We are very fortunate to have 6 of our wines reviewed by this world renowned wine critic. Your wine is being compared and evaluated on a World Stage. She has tasted so many wines and has an experience and value that not many have.. She is very well respected in the wine industry. These are Virginia wines. What better way to see how we are doing as a winery as a whole. We were thrilled to received a producer score of 16.3 (Superior to Distinquished)
Average producer score
Briedé Family Vineyards
Sparkling Winchester 2020 16.5 rating
Made from Cayuga White (a complex hybrid selected in New York in 1052 and released in 1972), traditional method, aged three years on the lees. Dosage just 2 g/l. pH 3.15.
The citrus, herbal and green-fruits aroma dominates the nose so that the yeasty autolytic character is subtle. It was quite frothy when first poured but settled down in the glass to a fine mousse and a much more obvious toasty character. There's a slight sweet-sour impression on the finish even though the residual sweetness is so low. Packed with fruit but it's in balance with the traditional-method complexity from the yeast lees. Impressive for a hybrid variety, which has benefited from being taken seriously in the winery, with the investment needed for long lees ageing. (JH)
Marquette 2022 16.0 Rating
Full bottle 1,140 g. This is the first time I have tasted Marquette, a complex hybrid created in 1989 in Minnesota. Aged 9 months in French oak.
Lightish cherry red and vibrant cherry and strawberry fruit on the nose. Just slightly herbal and delicately floral – nicely so. Light-bodied with lively red fruits and very gentle tannins. Fresh and refreshing. A really nice surprise with no really obvious hybrid notes except perhaps at the very end when there is something strawberry like. Excellent freshness on the finish. Juicy and mouth-watering. (JH)
Soleil d'Ovest 2022 16.0 rating
Full screwcapped bottle 1,151 g. Cool fermentation and ageing in stainless steel. This is a cold-hardy hybrid bred in Minnesota in 1988 and released in 2022. This interspecific hybrid includes 45% Vitis vinifera, 28% Vitis riparia, and less than 10% each of Vitis rupestris, Vitis labrusca and Vitis aestivalis.
Intense, ripe tropical fruits on the nose with a hint of roses giving it a floral aspect – smells a little like Gewürztraminer. Ripe on the palate, too, highly scented, with a citrus freshness balancing those tropical fruit flavours and rose-petal notes. Much higher acidity than on a Gewürz, which makes this easy and refreshing. Really nicely made to bring out all the attributes of this variety to give a refreshing yet flavourful white with intensity and surprising length. I can imagine this variety might also be good in a blend as it is quite intense. Not for keeping, though. (Though perhaps I will be proved wrong.) (JH)
Arandell 2020 16.0 rating
Full bottle 1,230 g. Arandell is a 1995 cross between two interspecific hybrid selections bred at Cornell University and released in 2013. Briedé Family are the only producers of a varietal wine, starting in 2017. Hand-harvested, aged in French oak. pH 3.75. 180 cases produced.
The colour of black-cherry skins. Subtle oak aroma along with the blackberry fruit, a touch of cedar and lead pencil reminiscent of Cabernet Franc. The acidity seems quite high and not fully integrated but it is just balanced by the fruit, and the tannins are really fine. Clean-cut fruit and a juicy, mouth-watering finish. (JH)
Speed of Sound 2019 16.5 Rating
Full bottle 1,256 g. 50% Tannat (Virginia grown) and 50% Arandell (estate grown). Hand-harvested, aged in French oak. pH 3.65. 27 cases produced.
Very deep crimson. A little hint of oak on the nose but smells richer and darker-fruited than the 100% Arandell 2020. Extremely moreish and better balanced that the Arandell, with the acidity more fully integrated and with deeper fruit flavours. A very successful blend. Harmonious, fresh, with definite yet smooth and refined tannins. I enjoyed even more very slightly cool. (JH)
Arandell 2019 16.5 Rating
his is a new variety bred at Cornell University and released in 2013 – too new to appear in Wine Grapes. According to the release notice, 'Arandell was developed at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY, from a cross between two interspecific hybrid selections. The cross was made in 1995, and 23 disease-resistant seedlings were selected and planted in 1997. Only one, originally called NY95.0301.01, was selected for propagation and further testing in 2001.' It has a high degree of disease resistance. Briedé Family are the only producers of a varietal wine, starting in 2017. They have 750 plants. Two weeks warm ferment before ageing 8 months in neutral French oak. This vintage was made by Nate Walsh, the head of the Virginia Vineyards Association. 2019 was a apparently a very good year in Virginia. The wine recently won a silver medal at California's international Sommelier Challenge competition. pH 3.65, TA 6.45 g/l.
