||August 31-October 6, 2010
||21.2 avg brix
||5 months barrel and stainless steel
||Neutral Nevers forest French oak
||New Jupilles forest French oak
||Second fill Nevers forest French oak
||Second use Vosges forest French oak
||cultivated yeast - barrel and stainless steel
||March 15, 2011
This golden straw wine shows the complexity of its many elements. The aromatics are intense and shoot from the glass showing ripe pineapple, banana, floral notes, mint, blanched almonds and a streak of minerality. The palate is fresh and clean with a crisp acidity showcasing the ripe fruit and some smokiness. The finish is long and bright with zesty citrus and floral notes. This wine is best consumed in its youth to enjoy its vibrant fruit.
Our Pinot Gris Grapes are sourced from the Pond Block of our estate vineyard. The pond block has the deepest and best drained soils in the Tarara Vineyard. This helps with root development and keeping aromatic concentration in the fruit. The pond block is the coolest location at Tarara with morning shade from the joining forest. This helps us hang the fruit further into the growing season to maximize flavor development while also preserving our acidity. The pond block is best suited to our aromatic varieties Viognier and Pinot Gris. The Pinot Gris is planted oriented in two different ways. Our North/South oriented rows enjoy more sunshine allowing more tropical and honey like characters in the wine. The East/West oriented rows allow for better acid structure and citrus notes. Together they complement each other creating a more complex wine.
The Chardonnay for the Charval came from five different areas. The first comes from a vineyard called Wild Meadow in the Piedmont of Loudoun just outside Hillsborough and is the Chardonnay Musque clone and is 14% of the blend. It is a south east facing slope with clay soils in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This portion was harvested for its ripe tropical flavor profile and backbone of acidity. The second Chardonnay 24% of the blend comes from a high elevation 1100 feet vineyard outside Winchester called Indian Springs and is characterized by its minerality and crisp acidity. The third Chardonnay (9%) comes from Mountainview Vineyard in Roanoke county at 1300 feet elevation with stony soils and also has great minerality, but has a riper and softer mouth feel then Indian Springs. The last two Chardonnay selections come from our estate vineyard Nevaeh from the Road and Hill Blocks. The Hill is characterized by its deeper soils and limestone deposits as well as its south facing slope. It get’s our ripest Chardonnay with gobs of fruit, but a nice backbone of acidity and a streak of loamy character. The Road vineyard is extremely hot and creates wines with a fat mouth feel and more citrus notes.
The Sauvignon Blanc comes from a west facing steep slope in the mountains just outside Front Royal, Virginia at Glen Manor Vineyards. The stony and steep soils allow for some minerality to come into the fruit while the cooler mountainside creates Sauvignon Blanc with some fresh herbal notes and the afternoon sun ads some great pineapple components from abundant sunlight.
The Viognier for the Charval came from Eagle Tree Vineyard about 2 miles from Tarara as the crow flies. The vineyard is just off the Potomac with deeper clay soils and good air movement that creates Viognier with ripe tropical notes and a soft lush palate.
The 2010 vintage simply put was hot and dry. With Loudoun County and Monticello receiving really no recordable precipitation from May until October we knew that berry weights were going to be down significantly. This is the result of less water in the fruit and therefore creates more intense concentration. That coupled with the record breaking heat that we received (many 100+ days) the fruit in 2010 is exotic, rich, fruit driven and powerful. The sugars far outpaced the ripening of flavors, phenolic ripeness and acidity ripeness so one should expect higher alcohols then in any other vintage in Virginia, which should be well balanced still by the intensity of fruit and pure power of the wines.
Even though the season was uncharacteristically hot and dry, there was also very low humidity which was a nice change for us in Loudoun and most of Virginia. This caused some of the healthiest vines we have seen and the least hands on work that was needed. The Winter leading up to the growing season saw record snow falls which left the soil with the moisture needed to help maintain health without the need of any irrigation, while still not being abundant and causing any dilution issues. The crop was incredibly small with even less yield from the fruit meaning that the 2010’s will not be in large supply, although they are expected to be in large demand.
While the 2010’s might not be the best expression of our terroir in general, the wines are of a different style that many will find very enjoyable. These wines are about extraction, richness, exuberant fruit, and exotic character, as apposed to our normal elegant yet powerful styles that most of our vineyards offer.
The fruit was immediately chilled after harvest in order to press the fruit at 32 degrees F. This helps the integrity of the fruit and helps keep away from any phenolic or color (from the Pinot Gris) extraction from the skins and seeds. The fruit was hand sorted by the winemaker and whole bunch pressed in an anaerobic environment. This process ensured only the best bunches were allowed into the fermentation. The anaerobic environment created with dry ice ensured that no aromatics were oxidized out prior to the ferment. After pressing at a maximum pressure of 1.2 bar to be certain to leave all seeds intact and not over extract the juice was settled for 48 hours at 32 degrees F. The juice was then racked for fermentation. A portion of the Chardonnay and all of the Viognier of this wine was fermented en barriques. The remainder was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine was all fermented on native yeast to get a better understanding of the terroir of each vineyard block and to create more complexity from the fruit. Post fermentation the stainless steel portions were racked twice before being blended. The barrel fermented portion was racked once into tank, then once back to barrel. After 6 months the barrels were blended together with the wine in stainless steel to create a more complex and developed wine. The wine has been cold and heat stabilized. The wine was filtered.
This wine screams for Seared Sea Scallops in a spicy, citrus beurre blanc served over lemon zest risotto.