palate are balanced with black cherry and black tea notes.  The finish is long with black fruit.  Our 2019 Merlot Reserve pairs with soft cheeses like Brie or Camembert or lean meats like beef or pork tenderloin with butter sauce.

Blessed with a rich Jeffersonian wine history, we are overjoyed to be a part of this winemaking vision.  To do so with Chardonnay and Merlot makes it more special as these varietals now join the highly awarded ranks of our Viognier, Meritage, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot wine programs.  

Many congratulations to our winemaking and vineyard team, who continue to experiment and learn from this land.  A land where Thomas Jefferson and Philip Mazzei once cultivated Virginia’s dream of a winemaking endeavor that has become a reality today.

For a limited time you can order a special bundle of these wines with free shipping and a 10% discount.  Click here to order.

Our winemaker, Chris Ritzcovan (left) and Tasting Room Manager, Ashe Stone (right) share the cups honoring the best three reds and best three whites.

Time Posted: Apr 27, 2022 at 11:41 AM Permalink to Jefferson Vineyards Wins Twice Permalink
Anabelle Nuelle
December 1, 2021 | Anabelle Nuelle

Saving the Best for Last

As cooler temperatures settle in and begin warming up indoors, we’ve saved the best for last.

We at Jefferson Vineyards are celebrating our 40th Anniversary and looked back upon the last 4 decades. A viticultural vision conceived by a founding father and his Italian merchant friend; our land first grew grapes centuries ago. In these rolling hills nestled besides Virginia’s mountains Jefferson and Italian Viticulturalist, Phillip Mazzei, recognized terrain and climates capable of growing fine wines. Centuries later, an American diplomat enchanted by European wines had a similar vision. Founded first to bring friends, family, and guests from around the globe together around a bottle of wine. Shirley and Stanley Woodward established our vineyard in 1981. With the help of Gabriele Rausse, who had come to Virginia from Italy to help institute Barboursville Vineyards, we planted our first vines. Few other Virginian wineries existed at the time and our success followed ceaseless cycles of trial and error, resilience, and impassioned persistence.

In looking back, we found stories of resilience, of evolution, and of steadfast commitment to our core. Passed from generation to generation, Jefferson Vineyard’s story unfolded in the hands of family and friends. With it, our wine and wine programs too have evolved. The best of which are our Estate Reserve Wines into whose creation and production we have infused more thought, more consideration with each year, especially over the last four years.

Our winemaking team dedicates themselves fully to each wine. They could tell you everything about each barrel in our winery and every wine inside. Our Estate Reserve wines are the best of our already best efforts. Made from our vineyard’s best top fruit, Estate Reserve wines are given extra care from the vines to the bottle.

Estate Reserve wines come from our vineyards’ best finest blocks. Though we can’t control the weather or what pests choose to visit the vines, we take every precaution to protect our fruit and push it to optimal ripeness before harvesting. We added fencing and net nearly all of our vines to protect them from the elements and fauna. For the blocs we predict our Estate Reserve will come from, we drop fruit. When we drop fruit, we take, a quality over quantity approach that encourages the vines to pool their energy to what fruit remains hanging, while the dropped fruit is used elsewhere. As early as 2017, we began dedicating certain two-acre blocks to push the fruit to optimal ripeness, waiting as long as possible before harvesting to bring about higher sugar levels, higher tannin levels, deeper color, and more  - the best fruit.

When our greatest fruit reaches optimal sugar levels, we bring it to the winery and here we start the process of crafting it into our to become an Estate Reserve wines. Purposeful consideration continues. For Estate Reserve wines, our winemaking team prefers new, French oak barrels. Estate Reserve wines will age for far longer than our other wines. Where approximately eight months will do for our other wines, Estate Reserve wines age for sixteen to twenty-four months. The tighter grain of young French oak barrels better manages this aging process and lends a more elegant finish to the Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, or Viognier of which our Estate Reserves are so frequently comprised.

The varietals from which our Estate Reserve wines are usually created – Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Viognier -  are the varietals that grow best on our land. They capture the best expressions of this place, the potential of which engendered our story. The 2014 Estate Reserve, for instance, is a fine wine made entirely of Petit Verdot. Aromas of cherry layered with vanilla open before luxurious blackberry and raspberry flavors on the palate, followed by a velvety finish with ripe blueberry notes. Our 2016 Estate Reserve is also composed of Petit Verdot but a different vintage offers a different experience. Notes of vanilla, spice and fig on the nose, preface a balanced palate of plum and wet stone and a lengthy finish with spice, heavy tannins, and hints of cedar. The following year’s Estate Reserve, 2017 Estate Reserve, is based instead in Cabernet Franc, with notes of oak, herbs, and tobacco before a balanced palate and lengthy, refined finish. Our 2019 Estate Reserve White, on the other hand, opens with floral and ripe peach aromas. Soft layers of peach, lychee, and honeysuckle define the palate before a smooth, round finish with flavors of brown sugar and refreshing acidity. This elegant, refined Viognier wine just won a Double Gold medal at the prestigious 2021 San Francisco International Wine Competition, making it one of America’s finest wines.

