Definitely the roundest, biggest style of Charval made to date. The vintage really shows in this wine with intense aromatics of tropical fruit like mango and papaya blend with more classic citrus and crisp apple notes. The palate is dry, with still some fresh acidity from the Petit Manseng holding together the fuller bodied fruit forward wine. The crisp character of the wine leads to a long citrus driven finish. This is best in its youth but will drink well for another couple years.
Fantastic with some local Chesapeake Rockfish in a ginger and mandarin sauce over grilled Tarara asparagus and Chesapeake Blue Crab hash.
The Chardonnay in this blend comes from Indian Springs Vineyard, Mountainview Vineyard and small portions of Nevaeh Vineyard. The Viognier, Roussanne and Petit Manseng come from Honah Lee Vineyard and the Sauvignon Blanc comes from a vineyard just outside Front Royal.
The Chardonnay from Indian Springs is a high elevation 1100 feet vineyard outside Winchester and is characterized by its minerality and crisp acidity. The Chardonnay 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 Chardonnay selections from our estate vineyard Nevaeh are 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. 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, Petit Manseng and Roussanne come from Honah Lee Vineyard in Orange, VA. 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.
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 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. Small portions of each variety were fermented on barrel (about one barrel each). The remainder was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine was fermented with a combination of indigenous yeast to promote terroir and complexity and commercial yeast to ensure fermenting to dryness given the high sugars of some varieties in 2010. 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.