Very dark cherry red. Attractive aroma of tangy dark-red fruits with a nice layer rather like stone dust. Smells fresh and lightly peppery with a touch of capsicum. Not unlike Cabernet Franc. Lively and fresh. Plenty of that juicy dark-red fruit on the palate and very well balanced. it is all about the fruit, the oak not really showing here except perhaps in the way it has rounded the tannins. Tannins are smooth but definite. Lively, pure and vibrant, with a long cherry-fruited finish but without the sweetness of cherry. Extremely impressive for a new, disease-resistant hybrid. Bravo! (JH)
We had a limited number of wines that we could enter in the Governor's Cup. You must have 50 cases to enter. Because of these restrictions, there were 3 wines that fit that criteria. For us, since we are a small producer, most of our wines need to come to the tasting room to be sold. We do not have a huge inventory of wines laying around. We sell out. Especially the reds. While this is a very good thing.. (no complaints here)...when it comes to competitions, age gives wines complexity. So, given the fact that all of our wines in competition are no where near their peak, we are very excited to get these medals. Many of you may wonder why we didn't enter our Sparkling Winchester 2020. The answer is simple, we didn't have 50 cases left.
Soleil d' Ovest-Silver Medal
Bries Estate 22-Silver Medal
I also made my first visit to Briede Family Vineyards today. This very small winery (only about 1,000 cases annually) is located just to the north of Winchester. The winery name is pronounced “Brie Day” (that was my first question). I enjoyed tasting their Sparkling Winchester and Marquette at the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail Cup event on Friday night. Although they do produce a small amount of vinifera such as Cabernet Franc and Tannat, their main focus is on hybrid grapes.
Loretta, their owner, guided me through their portfolio. The 2020 Sparkling Winchester is 100% Cayuga, made in the traditional Champagne method. The first disgorgement was zero dosage with lovely yeast aromas and a very bright finish. We had a lively discussion about Cayuga. Including the sparkling, they have 5 different styles available and have a Sauternes-style dessert version in barrel that will be bottled next month. The fruit and acid profile reminded me somewhat of Chardonnay, which is why it worked so well for bubbles. The skin contact version (Agathosune 2022) was also intriguing.
On the red wine side, the Marquette, a Pinot Noir-driven hybrid that is very popular in Vermont, Minnesota, and other places with a short growing season was very tasty at the Cup event. It hasn’t officially been released at the winery yet. They were offering both 2020 and 2022 vintages of Arandell. This hybrid grape was developed by Virginia Tech and Cornell. Briede was the first winery in the U.S. to produce a commercial version of this grape. The 2020 version was very complex with a red fruit nose and earth/spice finish that drank very much like Cabernet Franc.
They also produce La Crescent, a white hybrid grape that has done very well in the Midwest. I took a bottle home although I hadn’t tried it. It was a really informative visit featuring some delicious wines made with less traditional hybrids (for Virginia). Nate Walsh makes their wines.
By Kenny Bumbaco
Briedé Sparkling Winchester 2020
Perspective by Dave McIntyre
January 11, 2024 at 1:00 p.m. EST
Shenandoah Valley, Va., $53
Yes, we’re talking champagne prices here for what is essentially a novelty wine, but what a delicious novelty it is! This is made from cayuga, a hybrid grape developed in Geneva, N.Y., during the 1940s. In this sparkling version, made in the traditional champagne method of second fermentation in the bottle, it resembles riesling or grüner veltliner, with scents of white flowers and lemon curd. It’s dry with a minerally, chalky palate-cleansing texture that will leave you with a smile, ready for the next sip. ABV: 11.6 percent. BW: 900 grams (Heavy).
Prices are approximate. For availability, check Wine.com, Wine-searcher.com and the websites and social media feeds of the wineries, importers, distributors, and your favorite local wine store. You can also ask your local retailer to order wines from the distributors listed. Have wine questions for Dave McIntyre? Send them to Food@washpost.com.
★ Good: The wine delivers what it promises at a fair price. If it says chardonnay, it tastes like chardonnay.
★★ Excellent: A wine with character and added interest. May elevate your eyebrows at the first sip.
