August 22 – “When we first set eyes on the beautiful hills we now call CrossKeys Vineyards, it was nothing more than thick forest. After crossing the fence that separated the land from the road, we saw saw the vision of the vine come to life. This aspiration on the winery’s website came to fruition in the 2022 Atlantic Coast Wine Competition, as CrossKeys Blanc de Noir 2019 won Best of Show by an Estate. of 409 wines produced along the East Coast of the United States.
CrossKeys Vineyards and Estate Blanc de Noir 2019 has an aroma of red fruits with a hint of almond. The sweet flavors of peach and apple are enhanced by a lively acidity and balanced by the smoothness developed by aging in barrels.
In a region not yet associated with fine sparkling wines, CrossKeys crafted this year’s winner from vines nearly 20 years old. “Blanc de Noir” in French means “white of black”. As in Champagne, CrossKeys extracted white juice from 100% Pinot Noir grapes which was fermented, then aged, in barrel for 6-8 months before bottling.
The secondary fermentation that created the fine mousse (bubbles) also followed the traditional Champagne method. “At bottling, sugar and fresh yeast were added and the bottles were quickly sealed for the wine to ferment a second time, in the bottle,” according to a spokesperson for the winery.
Over the next 18 months, the riddling process broke down the solids and the wine developed its effervescence. Spent yeast released a creamy flavor and improved mouthfeel. The solids were then expelled by disgorging and the final sugar level was topped off with CrossKeys proprietary Expedition Liqueur, a blend of wine and sugar that determines the sweetness of the finished wine, in this case 1% residual sugar . In a French sparkling, this would be called “demi-sec”.
CrossKeys Vineyards and Estate is a repeat winner of the ASWA Wine Competition. The winery’s Fiore Rose won Best of Show in 2018 in a field of over 400 entries. CrossKeys is owned by the Bakhtiar family and is located in Mount Crawford, Virginia, in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. “The two golden crossed keys are an ancient symbol of hospitality, excellence and a place of prestige. The keys embody our goal to produce exquisite wines, delicious dishes, fabulous events, but above all, they remind us daily that we are here to provide an excellent experience for every guest who walks through our doors,” says a spokesperson for family. .
Atlantic Seaboard Winery Association President Grant Crandall said, “As in previous years of our competition, we found several undiscovered gems. CrossKeys triumphed over the many outstanding wines we reviewed.
A panel of nineteen judges from across the country scored 409 wines made in the eastern United States. This year, the Best of Show CrossKeys Vineyard Blanc de Noirs 2019 was selected from among twenty-four Best of Category Winners.
ASWA’s mission is to promote wines from the eastern United States. To that end, “we can prepare to take these fine examples of East Coast winemaking across the country to a series of events to showcase this quality to an audience who otherwise could not taste and appreciate the quality of wine produced in the East. coast,” says Crandall.
ASWA holds an annual awards ceremony on Capitol Hill after the competition concludes under the auspices of the Congressional Wine Caucus. The perpetual Jefferson Loving Cup, designed by Tiffany in sterling silver, will be engraved with the name of the winning winery and presented to the Best of Show winner.
Winning wines will also be showcased at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento, California, the wine industry’s premier convention typically attracting 15,000 attendees and are featured on several radio shows during the conference. Opportunities for increased exposure then continue throughout the year.
See the full list of award-winning wines here.
The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association promotes American wines produced in the Seventeen Eastern States: all those bordering the Atlantic Ocean plus West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Vermont. This trade organization was founded in 1973 as the Vinifera Wine Growers Association, and renamed in 2008 to reflect a broader regional focus.
ASWA’s mission is to promote the fine wines of the Atlantic Coast through trade and consumer education. Members liaise with national, state and regional wine organizations to identify opportunities to showcase the wines and winemakers who work here.