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Jump Mountain Vineyards Wins 2023 Shenandoah Cup

Jump Mountain Vineyards owners holding the Shenadoah Cup 2023
Mary Hughes and David Vermillion of Jump Mountain Vineyards in Virginia

From the stage at the Shenandoah Cup Celebration, Mary Hughes joked, “There were times we thought Matthieu might fire us.”

Matthieu Finot is the consulting winemaker for Mary and her husband David’s Jump Mountain Vineyard, but given that Mary was holding a very large and shiny silver cup when she said it - the top Shenandoah Valley wine prize for 2023 - it seems unlikely the famously exacting Finot would cut his star client loose any time soon.

Borderland 2019, Jump Mountain’s winning wine, is a gorgeous, layered blend of Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, and at $27, a steal. Only fifty cases were made. The winery is north of Lexington and open only on weekends.

Also placing highly in the competition, which was held at The Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns, was Briede Family Vineyards’ 2020 Sparkling Winchester, a traditional method bubbly from a non traditional grape - the Cayuga hybrid. $52.

Jump Mountain Winery had a second wine in the top seven—Livia 2021 ($27), a wine made from grapes I defy you to guess. No really, give up. Because, here you go: Refosco, Cab Franc, Lagrein, and Sagrantino. With the exception of Cab Franc, no more than one or two wineries in Virginia grow these Italian varieties.

Also in the top seven was the perennial favorite V d’Or 2019 from Rockbridge Vineyards, an ice wine-style dessert from Vidal Blanc, Vignoles, and Traminette.

Wine writer Frank Morgan, who coordinates the annual competition, says, “The quality of wines has improved exponentially in the five years I’ve organized the Shenandoah Valley competition. Balance is a hallmark of the region. Across the valley, red blends are the most notable wines but Cab Franc and Petit Verdot are my favorite, and most promising, varietal wines.”

A few of my own favorites on this glamorous night were two Bordeaux-style blends, Muse Vineyards’ amazing Clio 2019 ($35) and Bluestone Vineyards Bridgewater Crimson 2021 ($24); Wolf Gap Vineyards’ 2022 Cabernet Franc Reserve; and Brix and Columns Vineyards 2021 Chardonnay.

In recent years, the Shenandoah Valley has gotten growing buzz for having some of the state’s best growing conditions - higher elevation, less rain, cooler temperatures and limestone soil. Those advantages are showing up more and more in the finished bottles. Tonight’s competition showed again that the Valley can compete against any region in the state.


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