21 & 22 September – Our Latest Chardonnay Harvest To Date

September 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Those bins don't fill themselves



September 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

If we’re learning anything, it’s how much variation exists between vintages in Virginia.  This time last year, for instance, we had already picked about 40 tons of fruit, and in some cases had already fermented and barreled down the newly made wine.  Today, however, we’re just twiddling our thumbs, (im)patiently waiting for proper flavor development.  Not only were rains in August heavier than normal, but, at the start of September, we got a 10 day stretch of rain and overcast days, slowing ripening to a near-halt and creating pretty good conditions for mildew, were it to want to thrive.

Chardonnay grapes enjoying the sun after a liberating leaf-pull

Luckily it did not.  Our vineyard crew spent many enjoyable days in ponchos and rain boots pulling leaves from around grape clusters to allow airflow around berries, which helps dry things out to avoid potential rot problems.  Seems to have paid off.  We’ve got healthy fruit hanging after some pretty bad rainstorms.  Now that the sun’s out, we wait.

Like a nude beach for vinifera

 We have picked a few small lots – one of Viognier, and one of Albariño, which was being stolen, grape by grape by grape, by our neighborhood robins.  Weather looks good for the next seven or eight days, so we’ll be doing what we do best: waiting.

A Description of the Wines in our October 2011 Estate Club Shipment

September 8, 2011 § Leave a comment


2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

 Production Notes: Two-thousand and nine was what everybody calls a “classic” year here, which for the red wines means bright, open red fruit, nice acidity, and an underlying spiciness.  I really love all these wines for their depth and food-friendliness.   The Cab Sauv is no exception.  In general, fermentation here was on the cooler side (our portion of the world was quite cold by late October, when this fruit was picked), with long pre- and post-fermentation macerations to help with extraction.  In addition, we bled off roughly 15% of the juice to use with our rosé, which also helped to beef up the wine.  Aged 18 months in mostly American oak.

Blend: 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, Tranquility Vineyard, Purcellville, VA; 11% Cabernet Franc, Benevino Vineyard, Opequon, VA; 6% Petit Verdot, Sunset Hills Vineyard #2)

Tasting Notes: This wine reeks of huge cedar bucketfuls of bright red fruit dumped atop light velvety spice, and is just beginning to enter a world of cigarbox and potpourri spices.  A medium-bodied Cab Sauv, the flavor is heavy on candied cherry and red currant, with slivers of hearty oak and a long, spice-filled finish. 

Production: 435 cases

Alcohol: 13.2%


2009 Reserve Cabernet Franc

 Production Notes:  Throughout each year we perform multiple blind tastings to determine what (if any) vineyard blocks will comprise our Reserve bottling.  For the third year in a row we unanimously chose the entire Cabernet Franc portion of our Vineyard #1, comprised of our oldest Cab Franc vines on VSP.  This vineyard consistently avoids all the bell pepper pyrazine problems often associated with Cab Francs from this area, and makes plump, lush wines full of dark, brooding fruit.  We leaned heavily on Hungarian oak, from a number of cooperages, to lift fruit and add spiciness.   A small addition of Petit Verdot beefs up the tannins and tends to lift the fruit even more. 

Blend: 93% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot

Tasting Notes:  Very dark aromatics for a Cabernet Franc, teetering toward licorice and cola, with the buttery, lush quality we’ve come to expect from our Reserve vineyard.  Massively spicy and jammy, with some young tannins.  Very open, expressive, and tightly powerful.

Production: 346 cases (plus 15 magnums)

Alcohol: 14.4%

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