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Announcing Luca Paschina with Virginia Wine Chat, April 24

Tasting Viognier Reserve 2013, Nebbiolo Reserve 2011, and Octagon 2010
March 28, 2014

Winemaker Luca Paschina will join Frank Morgan, of wine blog, for the April edition of his popular online Virginia Wine Chat, Thursday, April 24, 7:30pm. Viewers can join at home, as Luca leads a tasting of three notable current vintages: 2013 Viognier Reserve, 2011 Nebbiolo Reserve, and the 2010 Octagon. There are also plans to discuss Luca’s personal history, why he came to Virginia from Italy nearly 25 years ago, and the story of Barboursville, before and after being planted in vine in 1976.

Virginia Wine Chat is a monthly virtual gathering that connects Virginia winemakers with wine enthusiasts online for a live wine tasting and discussion. As part of the Virginia Wine Chat, wine fans can participate in the virtual discussion and tasting via Twitter by following the #VAWineChat hashtag. Participants can also watch the live interview online via UStream, with browser set to the Virginia Wine Chat UStream Channel at 7:30pm on Thursday, April 24. Participants will be able to ask Luca questions via Twitter and UStream.

Now through April 24, the winery will offer purchases of a 3-pack of the 3 wines selected for this Wine Chat, at specially discounted pricing. Please call the tasting room, (540) 832-3824, to place your order for direct shipping where lawfully permitted.

For more information on Virginia Wine Chat and for a complete list of past and future chats, visit:


National recognition for our winemaker

James Beard Foundation and Vineyard & Winery Management
February 27, 2014
Luca hosting a lunch at the winery, for journalists visiting from Italy.

Within weeks of each other, the two most distinguished national authorities in food and wine in their respective fields have cited Luca Paschina, our winemaker since 1991, as among the 20 most admired figures in wine in the United States. Although each of these announcements is significant in itself, together they are especially notable because they come from the perspective of wine growing and winemaking on the one hand, and the restaurant-based professions on the other, and both reflect the opinion of the public. We recognize this rare convergence of respect with grateful humility, yet we agree that the story must be told. Luca Paschina is alone in being honored by both entities, and we are not alone in being conspicuously fortunate. Everyone who has discovered the excellence of the wines of Virginia has the same cause to be pleased.

Octagon 2010, with Five Gold Medals, is now in release. Please see our Newsletter.
In their final issue for 2013, Vineyard & Winery Management, the leading technical journal in North American viticulture, allowed their Eastern US correspondent to summarize the importance of his selection: Not only has Luca made increasingly excellent wine at Barboursville in the last two decades, he has also helped set the quality standard for winemaking in Virginia and inspired an entire generation of vintners there. He is a fitting ambassador not just for Barboursville, but for Virginia and the growth of regional wine as a whole.

This latter point is also the judgment of the James Beard Foundation, announced in early February. Founded to carry forward the life work of America’s most popular, influential and internationally honored food critic, educator and chef in the decades following World War II, the Foundation hosts dinners for the public at its headquarters in James Beard’s Greenwich Village townhouse, which Luca and Palladio’s Chef Melissa Close-Hart have conducted several times. The Foundation also encourages the recognition and development of new chefs, writers, and other professionals through the most esteemed Annual Awards program in American culinary arts. Each year, the Foundation recognizes the nation’s 20 most important wine and spirits professionals for their contributions to the culinary industry, without regional limitation.


Octagon 2009 Wins Virginia Governor's Cup

Fourth Time for Our Bordeaux Reds
February 22, 2013
Governor Bob McDonnell and the First Lady present Luca Paschina with the 2013 Virginia Wineries Association's Governor's Cup.

The 2009 vintage of Octagon was awarded the Virginia Governor's Cup on February 21st in ceremonies at the John Marshall Hotel in Richmond. Already designated by Chicago's Beverage Testing Institute as Virginia's "Best Red Wine," awarded Gold Medals at the Winemakers Challenge and Critics Challenge, and the Platinum Medal at the Sommeliers Challenge - competitions in California - and granted the rating of 90 points by the Wine Enthusiast, Octagon 2009 emerged from nearly 400 wines to win this year's Governor's Cup. Commenting on this award, winemaker Luca Paschina noted,

It has been a pleasure and reward to follow the evolution of this particular vintage of Octagon. Since harvest I took notice of its promising characters and I was not shy to share with many others, that this was destined to be one of the best wines I will ever produce in my life.

