With Five Forks now on its seventh installment, we feel we have developed a well honed relationship between two very different grapes. As always, Petit Manseng desires the spotlight, wants the lead (it’s an extrovert, a little type A, and Sauvignon blanc is happy to be the right hand, though it certainly vamps when PM is not looking. This pairing of grapes has become the foundation for our blending, and they give us a template to refine our technique in the cellar and our work in the vineyards. In 2021, they are almost the entire blend, with just a touch of aromatic salt and pepper from Malvasia and Muscat. This vintage brings a bit more ripeness and concentration than 2020, and the grapes were picked with more acidity, so we allowed more of the lots to go through malolactic fermentation, resulting in a creamier wine than previous vintages. 2021 was an exciting vintage, and it shows in this Five Forks. There’s no doubt these two grapes have an affinity for each other, regardless of vintage, and we are excited to cultivate their relationship.
The growing season in Virginia was dynamic to say the least, adding to the chaotic nature of the year as a whole. Despite 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