The Shenandoah Valley is quickly developing in to an attractive, respected area to grow grapes. This location has shown to be prosperous with European wine grape varietals. The rolling hills create great drainage, and cool air, which help with producing sweet grapes, while protecting the vineyards from frost. Not to mention some of the prettiest countryside in Virginia that creates the perfect destination for wine tasting and touring. Bluestone Vineyard is in the center of a beautiful valley, named after the "bluestone" (a type of limestone) that is a main component of the local soil.
The Hartman family started planting vines in 2008, and have established Bluestone as a Virginia Winery, producing nationally recognized, quality wine. The winery and vineyard are family-owned and operated. Their focus is on crafting small-batch wines, using only the best fruit from each vintage from local sources. It is the combination of quality fruit and passion for the craft that results in wines that are constantly evolving, reflecting the passion of the winemaker, the year, the weather, and the fruit.
Everyone in the family has a place at the winery. Curt and Jackie Hartman, the parents, who serve as President and Vice President, can be seen throughout the winery and vineyard. Son, RC Hartman wears multiple hats as well—as Operations Manager, he serves as IT guy, number cruncher and overall jack-of-all-trades. Son, Lee Hartman is their winemaker and general manager. Lee accidentally fell into the world of wine at the age of 23, beginning with planting Bluestone's 11 acres in 2008, he continued helping the parents build the winery in 2010, and opened the tasting room in 2011. Their first year open, he won one of seven gold medals in the Governor's Cup Wine Competition with his Blue Ice Dessert Wine (made from frozen Traminette) and the following year, he received another gold for his 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. That Cab was in the inaugural Governor's Case and was also named one of "37 Great American Wines" by Saveur magazine. This year, Bluestone won three gold medals, and ten silver medals! You will be able to taste a gold medal winner this week, at City Vino. Lee has continued to advance in not only winemaking, but also in becoming a strong advocate for Virginia Wines.
This week at City Vino, you can taste some of Lee’s passion!
2021 Bluestone Oaked Chardonnay from Shenandoah Valley, Virginia is aged on the lees in French oak barrels for nine months, nearly reaching full Malo-lactic fermentation. This wine displays a pale-yellow color, with lemon, cream, toast, and floral notes on the palate with lingering vanilla and oak in the finish.
2021 Bluestone Viognier has a pale-yellow color, honeysuckle, and tropical notes in the aroma, followed by mango, tropical stone fruits and melon on the palate, and is rounded out with wet stone and Asian pear.
2016 Bluestone Houndstooth, made from estate fruit is a red blend of 40 percent Merlot, 30 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 percent Cabernet Franc, and 10 percent Petit Verdot. This right-bank-inspired Bordeaux blend carries soft violets on the nose, with bramble berries and burnt brown sugar, along with some vanilla. On the palate you may find dark fruit, dried herbs, toast, earth, and tobacco.
2019 Bluestone Steep Face Red Blend won a gold medal in this year’s Virginia Governor’s Cup competition! It was created with 100 percent Chambourcin, which is grown on one of the steepest vineyard slopes in Virginia. The result is an inky, fruit-forward wine, with aromas of brambleberry and smoke, followed by violets, and red and dark berries on the palate.
If you have not yet had the opportunity to experience wines from the Shenandoah area, this weekend is your chance. And if you find yourself in the area, be sure to enjoy the beautiful scenery, check out the terroir, and visit the winery where passion can be found from vines to glass.
"Buying a bottle of wine is not a cost, it is an investment. Drinking a bottle of wine is a cost." —Curt Hartman