This Governor's Cup, the 4th to be awarded to winemaker Luca Paschina, follows by exactly 10 years Decanter's publication of Michael Broadbent's praises of Octagon Third Edition (1998 vintage), informing the wider world of wine of our region's strengths in Bordeaux red varietals. Much has changed in international expectations of Virginia wine in those years, with Octagon consistently leading the way in these advances. Regionally and nationally, since the 1998 vintage, Octagon has won more than 30 Gold Medals, two Monticello Cups, and extensive praise from wine critics. It is incomparably the most internationally admired wine from Virginia.

Collaborators in Octagon 2009, in the Octagon Cellar at our winery: associate winemaker Daniele Tessaro and viticulturist Fernando Franco in rear, our Founder Dott. Gianni Zonin and I in foreground.
A project of more than 25 years of development, Octagon remains the winery's most successful instrument for expressing the qualities of the growing region. Each vintage is the product of the most stringently disciplined standards of selection, blending, and crafting of all our wines. It is harder for a grape to get into a bottle of Octagon, than any other wine we know. It is created only in a fine vintage, and only from the best lots we produce in our Bordeaux varietals. It will be superb, it will evolve stunningly over time, and it will cellar well for many years; or it would not have been made.

All excellent wines have an optimal release date. For this Octagon we envisioned two years of bottle age before release. On schedule, we will be presenting it this August, with more precise announcement of the date to follow. In the meantime, we are pouring the excellent 2008 vintage (also Gold Medal at the Beverage Testing Institute) in our Tasting Room and it can also be purchased through us, online.

Blue Run Cottage Opens

Celebration Vintage of Vermentino Reserve 2011 Almost Sold Out
September 27, 2012

An especially happy addition to the historic accommodations at our estate has opened in the renovated mid-19th Century farmhouse which had long served as the Winemaker's Residence. The Blue Run Cottage, named for the refreshing stream that flows down from our Goodlow Mountain vineyards, contains 3 individually decorated and spacious cottage suites, the 2-bedroom Pinot Grigio Suite and the Vermentino and Moscato 1-bedroom suites, all with sitting room, kitchen facilities, dining area and bath in a setting very bucolically secluded in the vineyard. We welcome you to enjoy "virtual tours" of all our accommodations, including The 1804 Inn, Vineyard Cottage and Sangiovese Cottage, and to select for yourself, the characterful setting you prefer for your next visit to Barboursville Vineyards and Palladio Restaurant.

Timed to coincide with the opening of the Blue Run Cottage, our 2011 vintage of Vermentino Reserve has enjoyed very brisk demand, and is expected to be sold out before the end of November. We take this opportunity to urge any purchasing of Vermentino for the Thanksgiving holiday now, and thank the many enthusiastic friends of the wine for this very encouraging reception.

Cabernet Franc Reserve 2008 "Best in Class" in America's Largest Competition

Vintage named "Best" from all principal US growing regions
January 12, 2012

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the wine world's largest competition of American wines, has just announced its medal winners for 2012, and has awarded Best In Class to Barboursville Vineyards for the 2008 Cabernet Franc Reserve. Defeating 97 other entrants in Cabernet Franc, from California, Washington, New York, and also Virginia, the 2008 Cabernet Franc Reserve had previously won Gold Medals at the Virginia Monticello Cup competition, The Beverage Testing Institute of Chicago, and the Sommeliers' International competition in San Diego.

We have been cultivating Cabernet Franc in earnest for more than 20 years under winemaker Luca Paschina. Barboursville's commitment to this varietal has been pursued in more total acreage and greater clonal diversification (5), than at any other vineyard in the Eastern United States. The Virginia Governor's Cup for Barboursville's 1997 vintage of Cabernet Franc, began to attract international attention to its success with the varietal. Today, vintages of Barboursville's Cabernet Franc Reserve and Octagon, the Bordeaux blend in which it always plays a part, are represented on wine lists from London to Washington DC, from New York to Chicago, and have been selected by this region's most distinguished restaurant, The Inn at Little Washington, for private bottling under its own label.

