2009 Tannat (Estate Club Select)
June 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
Two weeks ago we bottled the second wine which we felt had the filigree and uniqueness to wear the Estate Club Select label, our 2009 Tannat. (Actually, the Tannat was the first Estate Club wine we made, but the second we bottled.) It joins the ranks of our sold-out-so-fast-even-the-owner-can’t-get-it 2010 Petit Manseng, which is, in my opinion, one of the five most exciting wines we’ve ever made. I won’t tell you what the others are, other than that our Tannat is in the ranks as well.
Tannat is a wonderfully obscure Madiranian varietal that produces dark, brambly, acidic, and highly tannic red wines. It’s gained prominence in Uruguay, and is grown sparingly in Virginia despite making some of our most interesting, and apparently age-worthy, wines.
We understood early in the blending of our 2009 reds that the Tannat stood out amongst its peers, and that it would be a shame to lose it in blending and not showcase its wonderfully spicy fruit, huge, lean backbone, and depth. In working toward the final blend for this wine, I tasted some really wonderful Virginia Tannats, notably Hillsborough Vineyard’s 2007 Onyx, and Horton Vineyards’ 2002 Tannat, and became more and more excited about how this grape was faring in Virginia.
The wine was given 18 months in oak and a blending partner in our Vineyard 1 Merlot (known, in the cellar, as the “strawberry and chocolate” barrels). I expect we’ll give it 6-8 months in bottle (maybe more) before releasing it to the Estate Club. Of all the wines we produce, this one especially has potential for laying down and allowing some serious bottle ageing. Even now, though, just weeks after bottling, it’s hugely expressive and broad, very open and very powerful. Estate Club members: look for this one in the winter!