January 8, 2013 § 8 Comments
Below are descriptions of the wines which will be included in the February, 2013 Estate Club Shipment:
Sunset Hills Vineyard Estate Club Select 2010 Nebbiolo –
The 2010 season was the first season we tried our hands at producing a Nebbiolo. We’ve had great luck with fruit grown at the Berry Hill vineyard – Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Mourvedre – so when the season was looking so promising, we thought we’d see what we could do with this finicky Italian varietal. There’s not a large amount of information on Virginia Nebbiolo – there are only a few wineries growing the grape that I know of, and even then, it’s always on a small scale – so we decided to tread lightly and see how the fruit expressed itself.
We were lucky that our inaugural Nebbiolo bottling came on such a strong year – high sugars, great ripeness, clean fruit – and therefore shows some of the more interesting varietal characteristics of the grape: delicate rose petals, tar, earth, violets, prunes, and that misleading light pigment. We’ve given the wine over a year in bottle to tame some of the intrinsic tannic power, but at the time of release to the wine club it’s still quite tannic on the back end, and could use additional bottle time. How will our Virginia Nebbiolo age relative to its Piedemont counterparts? We’ll have to see….
Vineyards: Berry Hill Vineyard, Orange, VA
Waterford Vineyard, Waterford, VA
Blend: 95% Nebbiolo
5% Petit Verdot
Sunset Hills Vineyard 2011 Petit Verdot –
Blend: 90% Petit Verdot
In many ways, Petit Verdot was a savior of the 2011 red harvest. While the heavy rains of the season made it difficult for most reds to ripen as fully as we’d prefer, Petit Verdot, which is naturally quick to ripen very fully, made it through the rains with style. Additionally, with its small, tough berries and heavy pigment, what was not used in this varietal blend became a very important blending piece for our other 2011 red wines. The best Petit Verdot of the season, however, was saved for this blend.
We don’t always make a varietal Petit Verdot, but when the quality is high enough, and when the wine is interesting enough, we’re excited to bottle it. The 2011 is no exception to the characteristics we’re coming to understand of these vineyards – dark fruits, prunes, brambles, cherries, spice, with a nice round mouthfeel and powerful, gripping tannins. Petit Verdot is certainly not for everyone, but those who like it really seem to love it, and we’re happy that we’ve got a customer base with enough Petit Verdot fanatics to keep us busy with this grape.