We continue to ferment block by block to understand precisely what we get (and want) from each. In 2021, we made a few notable changes, adding more early-picked Merlot to the blend and using Malbec and Petit Verdot to drive color and acidity. Cabernet Franc provides the background herbal and savory notes that have always supported the fruit in this bottling, and we retain a bit of Syrah, but it is riding into the vinous sunset. 2021 has a bit more concentration as well, the result of the dry summer conditions making for smaller berries and a higher skin to juice ratio. The citrus tones of our rosé take a bit more of a leading role, edging the berry character to the side, just a bit. 2021 has more density, but continues in our “classic” style, fresh, energetic and thirst quenchingly pure.
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.