Two for Tuesday: Virginia Wineworks and Champion Brewing
1) Bag in the Box 2009 Cabernet Franc from Virginia Wineworks. Is boxed wine the new screw cap? After meeting some resistance from wine traditionalists, the screw cap has now turned the corner and appears destined for broad acceptance. Could boxed wine be next? Don’t get us wrong. We enjoy the ceremony of opening a proper bottle of wine. There are sensory experiences to wine beyond mere taste: the feel of the glass bottle, the pop of the cork, the wine splashing into the glass. But, if the price is right, some consumers may be willing to forego the pomp and circumstance.
Virginia Wineworks is betting they will, with last year’s release of the value-oriented series of Bag in the Box wines, made with grapes grown throughout Virginia. Our favorite is the 2009 Cabernet Franc. While it may not earn record-breaking scores from Robert Parker, it has already won well-deserved praise and succeeds at being just what it claims to be: a soft, approachable red for everyday meals and occasions. Best of all is the price: $35 per box, which contains four bottles of wine. With a shelf life of many weeks after opening, this hits a price point that can be difficult for Virginia wines to reach: the $8-$10 per-bottle range targeted by many household budgets for everyday wines. The recyclable packaging is also eco-friendly, and the transportation of the boxes is much less costly than that of trucking bottles. Well-priced and eco-friendly? That seems like something that could catch on in Charlottesville. Perhaps other area vineyards will follow. Available now at Beer Run.
2) Missile IPA at Champion Brewing Company. Hunter Smith’s new brewery, recently opened on 6th St SE at the foot of the Belmont Bridge, is off to a promising start. Of the Champion beers we’ve tried, our favorite is the Missile IPA (7% ABV, 65 IBUs), but that may be because it is tailor-made for hopheads like us. While some IPAs seek to balance the style’s signature heavy dose of hops with a solid malt backbone, Champion’s well-named Misile IPA is all about hops, which come right at you. And, we like it that way. Unapologetically bitter, the dry-hopped West-Coast style IPA’s blend of Simcoe, Cascade, and Summit hops dominates the malt. The fact that there is no food served on site means customers can bring their own or, better yet, order delivery. We’ll be back to see how Champion progresses.