August 2014
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Month August 2014

Variety…Varietal – James Melendez / James the Wine Guy

Trust me on this one… I am not going to rant about when variety or varietal should or should not be used.  I recently saw an online article on how either word should be used–it was a bit pedantic—not it was absolutely pedantic.  I have seen this particular writer rant to the point where it induces a great level of ennui or sleepiness in me.  I don’t make it my life’s mission to correct people on language usage.  When I see an article about this person’s yearly or twice yearly rants and how it gets indexed in a particular wine new email citation–I wonder why it is called out.

I don’t cite who this person is as I prefer to not give this particular person’s more web traffic.  I can always use more traffic.  If I weigh out my total usage of the words “variety” and “varietal” I am probably a heavy user of variety on at least a 90% basis; I might use the word cultivar before varietal and that is not because of this particular writer but that is just my usage.  I just like to say variety.  I think some people view varietal as more specific to wine than variety.  English is a flexible language that may adjust how it deals with the usage of this word–or maybe not.

Sweet and short as I have more important things to do… I promise–more interesting articles are in the works!


– James Melendez


Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

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Barboursville Virginia Cabernet Franc 2008 2009 2010 – Interview & Tasting with Frank Morgan & James Melendez

It was a pleasure to sit down and taste some beautiful Cabernet Franc from Barboursville, Virginia with Frank Morgan of Drink What You Like.   I have known Frank from the Twittersphere and, of course, in person at several Wine Bloggers Conferences (WineBlogCon).   Frank, in my mind, is no doubt a subject matter expert when it comes to Virginia wines and has considerable knowledge and experience of many wines and wine regions around the world.

I hate to say but it had been nearly two years since my last tasting of Cabernet Franc or any wine from Virginia! That is been far too long. Virginia is getting much more recognition today than say a decade ago. The recognition should continue and I hope to see more ecumenical wine lists as well as wine retail assortments to encompass Virginia wines in the future.

Virginia is growing an impressive number of wine varieties: everything from Albariño, Cabernet Sauvignon, Graciano, Malbec, Petit Manseng, Petit Verdot, Rkatsiteli to Zinfandel (and there are many more in between).

Virginia’s flagship Vitis vinifera red wine grapes is Cabernet Franc and white wine grapes is Viognier. Frank and I were both in Santa Barbara County for the Wine Bloggers Conference. I was delighted to find that Frank had travelled cross country with three special Cabernet Francs from Barboursville. We opened up the following vintages: 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Each vintage was expressing the conditions of each respective year’s growing conditions and the expert touch of long time Barboursville wine maker Luca Paschina.   Each bottle was an outstanding Cabernet Franc that for me was a proof positive of excellence of Virginia winemaking—each vintage was rich, unfolding it’s experience and I was left with no doubt that I had tasted three world class Cabernet Francs (for more specific details on the wine I would recommend viewing the video below).

I wanted to share each of the wine reviews specifically that we both tasted, giving the point scores in this article and also a reference point to view each portion of this video.


Virginia Wine History/Information/Perspectives – 1:03 – Frank Morgan




Barboursville Virginia Cabernet Franc – 2008 – James the Wine Guy Point Score 9.3 (93/100 Pts) Time Point in Video: 13:29





Barboursville Virginia Cabernet Franc – 2009 –James the Wine Guy Point Score 9.4 (94/100 Pts) Time Point in Video: 16:09





Barboursville Virginia Cabernet Franc – 2010 –James the Wine Guy Point Score 9.3 (93/100 Pts) Time Point in Video: 18:49


I look forward to tasting many more wines from Barboursville and Virginia. If you haven’t had an opportunity to taste a Virginia wine ask you wine merchant to bring some in.   A good starting place in your wine journey would be to taste Barboursville wines. I have listed link below to see if you can receipt wines from your respective state. Also, as I often say in videos—be sure to do a foot on ground tour to discover the full depth of Virginia many wine counties.



More Information on the producer:

Barboursville Vineyards


More information and to follow Frank Morgan, Drink What You Like






© 2014 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy.


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