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Spotlight on Winemakers: French Winemakers Bringing the Old World to the New Virginia

Spotlight on Winemakers: French Winemakers Bringing the Old World to the New Virginia

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Posted on December 04, 2012

Nearly a decade has passed since French born Claude Thibaut, a master of the "methode champenoise", packed up and moved to Charlottlesville. Bringing with him his "old world" wine knowledge, he has spearheaded the evolution of sparkling wine in Virginia wine region. He then went on to launch his own label in partnership with Manuel Janisson, producer of the Champagne Janisson & Fils. The Janisson Family winery is nearly a century old and was led by Manuel Janisson's grandfather vision to produce his own wines from the vines that he grew in Verzenay, France. Together, Claude and Manuel have cultivate their signature Thibaut-Janisson "Blanc de Chardonnay" sparking wine and the Virginia FIZZ. Their wines have received several accolades and were served at the White House in 2009 at President Obama's State Dinner. We are proud to call Thibaut-Janisson one of our esteemed partners in the Best of Virginia program, housed here at Early Mountain Vineyards.
Notable sparkling wines are produced across the globe, and recently Virginia has embarked on a path to raise the profile of its sparklers and the overall notoriety of the region's wines. Local vineyards, including Afton Mountain, Prince Michel, Veritas, Barboursville Brut, Kluge and Horton, are just a sampling of those delving in the "methode champenoise" wine-making practices.
When it comes to wine, there is no ingredient more important than location and these winemakers are embracing the Virginia made "stamp of approval". A majority of Virginia vintners refer to these varietals on their labels as "sparking wines", rather than Champagne. This is because in order for a wine to be considered a Champagne it must originate in the region which is located approximately 90 minutes northeast of Paris, France.Unfortunately, a loophole in U.S. law enables some domestic producers to also use foreign place names on wine bottles that are produced in the U.S.and nearly 50 percent of the sparkling wine in the United States is mislabeled as "Champagne".
Fifteen of the world's premier wine regions, along with more than 100 of the world's most renowned chefs and sommeliers have joined together in a joint effort to protect wine origins and demand truth-in-labeling practices. These regions include Champagne, Chianti Classico, Jerez, Long Island, Napa Valley, Oregon state, Paso Robles, Porto, Rioja, Sonoma County, Victoria, Walla Walla Valley, Washington state, and Western Australia. Chefs included some of D.C. and Virginia's most noted chefs likeMichel Richard from Citronelle, Jose Andres of Think Food Group and Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve. They are joined by internationally renowned chefs such as Thomas Keller from Per Se and the French Laundry, Ferran Adrifrom El Bulli, Wolfgang Puck and many others from around the globe.??
The passion that Virginia winemakers place in each grape and the origins of their vines is what makes our region's wines unique. We too demand authenticity in our wines and products served at Early Mountain Vineyards. To learn more about the Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin visitwww.protectplace.com.