||September 23, 2010
||18 months - New Virginia Oak
||Indigenous yeast - stainless steel
||August 15, 2012
This dark ruby colored wine is everything Merlot should be. Intense red berry, licorice and cocoa notes shoot from the glass leading to a medium body palate. The palate is silky and intense without being heavy showing incredible complexity with berry fruit and oak spice. Although juicy and exciting now, this wine will also develop further over the next 6-8 years.
90 - Wine Enthusiast - The nose is packed with dark notes of desiccated strawberry, red currant and caramel lozenge, plus dried herb and maduro subtleties. Astringent, lip-grabbing tannins bolster the fleshy, medium- to full-bodied palate. A few more years of bottle aging should help mitigate some of the tannic blow, but enjoy it now with a brief decanting and a slab of grilled meat. — A.H. (3/1/2013)
The Merlot in the CasaNoVA 2010 comes from the Hill block of Nevaeh.
The Hill Block of Nevaeh vineyard is a south facing slope that creates most of Tarara’s richest fruit. The soils are deeper and there is better air movement coming from the closer proximity to the Potomac River. This helps the fruit enjoy a longer potential hang time in Loudoun’s warmer fall evenings. There are several limestone deposits that cut through the Hill block because of its close proximity to the river. The fruit from the Hill tends to be well structured and more complex showing a great combination of bright berry fruit and minerality.
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 Commonwealth CasaNoVA is created through selecting three of our new Virginia Oak barrels from our Nevaeh Vineyard wines. The grapes were cold soaked for 7 days for good color, tannin and flavor extraction from the skins prior to the presence of alcohol. The fermentation was fairly quick and warm having it’s peak temperature range at 91 degrees Fahrenheit. The total time the wine spent on the skins was 28 days. The wine is due to stay in barrel for 18-20 months and will be assessed as to the qualities and bottled unfined and unfiltered.
This wine would work beautifully with the classic Duck a la Orange with its bright acid and silky tannins to cut through the oiliness of the duck and the acid of the orange and enough fruit to balance with those heavy duck flavors.
It would also well with Roasted Cicama Farms Pork Tenderloins stuffed with fresh garden wilted spinach and Blue Ridge Ricotta served over roasted brussel spouts and shallots with simply fingerling potatoes.