Late June I was invited to participate in another edition of Virginia Wine Chat. I really look forward to these tastings because each and every wine I have had the blessing to receive has been delicious! I have said it before and I will say it again, Virginia is producing some of the best wines in the United States. I wish they received more recognition for their efforts outside of Virginia and I wish their production and distribution could increase so the rest of the US and the world can enjoy these high quality wines. For now every wine I share with you in this and previous articles can be purchased direct from the winery.
In June we were introduced to Early Mountain Vineyards. Owners Jean and Steve Case said, “We love Virginia and we believe that our state’s wine has the potential to compete with some of the best wine regions in the world.” I completely agree!
Early Mountain Vineyards is located in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. The first land owner of the property was Revolutionary War Veteran Lt. Joseph Early, who opened up his home to a weary traveler one evening only to discover it was George Washington! This leads us to Early Mountain Vineyards Five Pillars:
- Place: Early Mountain Vineyards is a place of warm welcome and hospitality
- People: The people are at the heart of the wine, welcome and warm experience
- Passion: They are passionate about crafting the best wine the location allows, along with the food, experience, welcome and community
- Portfolio: Early Mountain Vineyards tasting room showcases their portfolio of wines as well as other wines from Virginia (see below)
- Purpose: Early Mountain’s purpose goes beyond their own winery or profit, they seek to strengthen Virginia communities and the Virginia wine industry as a whole
We tasted three Early Mountain Vineyards wines; here are my notes:
2014 Pinot Gris: This wine was crafted from 100% Pinot Gris. It poured a soft glistening gold into the glass and opened with aromas of orchard fruit, minerality, toasted almonds and a touch of savory herbs. On the palate this wine was crisp and clean with a round acidity; offering flavors of pears, Granny Smith apples, savory herbal notes, a touch of saline, spice, floral notes and sweet lemons all on a firm backbone of minerality. It offered layers of flavors and texture that I am unaccustomed to in a Pinot Gris. It was really delicious! Food pairing suggestions; ginger glazed salmon or grilled chicken, duck confit, spring pea risotto, seared sea scallops in a lemon butter sauce. SRP $24
2014 Rosé: This wine was crafted of 75% Merlot, 20% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Frac and 1% Syrah. It poured a very soft salmon with orange hues into the glass and opened with an aromas of strawberries, watermelon, stone fruit, herbal notes and a touch of rose petal. On the palate This Rosé was fresh and light on the palate yet full of flavors and texture. It was a fruit forward Rosé with flavors of apples, white peaches, and strawberries yet very well rounded with flavors of soft floral notes and savory herbal notes of sage and oregano. It was layered and textured and quite complex for a Rosé. This was an intentionally crafted Rosé with a twist, winemaker Jonathan Hollerith added 15% saignée to his Rosé blend for weight and length. As these two techniques seem to battle for legitimacy, Jonathan used both to his advantage and it worked beautifully: a truly delicious Rosé. This wine is a perfect aperitif but would also pair with soft cheese, light pasta dishes and seafood. SRP $22.
2013 Foothills: This wine was crafted of 64% Merlot and 36% Cabernet Franc. This wine poured a deep ruby into the glass and opened with aromas of bright red fruit, spice, violets, licorice, smoke, savory lavender, milk chocolate and toasted hazelnuts. This wine was medium body and very approachable with flavors of plums, currants, blueberries, baking spices, toasted walnuts, pepper and a mocha finish. It was smooth with balanced acidity and soft tannins. A perfect summer red wine that would pair exceptionally well with a grilled hamburger with blue cheese and for winter pasta with a Bolognese sauce or roasted turkey. SRP $27.
Earth and Vine from Early Mountain Vineyards
Because Virginia has a temperate climate and varied soil composition similar to many great European wine regions, we’ve carefully selected grape varieties with an eye towards the Old World to best express our uniquely New World terroir.
Additionally, Early Mountain Vineyards believes in biodiversity and sustainable farming practices. While visiting their winery you will see native wild flowers, orchards and lush gardens. All grapes are hand harvested and they use gravity techniques rather than machines for processing.
Throughout the winemaking process we prefer to intervene as little as possible in order to encourage this beautiful place to speak through our grapes, to let each variety tell a part of the story. And we want to share this story with you. Learning to appreciate the profound relation between soil, climate, and grape is essential to appreciating wine, and we hope that you will come taste, look, and discover with us.
Best of Virginia at Early Mountain Vineyards
Have you ever been to tasting room at a winery and they were pouring other wineries wines? While visiting the Early Mountain Vineyards tasting room you can enjoy their entire portfolio of wines AND a hand-picked selection of wines from their favorite Virginia wineries. These wineries include: Thibaut-Janisson, King Family Vineyards, Barboursville Vineyards, Chatham Vineyards, Breaux Vineyards, and Ankida Ridge Vineyards. You will recall I have written articles on King Family, Breaux and Ankida Ridge wines. Early Mountain Vineyards stands behind what they say to support the Best of Virginia!
Early Mountain Vineyard’s July and August calendars are packed with live music and cook-outs as well as tasting and tours so if you are in the area be sure to drop by for great wine, food, people and fun! Furthermore, Early Mountain Vineyards is located on the Monticello Wine Trail, filled with beautiful scenery and excellent wineries! Finally, Early Mountain Vineyards is the perfect location for weddings and special events, check out their web site for more details.
I encourage you to visit Early Mountain Vineyards web site to learn more about them, view their entire portfolio of wines and order these wines today!
My Song Selection: All three of the Early Mountain Vineyards wines were perfect for relaxing summer enjoyment. Each one pairs beautifully with food or can be enjoyed on its own. They were all layered and complex yet easy to drink and pleasing; which leads me to my song selection, Easy by The Commodores. I hope to travel the Monticello Wine Trail sometime soon and when I do Early Mountain Vineyards will be must stop!
Get your own bottles of Early Mountain Vineyards wines and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!