Effective immediately, the winery Tasting Room has received a small allocation of this library vintage for sale, only, with a limit of 6 bottles per customer on a first-come, first-served basis while the supply lasts. Telephone orders for shipping where permitted, can be arranged by calling (540) 832-3824.

Holiday Octagon 2007 Celebration

New Year’s Feast, and Octagon Free Shipping Never Easier
December 14, 2011

Given the great reception for our 10th Edition of Octagon, Octagon 2007, we are celebrating with it as the centerpiece of our annual New Year’s Feast, December 31st, and have announced free shipping from our on-line store, through January 8th, for as few as 6 bottles or more. Palladio Restaurant’s Chef Melissa Close Hart has designed a sequence of courses for New Year’s Eve, paired ideally with our Reserve white wines and then our Nebbiolo Reserve, to climax with a presentation of Octagon 2007 with an opulent preparation of Rack of Lamb in Red Wine Mint Demi Glâce, revealing several of its facets at once. Dinner is by reservation only, a single seating, limited availability. (540) 832 - 7848.

Our celebration of free shipping from the online store, for 6 bottles of Octagon 2007 or more, is also available through January 8th for our favorite wine for seasonal gifts, Philéo. This past year, as Octagon 2007 was collecting its 5 Gold Medals and 3 Best Bordeaux Blend awards, Philéo received the Gold Medal of Chicago’s distinguished Beverage Testing Institute -- reassuring us all, as we say of this beloved wine, “It’s OK to like it!”


British Embassy Selects Barboursville Wine to Celebrate Royal Wedding – Tasting Room Announces Special Discounts through May on Royal Wedding Wines

Charlottesville Daily Progress
April 21, 2011

A bottle of wine fit for royalty.

Barboursville Vineyards' Octagon and Viognier Reserve were selected by the Embassy of Great Britain for the evening reception celebrating the royal marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The embassy in Washington D.C. will be holding a celebration on Friday, April 29 in honor of the Royal Wedding and will serve the famous Central Virginia wines.

"It's very exciting time for us to have been chosen to be in that nice environment," said Fernando Franco.

Winemaker Luca Paschina has accepted the Ambassador's and Lady Sheinwald's invitation to attend.

The Royal family is acquainted with Octagon, from the Governor's reception for Her Majesty's visit to Jamestown in 2007. Octagon is already in distribution in London.

Watch video...

Celebration Special Purchase on Royal Wedding Wines

Through May 31st, our Tasting Room is offering the wines chosen by the British Embassy in Washington, to celebrate Prince William's wedding, in two attractive packages, at discounts normally reserved for 12-bottle purchases. A 3-pack of one bottle each, of Octagon 2006, Viognier Reserve 2009, and a supplemental bottle of Barboursville Sparkling Brut, will be available at 10 percent discount. And, a purchase of 3 bottles of Octagon 2006 and 3 bottles of Viognier Reserve 2009, will also be discounted 10 percent, and will qualify for free shipping anywhere in Virginia. Outside of Virginia, either of these special purchases will be available nationwide in states where we may ship, at our standard shipping charges. This offer is not presented in our online wine shop, so if you cannot come to Barboursville, please place your order via telephone, (540) 832-3824. But do come if you can to the Tasting Room in May, and experience the vineyard at its Springtime loveliest, with unprecedented discounts on these distinctly collectible wines.


Octagon 2007 - "Best Bordeaux Blend in Region"

For the third year in a row, Chicago's esteemed Beverage Testing Institute has awarded the Gold Medal and its "Exceptional" ranking to a new vintage of Octagon. Awarding 93 points to the 2005 vintage in 2009, 92 points to the 2006 vintage last year, and 92 points to the 2007 vintage this year, BTI has also designated Octagon 2007 as the Best Red Wine Blend in the Region, covering all of the southeastern United States.

Octagon 2007 will not be released for several months, but through the entire month of February it will be offered for tasting and sales in our Tasting Room only, and for lunch and dinner at Palladio Restaurant. Through this period, of course, Octagon 2006 will continue to be offered for tasting and sales at the winery, online, and in leading shops and restaurants in Virginia, Maryland, DC, and the Carolinas.


