This vineyard designate Chardonnay is made from the oldest vines at our Quaker Run Vineyard (planted in 1999). We realized this block was special for Chardonnay and in 2015 we pursued a single vineyard bottling. With the overarching goal that this parcel would be bottled separately, from pruning throughout the whole growing season, we farm this block differently from other Chardonnays. This approach and patience is continued in the cellar, with fermentation, barrel choices, lees work all seeking to highlight the precision in the vineyard. Due to our reliance on ambient yeast for the fermentation, and the ripeness of the grapes, the wine fermented for four months and continued to rest on its lees until January of 2022, when it was bottled.
The 2020 growing season in Virginia was dynamic. With an early budbreak followed by frost risk in late April and early May, Early Mountain was lucky to avoid the worst of it with only a Petit Manseng block and some lower areas of Chardonnay impacted. The first half of the growing season was relatively dry and quite hot in June and July. Late July and early August brought a lot of moisture that was very challenging, but things dried out a bit heading into harvest. We ended up in a dance with the Atlantic, as tropical systems waltzed through every ten days for two months. Once again, we were lucky to be spared the worst of the weather, and we emerged at the end of harvest with a cellar full of high quality 2020 wines. In the spirit of every vintage being different from every other in our state, 2020 was unique in that the first half produced lighter wines with high acid and the second half brought riper, more classic wines.