Virginia wine country

Kirsty Harmon, the winemaker for Blenheim Vineyards who studied microbiology in college, pours rkatsiteli, her pineapple-scented white wine made with grapes first grown in the Republic of Georgia, and talks about how a side gig as a calligrapher led to her vocation. Over lunch at Gabriele Rausse Winery, on a creek bank outside Charlottesville, Virginia, Ian Boden, chef and owner of the Shack in nearby Staunton, plates a riff on the Lao dish known as larb. It’s made with Hickory King grits, Allan Benton’s bacon from Tennessee, and dried shrimp from Louisiana. A rhubarb sorbet and a Stinson Vineyards late harvest petit manseng, flush with tangerine and honey, follow cold fried chicken and a killed lettuce salad tossed with fiddleheads. “French winemakers now come here from Burgundy,” says Peter Rausse, son of pioneering Virginia winemaker Gabriele Rausse. “In Burgundy they make Burgundy. Here, we can make anything and everything.”  JTE