San Francisco Double Gold Medal, June 2010

Malvaxia Passito 2006

We announce a salient honor for one of this estate’s defining endeavors. The jury of critics of the San Francisco International Wine Competition has awarded its Double Gold Medal to the 2006 vintage of our Malvaxia Passito. This recognition echoes Gold Medals for the 2002, 2003 and 2005 vintages at Virginia Governor's Cup competitions, and published plaudits from two leading British writers on wine, Andrew Jefford in The Financial Times and Michael Broadbent in Decanter. The San Francisco International Wine Competition is a benchmark forum of evaluation for winegrowers from all over the world, attracting well over 3,500 entries in a given year. Although this award for Malvaxia Passito 2006 is not the first time the Competition has awarded Gold to our wines -- including Sparkling Brut, Philéo, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, and two vintages of Nebbiolo in recent years -- its bestowal in the 20th Anniversary year of our winemaker's tenure at Barboursville is very happily timed.


Winery Releases Octagon 2006, Monticello Cup 2009

New Vintage Exposes Lively Rivalry

At last, the winery has released the Octagon vintage which so excited the elite tasting panel of The Washington Post in the 2-page article of last August 19th. And, again a release of a new vintage in the most honored wine in the Eastern United States has been met by the awarding of the Gold Medal of Chicago’s Beverage Testing Institute, and a numerical score in the “Exceptional” column. At present, the Tasting Room is offering Octagon 2006 alongside Octagon 2005, last year’s winner of the Institute’s World Wine Championship and its most highly rated wine. Not more than one point in BTI’s arithmetical ranking separates these two solid, distinguishable vintages.

This October, Palladio Restaurant’s annual Octagon feast will allow winemaker Luca Paschina to present these two vintages and two superlative predecessors, to frame a 10-year tapestry of this historic wine’s evolution in bottle, and in the vineyards it exemplifies. There is only one place on earth where this occasion could be shared. Reservations would be timely to make now, (540) 832-7848.

But if it’s harder for a grape to get into a bottle of Octagon than any other Virginia wine, it’s largely because not every deserving grape can find its place in a distinctly limited blend. Some must become Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, and win as many Monticello Cups as Octagon has done. Some must become Cabernet Franc Reserve, and be so bold as to be the only wine to outrank Octagon at the Beverage Testing Institute’s competition this year. Smarting from last year’s 93-92 point “defeat” of its 2006 vintage by Octagon 2005, the 2007 Reserve in Cabernet Franc reversed that outcome this year, to be designated Virginia’s Best Red Wine. What makes it scandalously pleasant to confess to this intramural struggle, is that these rivals come from the same vines in the same vineyards, and from 3 consecutive vintages.

In the whites, tempers are cooler but not dulled. At this same 2010 wine competition, Beverage Testing Institute selected the Viognier Reserve 2008 for its Gold Medal, and the designation as Best Virginia White Wine. A style in Viognier praised last year by Michael Broadbent in Decanter for vividly recalling the finest Condrieu, while entirely avoiding oak as well as malolactic fermentation, the Viognier Reserve of this vintage is destined for some of the very happiest Summer dining of 2010, with the capacity to evolve in bottle at least through 2013.

Look to your left, look to your right. Is there a color of wine grape we’ve overlooked?


Octagon Breaks Through

6 Washington Wine Experts “totally didn’t see it coming”

Reporting in The Washington Post, critic Dave McIntyre writes that a wine tasting which he convened with 6 leading experts proved to everyone’s satisfaction, that Virginia wines do compete with France and Napa Valley in quality, price, and diversity of varietal excellence. Leading the reds was Octagon 2006, the latest vintage of the wine which has been compared to Patton’s Third Army, in its capacity to break through a habitual, entrenched skepticism surrounding Virginia wines. Comparing the results of this blind tasting with the famed Judgment of Paris of 1976, in which California red wines overcame critical prejudice in comparison with those of Bordeaux, McIntyre reports that the same shock was repeated at this event. Fair enough, but now there was this difference: what California had done against one dominant region, Virginia had achieved against two, and after 30 years of improvements in both of them. Octagon was widely suspected, in fact, of coming from Bordeaux -- much as Eliza was authoritatively “exposed" as a Hungarian princess, in “My Fair Lady.”

We compliment two colleagues in Virginia viticulture for success in Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc at this same event. Ultimately, McIntyre says, “local wines can match the best in the world.” For residents of this region, itself, we offer the judgment a cautious customer proclaimed, when Philéo won its Gold Medal in San Francisco -- “It’s OK to like it!” The whole world says it is.

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