Photo Courtesy of CrossKeys Vineyards
Of all the wines you have made, which is your favorite and what makes it your favorite? Petit Verdot. I love the dimension and structure that I can get from it. The Petit Verdot varietal has incredible aromatics with bold characteristics, however it’s not too overwhelming and overall satisfies my palate. Do you have any new projects or events on the horizon? We are planting more vines this year to fulfill our needs for future yield/production. After that, we will be expanding the winery. CrossKeys’s overall success has outgrown the current winery, and in order to process the increased production needs, we will need to expand. What are your goals and aspirations for the Virginia wine industry? The Virginia wine industry has come a long way in the last decade plus. Virginia wines have shown well compared to other U.S. regions and countries, and we are slowly starting to receive recognition as a wine region. I would like to see the Virginia wine industry start to expand outside the state of Virginia so that we can be known as an established wine region throughout the country. What do you feel personally ties you to Jefferson’s Virginia? I came to Virginia in 2003 and started my U.S. winemaking career here in the Virginia Monticello wine region, so I feel very connected here. Over the last 14-plus years, I have transformed my style and techniques to emphasize the best flavors of various varietals and blends that thrive here.
What bottle of wine is open in your kitchen right now? My wife and I love the Meritage 2014. Its dark fruit aroma and palate makes it an enjoyable wine to drink, but we also love pairing it with a nice steak or a grilled rack of lamb. Corks vs. Screw Caps? Wood barrels vs. Stainless? I based my choice on the wine that I am trying to create. For wines that I would like to see aging in the bottle to bring out more characters in the wine, I will use wood barrels for aging and corks when bottling. For a wine that’s purpose is to be fruity and elegant and to be consumed young, I like to keep it simple and use steel tanks and screw caps. Do you see yourself as a scientist or an artist? I feel I am more of an artist. I like to work with the foundation flavors of grapes and layer them on top of each other to create wines that are aromatic and flavorful. I believe it is that creative nature that guides my decisions when I am making wine. In closing, what would you like to share with wine consumers? I believe wine is truly about the experience a person has. For the consumer, there is no right answer to which wine is best, only which wine you enjoy. Find your “go to” wine that you can enjoy from day to day, but also challenge yourself from time to time so you can experience what other flavors, different varietals and blends can offer. This will help you broaden your wine tasting horizon and learn how to experience more after every new tasting. ~