We always have fun making the multiple variety blends like Five Forks and Foothills. Both wines are made from vineyard blocks that produce fruit that stands in contrast to how we are told red wine or white wine should be. Over several vintages, we have noticed that Foothills inherently embraces classical Virginia vintages, even to the point in riper years, we find ourselves blending towards aromatics and a palate weight that could even be considered refreshing. While we many may recall we typically blend a small bit of Petit Manseng into this red blend, 2021 is unique in that we utilized Petit Manseng two ways to complement the fruit density of the vintage: we co-fermented juice with Petit Verdot, which allows for additional colour formation and aromatic diversity, as well as inclusion at final blending. This vintage of Foothills sees almost equal play between Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, with Tannat and Petit Manseng equaling each other and just a skosh of Cabernet Franc. We have always considered Foothills a “Bordeaux-ish” blend, with Petit Verdot being used at much higher percentages, but allowing for a lot more play using other varietals, like Tannat and Petit Manseng. It is this non-committal approach to blending that makes Foothills such a unique and vibrant wine.
In the lively spirit of Virginia, 2021 was an exciting vintage for Early Mountain. It very much reflects the impact of site, with regions throughout the state experiencing highly varying climatic events, greatly influencing the dynamic range in fruit attributes.
Early spring, we gratefully saw few frost events, escaping significant fruit damage. Despite some early season rains, bloom-time in the vineyard was quite dry, allowing for a good fruit set. With warm daytime temperatures throughout most of the growing season, we saw high and even ripening throughout both Quaker Run and Early Mountain vineyards. The late season rains, leading to harvest were also accompanied by notable drying (this was doubly obvious when tending to our new plantings, which need water!). Overall, despite harvest-time rainfall, we could not have asked for a better result.