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Stunning Scores from Wine Advocate & James Suckling

December 15, 2021

Stunning scores from Wine Advocate & James Suckling honor many of our new & future releases.

96 pts. JS - Quaker Run Chardonnay 2019 – Top 100 Wines of the USA

A lovely and inviting nose of sliced green apple, candied lemon and fresh garden herbs. Medium-bodied and so long and supple. There is excellent delicacy and nuance here, with subtle white-tea spice. Just so charming.

94 pts JS - Shenandoah Springs Cabernet Franc 2019

Crushed dark fruit, overturned earth and oyster shell on the nose. Full-bodied with silky tannins. Rather dynamic. There is a delicacy to the darker profile, which moves with grace and elegance on the palate. Melted chocolate, ground clove and pine. This will age really well.

94 pts JS – Petit Manseng 2019 (Sold Out)

Nice, nutty character to the nose with notes of toasted herbs, baked citrus and a hint of wet stone. Medium-to full-bodied and light on its feet. It dances on the palate with mature notes of stone fruit, nutmeg and fresh lavender. Complex and balanced.

94 pts JS – RISE 2019 (releasing Sept. ‘22)

Wet gravel, plum and ripe red cherry on the nose. Full-bodied. The bright red and black fruit wraps around the velvety tannins, before the palate turns more savory with salted dark chocolate and clove. Refined and focused. Very long finish. Delicious. Better after 2024.

94 pts JS – Eluvium 2019

Fresh red and black fruit, gravel and black licorice on the nose. Full-bodied with soft, silky tannins. Bright and succulent on the palate with espresso and blackberry. White smoke comes through. Nicely refined. Very good now, but will do well with some age.

93 pts JS – Quaker Run Cabernet Franc (Sold Out)

Aromas of ripe raspberry, plum and forest floor. Full-bodied with silky tannins and a brooding cocoa-powder note. The acidity helps to brighten and balance the darker profile of the palate through the finish. Good spice.

92 pts WA – RISE 2017

Elegant and perfectly balanced, this Bordeaux-styled blend is textured with velvet and finishes with precision. The tannins are firm but ripe, making this easy to approach now while suggesting that it can improve over the next several years. The finish lingers beautifully, expressing its ripe fruit well. For all of the things it does well, its overall graceful presentation is its best feature. Nothing will hit you over the head, but it just screams "class" and "finesse."

92 pts WA – Petit Manseng 2019 (Sold Out)

Big and powerful, this intense Petit Manseng takes no prisoners along the way to capturing your palate. Bright and mouthwatering on the juicy finish, it adds excellent concentration to its focus and precision. The flavor profile leans to grapefruit. There is both verve and flavor. This could use a year or two in the cellar. It certainly will also need a food pairing if opened now. In the meanwhile, it seems chock-full of potential today and capable of developing more with time. It should hold well, but we'll take that in stages for the moment.

92 pts JS – Quaker Run Tannat 2019 (releasing Feb. ‘22)

Blackcurrants, toasted herbs and smoked almonds on the nose. Full-bodied with velvety tannins. Inky and supple, but focused through the long finish. Wet stone and cocoa nib at the end.

91 pts WA – Eluvium 2019

Elegant, precise and focused, this is a blend that says "Bordeaux," just like its Rise sibling does this issue. The Rise has the advantage of two years more in bottle, so it is better developed, but at the moment, I don't see much qualitative difference between them except that. The vintages are different, to be sure, but they both make a statement for elegance and balance while expressing their fruit beautifully. We'll see what happens when they both get more age on them, as I suspect the Rise may have a slightly higher upside, but right now I'd just say "pick 'em."

91 pts JS – Shenandoah Valley Cabernet Franc 2020

Ripe strawberry, baked cranberry and baking spice on the nose. Medium-bodied with well-integrated tannins. Bright and pleasantly tart on the palate with nice sappiness toward the finish. Elderberry comes through.

90 pts WA – Quaker Run Chardonnay 2019

Gloriously fresh, this lively Chard does show some wood influences, but it also shows off fine structure, some ability to age and a sunny demeanor. The acidity cuts through the wood. Lingering nicely on the moderately tense finish, this is not a big-and-fat style of Chardonnay, but for those who are more into elegance and freshness, it does great. It should age reasonably well…There were just 110 cases produced.

Wines

Ben Jordan's Thanksgiving Wine Picks

November 11, 2021

There's so much to be thankful for this year as we finally come back together to celebrate Thanksgiving, and we have the perfect wines to pair with dinner. The Bounty of Harvest Selections are our head winemaker Ben Jordan's top picks for your table this year.

