Virginie Bourgue completed her migration to Port Townsend, Washington in 2010. In June of this year, she celebrated the opening of Lullaby Winery tasting room. This seaside community reminded her of her old stomping grounds in the South of France. “Everything is in place here, balanced: Port Townsend reminds me of my childhood home,” she said. Her appreciation of the partnership between food and wine provides context to these fabulous European style wines that are currently in release:
The 2012 Rosé de Virginie is an excellent wine to begin an afternoon’s respite, or perhaps an evening meal. A blend of mourvedre and grenache, this wine’s vivacious acidity is balanced by the subtle essence of wild berries. At first sip one immediately craves steam clams smothered with a Beurre de Crustacés. Rosé de Virginie’s acidity washes through the butter fat, allowing the delicate flavors of both the wine and clams to wash over the tongue. The finish lingers on the palate just long enough to satisfy until the next bite and sip. At $17 a bottle the 2012 Rosé de Virginie is an affordable treasure for any wine cellar.
Priced at $22, the 2012 Blanc de Virginie is unadulterated Sauvignon Blanc redolent with aromas of citrus, sea foam, and cucumber. This white wine with it’s bright, steely acidity sports a rapier finish. One sip of this and I was ready for a feast of scallops served with a lovely Tarragon sauce, or perhaps a lighter alternative such as über fresh Kumamoto oysters.
The 2012 Lullaby Viognier, a $25 bargain, is a delightfully fresh wine with citrus on the nose. The smooth mouth feel is almost lost to the soft orange notes on the palate — but then the texture and flavors contrive and the sensation of both fade in a lovely finish fake-out. Gradually, under-ripe though not really green stone fruit notes eclipse the soft fruit tones, producing an unexpected crisp finish. This is a versatile wine ready to pair with duck, pork, and seafood such as crab, halibut or oysters. Or, try this Viognier with a salad of mussels marinated in herb infused olive oil. The combination is as sensual an experience as one might enjoy in public.
The Non-Vintage Rouge de Virginie is a blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon from both 2009 and 2010. Robust black cherry and current aromatics fill the nasal concha, while coffee and deep dark chocolate assail the tongue. This is a fantastic dinner wine and readily pairs with game as well as beef or pork. I served this with a bacon wrapped chicken thigh, covered with a cream and Madeira sauce. It was so delicious that I had to follow it up with chicken pate canapés. If the bottle hadn’t gone empty, I’d have tried it with a lovely omelet cooked in duck fat and garnished with cracklings: alas, I have something to look forward to. There is absolutely no reason one should go without this remarkable and modestly priced $25 a bottle.
And of course, there is the 2010 Lullaby Syrah, a wine of monumental proportions and well worth the $70 price tag. Walla Walla sourced fruit bodes well for this exceptional Syrah. Rich red plum flavors ebb to alternating chocolate and roasted coffee bean notes that produce chewy tannins. A juicy Porter House steak or tender veal chop dressed in a marrow rich Bordelaise sauce and a glass of Lullaby Syrah is incredible!
Virginie’s newly-opened Port Townsend tasting room is located just a few minutes’ drive south of town in an industrial park. Don’t jump to conclusions; on the afternoon of my visit I sat in the parking lot and watched a deer nonchalantly snack on foliage. The bare bones nature of the facility underscores her philosophy: good wines are what committed oenophiles crave, not fancy, frilly showrooms.
Just a short drive to Coupville on Whidbey Island, followed by a scenic ferry ride across the strait you’ll arrive in historic Port Townsend. Spend a day or a weekend and let Virginie Bourgue delight your wine tasting senses.