Taraxacum Season

April 25, 2013 § 1 Comment

Taraxacum Season

This has been a particularly dense season for dandelions all through the Estate Vineyards as well as across the property, and just driving through Loudoun County over the past few days I’ve seen more dandelions, I think, than any past Spring. I could be wrong of course. Maybe I just always forget how many we have.

In most residential or “landscaped” areas, these guys are considered noxious weeds, or pests, but there are a lot of benefits to dandelions: they’re great companion plants, bring nutrients to the soil, fix nitrogen, and act as bird food, which is not to mention all the culinary uses that are pretty much forgotten today (not to mention, especially, dandelion wine (which I’ve actually never had)).

The most interesting thing about dandelions, though, are the nicknames, like: blowball, cankerwort, doon-head-clock, witch’s gowan, milk witch, lion’s-tooth, yellow-gowan, Irish daisy, monks-head, priest’s-crown, puff-ball, faceclock, pee-a-bed, wet-a-bed, swine’s snout, white endive, and wild endive. I could go on.

Bud Break, 2013

April 18, 2013 § 1 Comment

Estate Vineyard #1 Chardonnay bud

Estate Vineyard #1 Chardonnay bud

Over the last two days (April 17th and 18th) we’ve seen bud break in all three vineyards, primarily the Chardonnays, Cab Francs, Traminette, and just a tad in the Viognier blocks. The next few days are looking warm and sunny, and most likely we’ll see the majority of the buds pop open, discounting the late breakers like Cab Sauv and Petit Verdot.

Overall we’re late in 2013. Winter was cold and long, and Spring has come late for all plants in our area – from the early-to-awaken daffodils and forsythia to the apple trees and rose bushes. This lateness is welcome, especially considering the frost damage in Loudoun County over the past three years. For perspective, this same Chardonnay saw budbreak on April 8th last year, a full ten days earlier. This is also potentially promising for mid-season ripeners like Viognier and Cabernet Franc, as it may push their ripening season into a period in late September when we see cooler days and night. But, who knows – it’s early. The season is just starting.

Shenandoah Springs Vineyard, Woodstock VA

April 5, 2013 § 1 Comment

Shenandoah Springs Vineyard, Woodstock VA

An early Spring photo of our Shenandoah Springs Vineyard. Across the pond stands the larger portion of Cabernet Franc, as well as Petit Verdot and Tannat. We’re currently in the stages of final pruning, as well as preparing the soil for our Viognier planting in a few weeks.

Sunset Hills Chardonnay Vertical, 2009-2012

April 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

Sunset Hills Chardonnay Vertical, 2009-2012

In honor of the release of our Sunset HIlls VIneyard 2012 Chardonnay, we wanted to taste a short retrospective of our previous four vintages. Particularly of interest to us has been the bottling of Chardonnay from our new vineyard, Shenandoah Springs, and how it’s going to stand and age relative to our first Estate Vineyard.

Sunset Hills Vineyard 2009 Chardonnay (100% Chardonnay, Estate Vineyard #1) – Nice balance of lees and fruit, with large creaminess, nuttyness, and the edges of an oxidized character. This wine was prized at the time for the great acidity we got from the 2009 vintage, and it still shows through. Fading, yes, but still quite interesting.

Sunset Hills Vineyard 2010 Chardonnay (100% Chardonnay, Estate Vineyard #1) – Dense fruit, heavily aromatic, almost a wall of white flower and cream. Full bodied, great thickness and sappiness. Very vibrant.

Sunset Hills Vineyard 2011 Chardonnay (100% Chardonnay, Estate Vineyard #1) – Relatively subdued due to the wet vintage. Herbal, with nice hints of eucalyptus. Very open, with wide spaces and more room, less overt in-your-face qualities of the other vintages. Easy on the back end, clean, crisp, fresh.

Sunset Hills Vineyard “Estate Vineyard #1” 2012 Chardonnay (100% Chardonnay, 100% Estate Vineyard #1 (and now bottled as a vineyard designate))
– Brightly floral, with white flowers, oranges, pears, honey. Very vibrant. Dense mid-palate. Loud, at this point. A powerful wine

Sunset Hills Vineyard 2012 Chardonnay (100% Chardonnay, 100% Shenandoah Springs Vineyard) – Our first bottling from the new vineyard in Woodstock. Very open, floral, with a green acid quality running through the entire wine. Potent aromatics. Great acidity. Leaner and more angular than what we get from Vineyard #1, also more expressive, more acidic, less flowers and more herbs.

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