March 6, 2023
Early Mountain is proud of the fantastic wine we put out every vintage. Not only because it showcases the array of styles Virginia can offer, but also because every bottle is a testament to the incredible people behind the label. As a female run vineyard with an incredible woman at the helm of our wine-making program, we wanted to ask the ladies of Early Mountain what they’re currently enjoying and recommending to everyone. These bottles are available in our shop, or together as a wine set if you’d like to sip along with us!
Maya Hood White, Head Winemaker
The 2021 Soif is possibly my favorite to date! It is more fruit forward than 2020 and showcases the dynamic nature and freshness of whole cluster Merlot. The 2021 Soif is nearly 70% whole cluster fruit, the most to date. While we always farm specific blocks of Merlot and Cabernet Franc at EMV for Soif, the 2021 bottling is also a perfect example of reacting to the vintage. One of the vineyards we work with was carrying a bit more Merlot than expected and it made sense to harvest a bit of the fruit early (leaving the remaining to successfully ripen for the heavier reds) and ferment it entirely whole cluster. This early picked Merlot ended up being one of the most playful lots we had in the winery and doubly fun as it was not an initially planned lot.
Aileen Sevier, VP of Strategy and Marketing:
At Early Mountain, we have a mission to help tell the story of Virginia far beyond our own borders, and Eluvium (a blend of mountainside grown Merlot & Petit Verdot) plays a fundamental role in doing so. Most every serious wine producing region and winery in a moderate climate produces “Bordeaux-style” blends and so there are myriad reference points and benchmarks. We annually taste Eluvium blind against wines ranging from right bank Bordeaux to coastal Tuscany to Napa Valley and vintage after vintage it shines. Eluvium offers plush and layered black fruits that bring so much pleasure If you’re looking to convince your wine snob friends that Virginia wine can stand with the best, I’d encourage you to decant Eluvium for them as a fun surprise - be sure to share their responses with us!
Lee Campbell, Estate Ambassador, NY:
As Estate Ambassador for Early Mountain, I have a blast introducing consumers and sommeliers up and down the East Coast to all of the interesting work we are doing at EMV. And most who have known me for a while know that I am naturally drawn to the new and the off-beat. But what a lot of people don't realize is that as much as I love the quirky stuff, I JUST ADORE CHARDONNAY!
For a long time, I had convinced myself that it was really just French Chardonnay that I liked. But over time, as my own silly, self-imposed prejudices fell away, I realized, NOPE...I love the American stuff, too! And here's what I enjoy so much about our Madison County Chardonnay: While the outline is delicately drawn with minerality and a even a touch of salt, the middle is exuberantly filled with ripe peach and pear...and a touch of toasted brioche. In other words, it is a mouthwatering midpoint between the Chardonnay styles of Europe and California. This is an unabashedly American Chardonnay, which still displays restraint and elegance. There's something here for everyone...so just go ahead and give in to it. You'll be glad you did!
Jenna Ford, Director of Hospitality:
2022 Pur is a beautiful expression of steel fermented Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. It’s lively lemon and crisp apple aromas sing Springtime in a glass. Pur’s bright acidity makes it a lovely compliment to a fun seafood spread. This is one of those wines that speaks volumes about the elegance of simplicity. It isn’t overly blended or a test run of new techniques. It is pure and simple, elegant yet vibrant.
Kristin Hall, Chef de Cuisine:
There is nothing I find more refreshing and enjoyable after a long day than a glass of our Rosé. The fantastic flavors of fresh strawberry and red grapefruit with a perfect pop of acid make this wine not only a great choice any time of year, but an easy choice to pair with a variety of dishes we like to showcase at Early Mountain. Our rosé can be the perfect accompaniment to a night in with friends, or a delicious dinner at your favorite restaurant.
Meghan Raynes, Community Manager:
2021 Shenandoah Valley Cabernet Franc
Shenandoah Valley is one of those wines that always catches me off guard each vintage with how good it is. I generally gravitate towards a more savory red, and this wine absolutely delivers with some fantastic black pepper, rosemary, and mushroom notes, but without sacrificing those delicious brighter red fruit flavors we’ve come to look for and expect in a lighter Cabernet Franc. I was both ecstatic and not surprised when we heard Shen Valley won a gold in the Virginia Governor’s Cup this year - it’s a killer wine that deserves every accolade it receives!