A Tasting of the Wines for the December, 2012 Estate Club Shipment

October 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

Below is description of the wines we’ve chosen for our December 2012 Estate Club Shipment:

Sunset Hills Vineyard “Block 29” Cabernet Franc 2010 –

What is “Block 29”?

Each year, we pick our different vineyards or vineyard blocks and make all the wines separately.  This can mean we make 30 to 35 different wines in any given year.  These are then generally blended down into the 15 or so wines we bottle; however, when a “block” or “lot” is particularly interesting, we sometimes bottle it as its own.  The first example of this was the 2008 Benevino Cabernet Franc, named after the vineyard of origin.

The 2010 “Block 29” Cabernet Franc is our second such bottling.  100% Cabernet Franc from Berry Hill Vineyard, in Orange, VA, this was the 29th wine we harvested during the 2010 harvest.  With aromatics and texture much different than our other bottlings of Cabernet Franc, the “Block 29” stood out as being so interesting and unique that we didn’t want to blend it away.

The wine itself is more feminine than our other 2010 Cab Franc bottlings – light, ethereal aromatics of red fruits, cedar, toast, vanilla.  The mouthfeel is very broad, very lush and open, very round.  Tannins are delicate and spicy, very long and lingering.  A memorable Cabernet Franc.

The Vineyard: Berry Hill Vineyard, Orange, VA

Berry Hill Vineyard is a 30 year old vineyard in Orange, VA – one of the older plantings of Cabernet Franc in all of Virginia.  Fruit is grown on a Lyre system.

Blend: 100% Cabernet Franc

Bottling Date: 5.21.12

Cases Produced: 228

Sunset Hills Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Franc 2010 –

On any given year, we break vineyard blocks into between 4 and 8 separate lots of Cabernet Franc, based upon soil, location, microclimate, seasonal variations in different vineyards, our cumulative knowledge of wines produced in previous years, and a number of winemaking parameters (yeast, fermentation temperature, barrels used, and other winemaking methods).  Through this, we have come to understand that our deepest, most intriguing and complex, and certainly most lush Cabernet Franc wines consistently originate in our Vineyard #1 block, in Purcellville.  Part of this is because we generally crop the overall yield lower, and part of this is simply that the vineyard produces better fruit.

For the 2010 Reserve Cabernet Franc, we used Vineyard 1 Cabernet Franc as a base, aged in 20% new Hungarian oak, 5% new French oak, and the remainder 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fills of French and American.  Furthermore, we blended in a portion of our Benevino Vineyards Cabernet Franc which brought great color, palate weight, and supple tannins to the blending table.

Vineyards: Sunset Hills Vineyard #1, Purcellville, VA

Benevino Vineyard, Opequon, VA

Blend: 83% Cabernet Franc, 17% Petit Verdot

Bottling Date: 5.21.12

Cases Produced: 210 at 750ml, 15 at 1.5l

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