Every year I remark that the holiday season is a special time for those of us who work with the rhythm of agriculture. I repeat the statement, because it is truly a cycle of the seasons; through the lens of the plants that we grow, the fruit that they bear, and our strategy for preserving that fruit so that we can enjoy it through the depth of winter and for years to come. 

These holidays make sense to those of us who grow and make wine.

All the labors of the growing season peaked with the intense work of picking grapes and transforming them into wine. Now in November, we are exhausted, more than a little out of touch, and we are ready to eat some food! 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. We crave time with our families, and we crave celebration. 

Since we make wine, we are able share our work from past harvests and use it to toast the creation of this vintage. For Thanksgiving, we tend to want to drink American, in particular bottles from the hills of our region, something that gets more enjoyable with each passing year. Virginia's offerings are some of the more holiday flexible wines around. With moderate alcohols, an emphasis on poise over power, and a diverse selection of styles, we are well suited to complimenting the complexity of a sprawling meal.

For true versatility, rosé has become a go-to for many holiday tables in recent years. While we will certainly have our “normal” rosé open, we are excited that we still have a bit of the first ever bottling of a Quaker Run rosé. It brings a bit more power and texture, fulfilling a cool weather need for richness, but still refreshing the palate for these meals that are more marathon than sprint. For those seeking red options our 2020 Foothills accomplishes something similar, being up to the task of navigating diverse flavors and textures, while sparing you the tiring effect of high tannin and alcohol. And for those more powerful dishes that require more density from the wine, the 2019 Shenandoah Springs Cabernet Franc brings the concentration of fruit grown on a great site in a warm, dry year.

Lest we forget white wine, essential to familial harmony over the next two months, our 2020 Madison County Chardonnay offers a balance of acid and fruit that is at home with pretty much any recipe you can put together.

In the end, the most important holiday wine pairing of the holidays is your guest and a glass of something they like, especially as we gather with family and friends we have missed in the past 18 months. As always, we are honored to be included on your table, during the holidays and beyond, and we wish you a joyous and delicious end to 2021.

- Ben Jordan, Winemaker


Best of Virginia

The Ultimate Virginia Wine Country Getaway

October 8, 2021

Looking to escape the city and wander some stunning 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:

Events

Visiting Early Mountain - Overview & FAQs

June 3, 2021

Welcome to Early Mountain

FAQ’s and Tips for your Visit

We are thrilled to welcome you to Early Mountain! Pairing spectacular hospitality experiences with our world class wines is our passion and we cannot wait to share Early Mountain with you. We hope that this overview helps guide you to your ideal visit. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at cheers@earlymountain.com if you have any additional questions.  

Hours of Operation

On-site service: Thursday - Monday 11 am – 5:30 pm (with adjustments in the case of private events- the most up to date hours will be listed on our home page).

Curbside pick-up: All On-site Service hours & Tuesday - Wednesday 10 am – 4 pm

Reservations are strongly suggested and available on Tock.

Your Visit

We are pleased to welcome parties up to 10 in our Tasting Room and parties up to 14 in The Meadow (which is open seasonally).  There is no fee or minimum spend for your reservation, but we kindly request that you cancel 48 hours in advance if your plans change.

When you make your reservation, please select whether you would like a full-service or more casual experience. For full-service, select to be seated indoors in our Tasting Room or outdoors on our Patio. At these tables, you can select wines by the flight, glass or bottle with our full Early Mountain offerings as well as our Best of Virginia selections from other Virginia wineries. You can also order delicious snacks or a full meal from Executive Chef Tim Moore’s menu.

If you prefer a more casual experience or would like to book for a group larger than 10, select our Meadow when the weather allows. The Meadow offers stunning views and picnic table seating with umbrellas. We accept reservations of 7-14 guests and welcome walk-ins to this area as well. There is also an extensive lawn if you’d like to bring blankets or your own chairs to spread out and enjoy our wines and Meadow fare.

We offer walk-in bar tastings on weekdays (Thursday, Friday, Monday) - these guided tastings allow lots of interaction with our wine educators and are the best way to explore our Early Mountain offerings. We also offer an array of seated wine flights table side as self-guided tastings. These flights include both Early Mountain and Best of Virginia Selections from other wineries. Our Elevation Tasting is an intimate, bespoke tasting in our Wine Library with access to library and pre-release options. Elevation Tastings require advance booking.

No outside food or alcoholic beverages are allowed on our property.

Team Favorites

March 8, 2021

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.