★★★ Extraordinary: An exciting wine that stands out from others in its class. Fist-pumping, table-thumping good.
★★★★ Sublime: Otherworldly. May have you thinking, “So this is what they were talking about.”
Since the Shenandoah Cup Awards Event we’ve seen several excellent reviews on our wines, along with other outstanding wines produced in the Shenandoah AVA. While we are especially thrilled with the attention given to Briedé wines, we are also very proud of the recognition being given to the AVA as a whole.
World Renowned Wine Critic Julia Harding of JancisRobinson.com
We are thrilled to have recently had three of our wines reviewed by renowned, international wine writer and critic, Julia Harding. Julia is the senior editor and staff writer for JancisRobinson.com (website of the world-renowned wine critic of the same name), and she is co-author, with José Vouillamoz and Jancis Robinson, of the multi award-winning Wine Grapes – a complete guide to 1,368 grape varieties including their origins and flavors.
In reviewing three Briedé Family Vineyards wines, Ms. Harding notes:
Briedé 2020 Sparkling Winchester - made from Cayuga White, a complex hybrid released in New York in 1972, traditional method, aged three years on the lees, dosage just 2 g/l. pH 3.15.
“The citrus, herbal and green-fruits aroma dominates the nose so that the yeasty autolytic character is subtle. It was quite frothy when first poured but settled down in the glass to a fine mousse and a much more obvious toasty character. There’s a slight sweet-sour impression on the finish even though the residual sweetness is so low. Packed with fruit but it’s in balance with the traditional method complexity from the yeast lees. Impressive for a hybrid variety, which has benefited from being take seriously in the winery, with the investment needed for long lees ageing.”
Score – 16.5 (Distinguished, 17 = Superior)
Briedé Soleil d’Ouest 2022 – made from La Crescent, a cold-hardy hybrid bred in Minnesota in 1988 and released in 2022. Cool fermentation and aged in stainless steel.
“Intense, ripe tropical fruits on the nose with a hint of roses giving it a floral aspect, smells a little like Gewürztraminer. Ripe on the palate too, highly scented, with a citrus freshness balancing those tropical fruit flavours and rose-petal notes. Much higher acidity than on a Gewürz, which makes this easy and refreshing. Really nicely made to bring out all the attributes of this variety to give a refreshing yet flavourful white with intensity and surprising length. I can imagine this variety might also be good in a blend as it is quite intense.”
Score – 16 (Distiguished)
Briedé Marquette 2022 – a complex hybrid created in 1989 in Minnesota, aged 9 months in French oak.
“Lightish cherry red and vibrant cherry and strawberry fruit on the nose. Just slightly herbal and delicately floral – nicely so. Light-bodied with lively red fruits and very gentle tannins. Fresh and refreshing. A really nice surprise with no really obvious hybrid notes except perhaps at the very end when there is something strawberry like. Excellent freshness on the finish. Juicy and mouth-watering.
Score – 16 (Distinguished)
Note: Jancis Robinson OBE, ComMA, MW is a British wine critic, journalist and wine writer. She currently writes a weekly column for the Financial Times, and writes for her website JancisRobinson.com, updated daily. She has also provided advice for the wine cellar of Queen Elizabeth II.
In addtion, Sparkling Winchester has caught the attention of some pretty well-known wine writers recently:
Washington Post Wine Writer Dave McIntyre
On Sparkling Winchester 2020 – “…what a delicious novelty it is! …it resembles Riesling or grüner veltliner, with scents of white flowers and lemon curd. It’s dry with a minerally, chalky palate-cleansing texture that will leave you with a smile, ready for the next sip. ”
Behind the Cork™ – Marc Kirkpatrick
“From the Shenandoah Valley AVA, here is a wonderful sparkling wine! On the nose, this Briedé Sparkling Winchester has notes of green apples, pears, and a bit of yeast. On the palate its bubbles are consistent and small with nice complexity and a lengthy finish... This is a unique Shenandoah Valley sparkling wine that’s perfect as this week’s Behind the Cork™ Wine of the Week. Cheers!”
Now and Zin – Randy Fuller
“2020 Briedé Sparkling Winchester Brut has a yellow straw color with a huge helping of white foam, which dissipates quickly to a frizzante appearance. It is wild while it's there, though. The nose offers beautiful aromas of green apples and apricots under an overlay of yeasty toast. The palate has a boatload of acidity and yeasty flavors of apples, and pears. Fun and tasty, too”.
