Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wine Review: Kluge Estate

This wine review is a sad one because a few months after we received the samples, Hubby and I found out that Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyards went into foreclosure. We had good memories of visiting there during our wine trip to Virginia in 2008, although we were a little put off by the wine tasting being served in a test-tube tray (sorry, no pictures). We also got to try some Kluge wine as they expanded distribution into Georgia last year and found it to be better than we'd remembered.

I'd wondered whether to even post this review since the winery has gone under. It's kind of like reviewing zombie wine, but I would imagine that there's still some hanging out in warehouses and with distributors. Even though the sparkling and Viognier are listed as "Sold Out" on the Kluge website, they may still be available somewhere and are worth a taste before they're gone.

We saved the 2004 SP (for sparkling) Blanc de Noir for our anniversary and weren't disappointed with its toasty notes and very slight berry undertones. It paired well with the view from the porch at my parents' cabin in Blairsville:

We tried the 2009 Albemarle Viognier in November. It had the Viognier peachy nose and floral finish, but I expected more in terms of body. It has an acidic bite instead of a smooth texture, almost like a Pinot Grigio. However, the shrimp risotto we paired it with brought out the stone fruit character of the wine, which enhanced it.

Finally, the 2009 Albemarle Sauvignon Blanc was also quite acidic, but good with food. Citrus and melon were the predominant flavors with a little grassiness. This is the only one still listed as available on the web site.

If nothing else, I hope this review serves as a reminder that we need to support our local wineries. Yes, I realize that Kluge got caught with their financial pants down in a tough economic climate (recent article here), but I hope that other local wineries won't disappear as well. As consumers, the best things we can do are to ask for local wines in restaurants and wine retailers and to visit our wineries regularly. And, as a wine blogger, I will try to review samples in a more timely manner. I'm finally getting my writing routine down, so that should help me to post more regularly.

Disclosure: All wines in this review were received free of charge for sampling purposes. This did not impact my review.


Julie (Okami) said...

Lovely review. Too bad the winery is gone, sounds like I would have like what they offer.

I've been to Blairsville a few times - good thing you brought your own wine.

Cecilia Dominic said...

Thanks for stopping by, Julie! Yeah, it's a bummer that they're gone. They got a little better each time we tried them.

Yeah, we've had to make a beer run to Blue Ridge. Union County has voted to allow alcohol sales, but there's still some hold-up with getting the city to allow it. Absolutely ridiculous! The Ingles in town has an aisle all ready for when it happens.


Bruce Sallan said...

Maybe your review will get Kluge so much attention, they'll get an offer to save them from foreclosure? You never know!?

Cecilia Dominic said...

Thanks, Bruce, but I think they're too far into it (like millions and millions) to be saved now. As a small business owner, I can't imagine how devastating this is for them.

Thank you for stopping by!


bleubug said...

Sad indeed. I tasted their wines last summer at a festival here. :( I got a bottle of their Cru.

Cecilia Dominic said...

Thanks for stopping by, Thomas! I think most people were surprised at what happened.

If you still have that Cru, it might be a special occasion wine now.


Robin said...

Like you, I was very sorry about the demise of Kluge Estate. I have presented the North American Red at tutored wine tastings in London (personal imports - there was never any commercial distribution in UK) and it was highly rated and considered by experts as comparable to a Pomerol. I also had the opportunity to meet Patricia Kluge at London IWF and other events - she must be devastated at proving so graphically the old adage "If you want to make a small fortune in wine, start with a large fortune".

I have been praising wines from Georgia & Virginia for some years on this side of the Atlantic. There is now limited distribution of Virginian wines here. Georgia wines would be very nice, but I guess the local market absorbs all on offer!