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Michael Heny, Winemaker for Horton Vineyards

By:

Michael Heny has been making wine since 1990. He studied mechanical engineering and comparative literature at University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Following graduation, he learned the craft of winemaking while working for Archie Smith at Meredyth Vineyards, Shep Rouse at Montdomaine and Alan Kinne at Horton. “Equally important was my time spent immersed in the world of wine selling wine at Calvert Woodley,” he says. “I tried some wines in those years that continue to haunt me to the day.” His first harvest at Horton was in 1997. This year will mark his 20th harvest.

THE WINEMAKER

Philosophy: “Respect the fruit, and allow the wine to take you where it wants to go rather than trying to force it into a preconceived notion of what you want it to be. When your rkatsiteli wants to be a light, low alcohol white, let it be that. If your tannat is telling you that it really needs another 10 months in the barrel before it comes around, then maybe you should listen and give it the extra 10 months.”

A Word of Wisdom: “Lieb was rar ist, trinkt was klar ist”
Love what is rare; drink what is clear. The rest will fall into place.

Accolades and Awards:
• 2014 Petit Manseng, Gold Medal, 2016 Governor’s Cup Case.
• 2010 Tannat, Gold Medal, 2014 Governor’s Cup Case.
• 2014 Côtes d’Orange, selected for 2016 American Wine Society’s National Tasting Project (the only non-California wine to be selected).
• 2015 Albariño, 88 points, eRobertParker.com #224, reviewed by Mark Squires.
• 2015 Viognier included as 1 of 6 wines in “How to build a 6-bottle wine collection that impresses” —Dave McIntyre, Washington Post. (June 2016)

THE WINERY

Overview: Horton Vineyards is a pioneer in Virginia wine. Introducing varietals that thrive in our climate has played a key role in creating today’s vibrant industry. It is unlikely that viognier, petit manseng, albariño, tannat, nebbiolo or pinotage would have made it here had Dennis Horton not followed his instincts.

Highlighted events:
• July 16: Annual Pig Roast
• Nov. 5: Fall Barrel Tasting
• Nov. 25–26: Holiday Open House

Offerings: Horton has a tasting room on site, as well as a conference area available for meetings and get-togethers. Picnic areas are enhanced with pristine views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In addition to their focus on fascinating varietal wines, they offer sparkling, port, dessert and fruit wines.

Recommendations: 2015 Viognier: “Whereas the wines were once curiosities on account of their origin in Virginia, they’ve now come to stand as such a string of Viognier exemplars that one wonders if Horton hasn’t become the USA’s premier producer of the variety.”
—Michael Franz, WineReviewOnline.com
(Feb. 2014)

2015 Albariño: Finely chiseled wine with aromas of lime blossoms, ripe melon and tangerine skin.

2015 Petit Manseng: An engaging piña colada nose, this wine is rich with creamy flavors followed by a cleansing wash of bold acidity.

2015 Côtes d’Orange: 55 percent syrah, 29 percent pinotage, 16 percent mourvedre, this wine is our take on new world GSM blends. The “G” didn’t work out for us, so we put in a “P” for pinotage, which does great here.


Horton Vineyards
6399 Spotswood Trail, Gordonsville
540-832-7440 • HVWine.com
Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Angela Blue
Author: Angela Blue

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