Friday, September 16, 2016

Winery to Watch: Virginia's Early Mountain Vineyard

If you’re driving between Charlottesville and Gainesville, Virginia, on Route 29, you’ll see signs for a bunch of wineries. This little sliver of Virginia is home to some of the state’s most exciting wineries.

One of my favorite stops is Early Mountain Vineyard, located just a few miles off of Route 29 in Madison County. The scenery is beautiful and the winery and tasting room is massive, shiny and new. Also, the food. It is good to eat.

I recently stopped by Early Mountain again, this time with my wife and little girl, for lunch and a brief tasting.

I’ve pasted my notes on the wines below.

2015 Early Mountain Chardonnay - Virginia, Madison County
Well-done Virginia Chardonnay. Smells of pears and flowers, a bit of honey on fresh biscuits. Bright acidity keeps the wine crisp but there's a pretty creaminess to the wine. Delicious crunchy pear and yellow apple fruit mixed with hints of honey and white flowers. Balances out nicely with a clean finish. Fermented and aged in old oak barrels. (86 points)

2015 Early Mountain Vineyards Rosé - Virginia, Madison County
Smells lively and floral with some spice and rose hips to balance out the tart red fruit. Fruit and juicy but crisp and nervy as well. Nice spicy kick and floral perfume notes accentuate the red apple and strawberry fruit. Quite pretty, most definitely refreshing. 77% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 8% Syrah and 3% Malbec. (87 points)

2014 Early Mountain Vineyards Foothills - Virginia, Madison County
Smells of soft, warm red berries with a good dose of pepper. Smooth and silky on the palate, a combination based on medium-tannins, refreshing acidity and smooth red and black cherry fruit. Clove, pepper and earth round out the finish. A fresher style but still structured nicely. 60% Merlot, 40% Syrah, this juice sees a mix of French oak and stainless steel. (86 points)

2013 Early Mountain Vineyards Eluvium - Virginia, Madison County
Smells a lot spicier than the Foothills blend (the Petit Verdot really shines through). I get pepper, leather and earth on top of deep black cherries. Tannins show some grip, moderate acidity balances it out, and the fruit takes a deeper, richer route toward black cherries and saucy plums. Lots of savory spices and leather notes. Nice depth and concentration; I bought a bottle to cellar for a few years. 72% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in French oak. (88 points)

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