Find these and more in our curated selection of Estate Reserve wines. So as we close a year of celebrating these past 40 years, we offer you tastes of our story from along the way - stretching as far back as 2012.

Time Posted: Dec 1, 2021 at 10:00 AM Permalink to Saving the Best for Last Permalink
Anabelle Nuelle
November 17, 2021 | Anabelle Nuelle

Allison Scott, Our Office Manager

Jefferson Vineyards isn’t the only one turning 40 this year.  November marks a big birthday for me also, and I intend to celebrate with one of my favorite bottles of Jefferson Vineyards wine, our beloved Meritage 2014.  The jammy nose and long herbaceous finish bring back memories of chilly fall evenings. And is delightful when served alongside a Thanksgiving meal; I prefer it towards the end of the meal, post-turkey!  Whether you are going for an all-out traditional feast or a vegan version for two this wine will elevate any celebratory meal.  This November in particular, I look forward to seeing my friends and family on Thanksgiving, and marking significant milestones together!

Time Posted: Nov 17, 2021 at 12:00 PM Permalink to Allison Scott, Our Office Manager Permalink
Anabelle Nuelle
November 1, 2021 | Anabelle Nuelle

A Meritage Tradition

Not too long ago we collected the last of our grapes from their vines. Now, they’re fermenting in the winery, tucked away becoming something new, something unique. Meanwhile, our holiday plans take shape. Once again, we’re only a few weeks away from the holiday season. Traditions continue and evolve. Though this year may not be the same as last year or the year to come, the sentiment remains - time reserved for one another, time dedicated simply to be together, sharing a meal. Whatever this holiday season may bring, we look to our Meritage wines to exemplify tradition re-invented.

Meritage: A History

To be called a ‘Meritage’, the producing winery must be a member of the Meritage Association and be blended solely from Bordeaux grape varietals. The term ‘Meritage’, and the associated alliance, was founded in the late 1980’s to create a New World term for wines blended in the tradition of Bordeaux [1]. Combining “merit” and “heritage”, “Meritage” is a nod to centuries of viticultural tradition preceding.

A Meritage wine must contain two or more of the Bordeaux varietals, none of which can comprise more than 90% of the total blend [2]. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, St. Macaire, Gros Verdot, or Carmenère are among the Bordeaux varietals. At Jefferson Vineyards, our Meritage blends are typically comprised of Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. With every year, the included varietals, and their composition change. Each vintage continues in the style and tradition of Meritage and the centuries of Bordeaux blends before it - silky texture and robust structure. But each vintage, unique in composition, each varietal influenced by that year’s terroir creates a distinct new Meritage.

An Evolving Legacy

Our 2013 Meritage, our oldest vintage, composed predominantly of Petit Verdot, opens with robust coffee aromas on the nose, the palate is bright and filled with flavors of blackberry and spice, before a long and lingering finish. Yet, 2014 Meritage, still comprised mostly of Petit Verdot, is strikingly different though produced just one year later. Where coffee aromas previously set the tone, notes of spice, cedar fennel, almond and berry open the 2014 vintage. On the palate, berry flavors again dominate but blueberry and raspberry flavors are especially pronounced before a vibrant berry finish that lingers as its antecedent did but is instead, infused with notes of vanilla and more spice.  The next iteration, 2015 Meritage, again maintains the Meritage family’s smooth and structured distinguishing characteristics but again, like each year’s iterations, differentiates itself. On the nose cedar, oak, and blackberry notes intertwine, the black cherry flavors preside over the palate with a bright acidity before more cherry and berry flavors mingle in the tannic finish with lingers spice notes. The pattern continues.

A Symbol of Tradition

The nuance of each Meritage expands the range of complementary food pairings, but certain combinations will never disappoint. For darker meats, fattier meats, nearly any Meritage will do. Chilled Meritage of any vintage balances the charcoal seasoning given to food by the grill. Enjoy your 2017 Meritage with roast pork, or our 2018 vintage with lamb. Explore Meritage from year to year, finding in each vintage a new food pairing, a new experience. Find the above-mentioned vintages and more in this month’s featured wines.

Meritage wines transform with every passing vintage while holding steadfast to wine’s core characteristics. It is a new experience with each year not dissimilar to the holiday traditions around the corner. Whatever traditions have or have not changed for you and your loved ones this holiday season, we hope you stay true to the core of your celebrations, stepping aside to cherish time together.

[1] What Is Meritage? - Meritage Alliance. Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

[2] Red Meritage - What Is Meritage? - Meritage Alliance. Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

Time Posted: Nov 1, 2021 at 8:05 AM Permalink to A Meritage Tradition Permalink