In celebration of International Women's Day, we asked some of the women leaders at Early Mountain to share their favorite wine picks. We hope you love these wines as much as we do!
Jenna Ford, Tasting Room Manager:
Cabernet Franc - all of them!
Ben's expression of Cabernet Franc is forever my go-to bottle of choice. His approach to focus on single vineyard sites allows for the true characteristics of the terroir to shine through while showcasing the versatility of the grape. I am always correlating my wine choice with my dinner plans and Cabernet Franc never lets me down. Ample fruit and a nod to classic earth driven qualities always has me wanting to pop open another bottle.
Melissa Rice, Events Director:
Bubbles, especially our new Traditional Method sparkling wine. Everything I do at Early Mountain is around creating special moments and celebration and the sound of a cork popping gives me so much joy. It doesn't hurt that our Brut is truly mouthwatering - it's bursting with lemon and green apple fruit with a salty finish.
Kristen Hall, Sous Chef:
Eluvium: It is a red that has softened with its age and it's nice to indulge in a glass or two on cool evenings after work with its dark berry flavor and hints of woody spice.
Maya Hood White, Associate winemaker & viticulturist:
Intention: Our white wine production has been constantly evolving, and over the last several years, the use of extended lees aging on higher acid varieties has become integral in the production of Petit Manseng and Intention. My fondness for these wines stems from both the vineyard as well as their dynamics in the cellar. While Petit Manseng is known for its hardiness in the vineyard and unique sensory attributes, I had not expected Sauvignon Blanc to demonstrate such a great affinity for the site.
In 2017 we produced the first Intention blend with a coferment of Petit Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc; with Sauvignon Blanc elevating aromatics and Petit Manseng bringing the core and structure to the wine. Twenty-two month lees aging in barrel, heightens the structure and texture even further and develops unique secondary and tertiary aromas.
While admittedly I have a bias, as a consumer enjoying high acid and wines with high lees-impacts, seeing the natural progression towards this style with two varieties that appear so well suited to the EMV site has given me even more appreciation for the diversity of wines that can highlight a single site.
Lee Campbell, Winery Representative, NY:
Petit Manseng: This is the wine that opened my eyes about the possibilities for winemaking in Virginia. Tasting it completely caught me off guard, and quite honestly, took my breath away. To tell you the truth, I was probably completely primed to love this wine. When I worked as a sommelier, I had developed a long-time love affair with the wines of Jurançon, the coastal Atlantic wine region in France from which the Petit Manseng grape hails. These wines are packed with gastronomic verve, and were some of the most compelling food wines I had ever experienced. Twenty years later, and I'm trying my first-ever Virginia Petit Manseng at Early Mountain, and it was almost as though my (tasting) life flashed before my eyes. I was suddenly tracing an electric line between the very first Jurançon I had ever tried (I still remember it...at a satisfying dinner I treated my very-much-on-a budget-self to at a French bistro in New York's Theatre District—where I had the audacity to pair this curious white wine with steak frites, and it worked marvelously), and the Petit Manseng at EMV. Needless to say, I've never looked back.
Aileen Sevier, VP of Strategy and Marketing:
Rosé: I love how seriously we take this not-so-serious wine. It has everything I enjoy in a bottle of wine- crisp, aromatic fruit, a range of flavors, versatile food pairing abilities. And it has the magical ability to evoke warm weather, joyful memories, and relaxing with friends.
Thanksgiving Picks from Ben Jordan
You’ve got plenty to handle on your day of feasting and sharing special moments with your family; we’ll help out with the wine selection and getting these delicious bottles to you.
Ben's Thanksgiving Selections:
If you read our member club letters, you know that the holiday season is a special time for those of us who work with the rhythm of agriculture. All the labors of the growing season peak with the intense work of picking grapes and transforming them into wine. This season, with its record-long growing season and harvest and steady stream of curveballs was certainly no different. Come November, we are exhausted, maybe a little (blissfully) out of touch with what's going on in the world, and we are hungry. Whatever we lost during harvest, our bodies are set on regaining, and with the heat of the summer all but gone, we are primed for the feast ... and we crave time with our families and celebration, even if it will be a bit more intimate this year.
Since we make wine, we are excited to open bottles and toast this vintage with the bottles from past harvests. For Thanksgiving, we tend to want to drink American wine, which is easier now than it ever has been. I'll make the argument that Virginia's wine offerings are some of the more holiday flexible wines around. With moderate alcohols, an emphasis on poise over power, and a diverse selection of wine styles, we can make a go at complimenting the complexity of the Thanksgiving table.
And perhaps no bottle brings greater versatility than our Petit Manseng/Sauvignon Blanc blend, Five Forks – its vibrant fruit and racy acidity both brightens and wraps around the complex dishes on our Thanksgiving tables. With the added richness of the 2019 vintage, it can truly stand up to most any dish. For those seeking a red option Soif brings the same red fruit and versatility of Beaujolais, or other Gamay expressions. And our 2018 Chardonnay offers a balance of acid and fruit that makes us select this vintage over the riper 2019 for the table.
In the end, the most important wine pairing of the holidays is your guest and a glass of something they like, so there is never a better time to have an assortment on hand. In the interest of making the wine part of holiday meal prep a little easier, here are the bottles of Early Mountain wine that we think work particularly well with the coming feasts.
- Ben Jordan, Winemaker
Early Mountain Oyster Bar
We’re bringing the bounty of the Eastern Seaboard to you, paired with our award-winning wines for this special long weekend (October 8th-12th). Chef Tim Moore has crafted a delicious seafood menu and Big Island Aquaculture will be shucking their oysters, served on the half shell direct from the beautiful, pristine body of water nestled between the York River and the Mobjack Bay in Hayes, Virginia.
Come enjoy live music (Sat. and Sun.), mountain views, and exceptional Virginia wines enjoyed in your choice of Tasting Room (indoor), Patio, or Picnic Table reservations. No entrance fee, reservations strongly recommended.
The Oyster Bar menu includes:
Raw Oysters on the half shell with Champagne Mignonette and Cocktail Sauce, half dozen 14, dozen 24
Buttermilk Fried Oysters with Remoulade 14
Crabcake Sandwich with Route 11 Chips 16
Mushroom Cake Sandwich with Route 11 Chips 16
New England Clam Chowder 8
Maine Lobster Salad 24
Old Bay French Fries w/ Yum Yum Sauce 6
Pickled Mushrooms 6
Marinated Olives 6
Charcuterie & Cheese 22
Whipped Feta 12
Baguette: Whole 6 Half 4
Ice Cream Sandwich 6
RISE 2017: Vision and Vineyards
The Ultimate Virginia Wine Country Getaway
Looking to escape the monotony of quarantine and go on a COVID-19-safe trip this weekend traveling some beautiful country roads? We took care of the itinerary, you take care of the therapeutic getaway. We were NOT sponsored by any of these destinations, they are just incredible Virginia spots we wholeheartedly recommend. Whether escaping from Richmond, VA or Northern Virginia/Washington DC, may we suggest: