I visited Revalation on their opening weekend in early 2018 and loved it so much I knew I wanted to revisit. The wine of course was excellent – made in a very French style (no doubt thanks to wine maker Matthieu Finot, of King Family fame). But the highlight was chatting up owners Francoise and Julian as they poured.
Francoise was working the tasting room when I visited this time. Originally from Belgium, she came to the U.S. working as a professor before she and Julian decided to open a winery. When I asked about her background (I pried from her that she studied in Berkley and Stanford, taught in Georgetown, and has a PhD in Statistical Science) she very modestly described herself as a bartender. If so, she’s the most modest and over-educated bartender I’d ever met!
She and her hubby were inspired by the story of surgeon/medical innovator-turned-wine maker Tom Fogarty to open a winery. If you’re unaware, Fogarty is a really big deal in medicine; he invented the tools we use today to treat blood clots. But if that wasn’t enough, he retired to open a very prestigious California winery. With an idol like that, you can understand how a statistician/dentist pair decided to open a winery with no background in farming.
Revalation’s wines are 100% estate; they have over 12 acres under vine, mostly down the road. The tasting room is a wooden cabin that was taken from the grounds of an old plantation. It’s tiny but cozy – you won’t have space for a party but you can definitely sit down with a few friends with a bottle. Since they are on the foothills of the Shenandoah, the view of course is amazing.
I found the wines to have a special emphasis on blends; likely a reflection of the owner’s background in Europe and that their wine maker is a Frenchman. Even the white wines tended to have a little ‘extra’ to spice them up.
What I tried:
2017 Petit Manseng: Light for a Petit Manseng; no sugary notes. Nice but not heavy.
2017 Sauvignon Blanc: Light and fruitier than I remember most Sauv Blancs.
2015 Melange de Rouges (Rose): Cab Franc heavy; strawberry/rhubarb notes.
2016 Quatre Blanc (70% Petit Manseng, plus Sauv Blanc, Pinot Gris and Viognier): High acidity; definitely liked it.
2017 Melange a Quatre (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Tannat): Very fruity! Could easily be chilled.
2017 Village (77% Cab Sauv, 16% Tannat, 7% Cab Franc): Very nice blend that worked well together; bold-ish but not overly bold.
“Verjus”, or “Green Juice”: Not tried but worth a note. Verjus a high acid juice made from unripe grapes; a French creation, of course. Francoise had several suggestions on how to make into a spritzer but can be used as a dressing.
A special shout out goes to their 2015 Villages; one of my favorite Virginia 100% Cabernet Sauvignons! Come winter I’m definitely revisiting for their Tannat.
Thanks again to Revalation for my visit; I’d love to know what everyone else thinks.