Another massive wine from the 2010 vintage with opague black to crimson color. The nose is the most complete and complex of this years Commonwealth wines with spice, red, blue and black fruit and even floral notes. The palate is full of chocolate and spice with underlying black berry characters all accentuated by a great streak of acidity and velvety tannins leading to the long finish. Our first completely Honah Lee Red in 2010 have turned out to be something even we are envious of. While it is good now, this wine will benefit from a few years in the cellar and continue to gain complexity for 10-12 years.
This wine would be great with Fields of Athenry Lamb Shanks slow braised in red wine, beef broth and chopped Farmer John Heirloom Tomatoes served over truffled cheddar grits and creamed spinach.
The Honah Lee Vineyard is a steep South East facing slope sitting at about 1300 feet elevation in the mountains just outside Orange, VA. The soils consist of hard red clay leading to more fruit driven wines. The wines tend to get very exotic characters to them while maintaining a balance of acidity due to their great sunlight exposure, as well as the cooler nights from the elevation. The vines are all trained on cordon pruned vertical shoot positioning to best collect sunlight exposure and minimize pressures. We have worked with Honah Lee since 2007 when we first made D9 from their Touriga Nacional. Now we source Viognier, Roussanne, Chardonnay, Petit Manseng, Petit Verdot, Tannat and Pinotage from Honah Lee.
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 SuperNoVA is created through selecting three of our new Virginia Oak barrels from our Honah Lee Vineyard wines. The grapes were cold soaked for 7-8 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 92 degrees Fahrenheit. The total time the wine spent on the skins was 31 days. The wine was in barrel for 18-20 months and bottled unfined and unfiltered.
(Tannat 67%, 33% Petit Verdot) (100% Honah Lee Vineyard)
Date Harvested: September 17-26, 2010
Brix at Harvest: 25.6
T.A.: 5.98 g/l – 0.598%
V.A.: 0.89 g/l - 0.089%
Residual Sugar: 0
- Stainless (100%) – temp 92 F max.
- Indigenous Yeast
- New Virginia Oak – 100%
- Planned 18 months
Malo-Lactic Fermentation: 100%