It had been a while since I’ve visited Lake Anna Winery, but it appeared back on my radar when they won 3 Gold Medals for their Chardonnay, Petit Verdot, and Tannat in the 2020 Virginia Governor’s Cup competition; the Tannat went on to the Governor’s Case. This was a huge coup for a smaller winery; definitely one of the best showings in the entire competition. As I’m a fan of both Tannat and Petit Verdot, I definitely needed a revisit.
It so happened that owner Jeff Heidig and winemaker Graham Bell were available on a Friday afternoon, so I was able to sneak in before the inevitable crowds came down to buy-up all the award winning wine. Both gents still seemed a little dazed at the newfound recognition, to say the least.
I love the location; the winery is only a short drive from the lake it’s named after (the park also has great hiking trails!). Although mid-sized by Virginia standards, the tasting room is very spacious. There is plenty of room for events, plus a cozy fireplace. Jeff explained that the lake is a magnet for tourists, who often congregate here on rainy days.
Jeff also gave me some background on his vineyard; 19 acres of vines, with a mix of vinifera and hybrids. While much of their wine is estate, they still purchase some fruit from places like Horton. One surprising fact is they grow Dornfelder, a rarity in Virginia. While most often it goes into blends, in good years they sometimes have enough to bottle it on its own.
As Lake Anna has a diverse set of customers, their lineup of wines runs the range of dry to sweet options. Graham led me through a tasting while explaining his thought process in the creation of his Gold Medal winners.
For the white and sweet options, I really liked the 2019 Seyval, which was grassy and reminded me of a Sauvignon Blanc. The 2018 Seyval had strong apple notes, like a Granny Smith. The 2017 “Totally White” was an easy drinking semi-sweet that seems a good all-around crowd pleaser. The NV Claret was an easy drinking red blend with a hint of sweetness. I also enjoyed their “Concerto” red wine (enhanced with cherries) and the “Essential”, made in an ice-wine style. Needless to say, anyone partial to sweeter wines will find lots to love here.
From there we moved into the bolder reds. 2017 Merlot had notes of dark cherry and great acidity and roundness (no doubt assisted by the 10% Petit Verdot blended in). The 2015 Petit Verdot was fairly fruit-forward by PV standards. I even had a chance to sample some wines still in barrel; I especially liked the Dornfelder, which is a varietal I almost never see in Virginia.
But the highlight were those Gold-medal reds. I loved that 2017 Tannat; it had more fruit notes than I expected, and an interesting complexity that came from being fermented in neutral barrels but assisted with oaken staves. The 2017 Petit Verdot had strong tannin and acid, but with time this will soften up (plus this is a VERY age-worthy vintage).
If you haven’t been to Lake Anna – GO!