Just a few more reasons to visit our tasting room and enjoy some truly lovely wines!
We went from participating in no festivals to really pushing our brand this year. So many people come to our tasting room and a common phrase I hear is "we didn't know about you" so in response to that, we decided to really push to get our name out there. We have 4 festivals this year with thousands of people visiting our booth and trying our wine. In addition we have signs up on I81 both North and South. We will be running ads in several publications and continue to be visible where we can.
In addition to our visible presence, we have changed some spaces within our own building. Some for the customers and some for our team.
Harvest is upon us!!
We are so excited about this year’s grapes! It's been a very dry season and because of some frost damage, our yields are not what they could have been. Earlier in the year, we experienced 3 major freezes taking out many of our buds, especially in Marquette and also La Crescent. The flip side of that is the plant can concentrate on fewer clusters. Between the extremely dry weather, (10.5 inches of rain all years, when we should be at 28 inches) it's making for some very concentrated fruit. Additionally, we really concentrated on opening the fruit zone to sun exposure. We are hoping for higher brix levels this year. (sugar) If you do this early on, it is very beneficial to the crop. Our canopy looks great as well and we have had no disease on the vines.
This Friday, August 25th we will be harvesting our Cayuga White for our Sparkling Winchester 2023 I just can't believe how fast this season has been going.
We have sold some of our Cayuga this year for the first time and actively looking for some Riesling to add to our lineup of wines.
Aging on the lees is our Sparkling Winchester 2020, 2021, 2022. This year’s Sparkling Winchester will be a Rose for 2023. SO EXCITING!
We have made some repeats of last year and also some new additions. One of the specialty wines is called Marquette. Think Pinot Noir! Yes, it's drinking just like it, but only a Hybrid available to club members only. This will be released in a few months as it was just bottled.
Another special wine is Soliel d'Ovest (La Crescent from our estate) I think we are the only grower of this grape that is producing wine from it in Virginia. It is a stunning grape and this variety won the governor's cup in Ohio.
On the horizon is a Port Tannat (3 years now and aging) as well as a dessert wine. We love making some interesting, one of kind wines to share with you.
Our Chocolate Red is hitting the wine market in VA by storm. We sold 60 cases in a short 3 weeks and allocated more of our Arandell this year to another 110 cases of this sought after wine. It won SILVER MEDALS in two international competitions.
Paul & Loretta
Two New Wines that are creating their own following in a big way
Think covered cherries with the most decadent CHOCOLATE!
Bries Estate 2022
Beautiful clean refreshing PEACHES!
Some very fun wines coming our way!
We were very excited to sample with our winemaker some very lovely wines from the 2022 vintage. The grapes from this year were just wonderful. They came in flawless. The growing season had a bit more moisture than normal but that didn't hurt us as we grow Hybrid grapes and they are not prone to disease. In a not-so-great season, these varietals shine. Here is a little peak at what is coming to the vineyard very soon.
Orange Wine- July 2023 This is stunning. I have tasted orange wines before but this separates itself from the pack. (at least the ones I have tried) We think it is reminiscent of a white Bordeaux in body and structure. Governor's Cup here we come!!!
Chocolate Arandell- April 2023 This is also very different that other chocolate wines. One, it holds the dark fruit color, two, it’s like a mouthful of rich dark chocolate. You will want to try this one if you are a chocolate lover.
Cayuga White- April 2023 In the vineyard this year, we added some chalk. Why? In the Champagne region of France, the soil is mostly Chalk. Since we make Sparkling Wine, we thought this might add some complexity to the wine. In the still version, it actually made it taste a bit like the Sauvignon Blanc grape. Nothing was changed in the wine making practice.
La Crescent- April 2023 this grape (not ours) won the Governor's Cup in Ohio. This has some lovely apricot flavors. Very powerful aromatics and flavor. We only made a limited amount as these grapes have not produced much yield yet as they are young vines.
Marquette- July 2023 this had a lot of chatter as a Hybrid. It actually has Pinot Noir in its parentage. Again, very young vines so we had a limited crop this year. It is an interesting wine almost like a Beaujolais.
Arandell 2022 July 2023- Great crop. We added a bit of American Oak to this.
Futures- Sparkling Winchester 2022 aging, we added the 3 champagne grapes......YUM, Tannat Port- aging, Arandell Port-aging. Sweet late harvest Cayuga- aging We tasting this wine and it was yummy with hints of Butterscotch.