In the cool, dimly lit cellar at The Williamsburg Winery, winemaker Matthew Meyer strolls row after row of aging vintages before inserting a glass wine thief into an oak barrel, carefully drawing out a sample of their Adagio signature red blend, which is already bursting with complex, silky, luscious dark fruit flavors.
Outside, it’s a picture-perfect summer morning at Wessex Hundred, home to The Williamsburg Winery since 1985. The sun rises over the vineyard as dew still clings to the Traminette and Petit Verdot vines, part of 50 acres of grapes on the historic plot’s softly rolling hills.
Since his arrival at the winery in 2002, Meyer has been focused on helping to establish Virginia as a wine region to be reckoned with. In 2014, the Adagio was honored with the Virginia’s Governor’s Cup Award as the state’s highest-rated wine.
With the pandemic waning and summer 2021 fully uncorked, The Williamsburg Winery is back in the swing of things with tours and tastings, events like their popular Suppers in the Vineyard series and elegant eats at their Gabriel Archer Tavern, open daily for lunch and on Fridays and Saturdays for dinner.
With the season’s hottest days upon us, we asked Meyer for his picks—three wines just right for keeping your cool while delighting the palate. Whether you are washing down the bright, briny tang of local oysters on the half shell or packing gourmet sandwiches for a day by the pool, these refreshing sips dare you to pair with just about any dog days faves.
Included here are Meyer’s selections along with his winemaker’s tasting notes on each. And don’t forget to pick up a bottle of that 2017 Adagio while you’re at it—delicious any time of year.
Blanc de Blanc
The 2017 Blanc de Blanc is a classic sparkling wine made in the traditional method with the secondary fermentation taking place in the bottle. The bouquet displays notes of lemon, green apple, and pear. Additionally, there is a nice yeasty brioche element that pairs well with the bright fruits. The finish has a bright character but still maintains a creaminess. The bubbles are very fine which creates a beautiful texture to the wine. This wine will pair with any food!
2019 Wessex Hundred Rosé
A very harmonious wine offering gentle fruit notes starting with strawberry, banana and then goes into some cherry, rhubarb, raspberry and blueberry. The gentle fruits are perfectly matched with the soft bouquet of fresh spring flowers with a touch of clove, nutmeg and honey. There is a soft citrus peel tone which enhances the other aspects and adds to the structure of the wine very well. The finish is long and clean with fresh fruits, flowers and soft spices. Pairs with salad, burgers, pizza, charcuterie boards, smoked trout…really just about anything!
2019 Wessex Hundred Viognier
I believe this Viognier to have the classic elements of a pineapple upside down cake in conjunction with a lemon cream pie. In addition to these sweet treats, there is some apricot, plum, mandarin orange, grilled pineapple and a berry mixture. On the palate these fruits come forward along with a pleasant tea character and some flowers. The finish is well balanced, lingering with a cake-like creaminess and a bright acidity just poking through. Pairs with anything from the Chesapeake Bay, fresh summer salads, cheeses (hard and soft) and roasted chicken