More than any other wine, our dry Petit Manseng represents our winegrowing philosophy at Early Mountain - constantly learning and adapting our techniques to meet our sites. Sometimes Petit Manseng’s acidity seems exceptionally high, but we have begun to utilize techniques, such as long lees contact, malolactic fermentation, etc., to mitigate and balance the acid, while making a dry wine. Fermented in primarily large format barrels (500L to 1000L) the long, very slow, ambient fermentation gives ample contact with the lees, and the addition of our “perpetual lees” barrel (still going since 2017) adds richness and a brioche undertone. With 2021, we leaned into cofermenting multiple passes in our vineyard blocks to create layered aromatics and textural attributes, as well as utilized Petit Manseng from sites throughout the state.
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.