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Our Top Thanksgiving Wine Selections

November 8, 2022

Thanksgiving is a holiday that can’t be complete without an incredible meal, the company of our closest friends and family, and the perfect bottles to share around the table. We asked our team what wines they will be serving alongside their Thanksgiving table, and we can’t wait to share them with you in our Harvest Bounty Pack this year!

2021 Five Forks

As a vegetarian, when I select wines for Thanksgiving, I'm looking for a deep concentration of fruit intensity balanced with a savory edge and bright core to complement a wide array of earthy, rich, and caramelized flavors. Five Forks delivers! The blend of rich, concentrated Petit Manseng with zesty, lifted Sauvignon Blanc keeps things fresh and 2021 is my favorite vintage we've made so far. Not only will it balance the meal, it's a lovely glass to have prior to the meal, prepping taste buds for the feast.

-Maya Hood White, Head Winemaker

2021 Madison County Cabernet Franc

During the holiday season, our family surrounds an overflowing table of roasted winter vegetables and mouth watering savory meats. One of my favorites is the cherry and bourbon glazed ham that seems to stare me down until the green light is given; indulging in one of the most anticipated, special meals of the year. I love having a good cabernet franc at the helm to pair with all the wonderful food. The 2021 Madison County Cabernet Franc, with its endless aromatic complexity, helps to remind me of this beautiful season. The pallet notes of stone fruit, bright red berries and even black tea, pair charmingly with the thoughtful holiday spread.

-Tim Moore, Head Chef

2021 Rosé

For broad versatility, rosé is pretty unmatched on the Thanksgiving table. Whether satisfying the widest range of drinkers or enlivening dishes such as creamy potatoes, rich stuffings or simple roast turkey, rosé is a no-brainer. And with its lower alcohol content, rosé makes a light companion for the cook keeping things going throughout a leisurely day. 

- Aileen Sevier, VP Strategy and Marketing

2020 Novum

2020 Novum is a wine I would choose to feature at my Thanksgiving table. I personally love a wine that showcases "red" fruit aromas and flavors (cherry, cranberry, etc) but also offers complexity, and the 2020 Novum does just that. The earthy aromatics of the cabernet franc, the body and acid provided by the Tannat, and the light touch of new oak makes this wine a well-rounded and complex crowd pleaser. 

- Jeremy Mersch, Assistant Winemaker

Wines
The 2022 International Women's Day Selections

March 7, 2022

Bold. Exciting. Memorable. Three words that describe not only the bottles in this wine set, but the women who picked them. In honor of this annual holiday, we are pleased to present Early Mountain's 2022 picks for the International Women's Day Set. We are also excited to partner with The Women's Initiative, a local non-profit organization in Charlottesville dedicated to providing women with effective counseling, social support and education so they can transform life challenges into positive change and growth. You can read more about them below!

 

Jean Case, Owner

2019 Eluvium

Each year, Eluvium sets a new high bar for excellence. Based on mountainside Merlot, Eluvium offers plush and layered black fruits that bring so much pleasure. Adding to this immediate "wow", is an intensity and power that’s especially dramatic in the 2019 vintage, reflecting the ideal growing season. It’s a wine that I open to celebrate a special moment with family and friends or to enhance a holiday meal. I hope you love Eluvium as much as I do.  

Aileen Sevier, VP of Strategy and Marketing:

‍2020 Shenandoah Valley Cabernet Franc

When I think about our wines, I always have an extra attachment to those that tell a bigger story. Ranging from black fruited and broad shouldered when planted in denser soils and with more sunlight (south facing slopes can add to the ripeness) to elegant with delicate red raspberry fruit with soft, velvet structure when planted at high elevation on cooler sites with limestone soils, Cabernet Franc is especially expressive of its vineyard site. 

In 2020, we bottled five different Cabernet Francs; we just couldn't bear to blend away the unique characteristics. And of the five, our Shenandoah Valley regional expression is my favorite. It is the most ethereal, most delicate of the group, but still brings complex layers of herbal and tea leaf notes that make Cab Franc so delicious. As we continue to explore what different regions and different vineyards offer us in Virginia, Cabernet Franc will be a delicious way to tell these unique vignettes. 

Lee Campbell, Estate Ambassador, NY:

‍2020 Madison County Chardonnay

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:

2021 Pur

2021 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. 

 

Maya Hood White, Associate Winemaker & Viticulturist:

2021 Soif

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.  

 

Meghan Raynes, Community Manager

2021 Rosé

It’s funny, but before I started at Early Mountain I was a strictly red drinker, with very few exceptions. It speaks to how talented our wine-making team is that not only have I majorly expanded my wine preferences in the last year, but that the 2021 Rosé is my go-to recommendation now. I love how fresh and fruity it is while still maintaining it’s dryness, how many styles of food it can hold up to and complement, and how beloved it is by so many. Our Rosé truly has become an announcement that Spring has arrived when the latest vintage is released, and is a bottle absolutely worth celebrating.

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


Wines
Thanksgiving Picks from Ben Jordan

November 12, 2020

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.

Select our Thanksgiving Trio or any 3+ bottles in our online shop and shipping is complimentary.

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

Wines
Early Mountain launches RISE 2015

September 13, 2018

Early Mountain Vineyards is pleased to announce the release of RISE, a new luxury wine from Virginia, crafted in the style of a Bordeaux grand vin. RISE blends Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Tannat from the winery’s flagship Quaker Run vineyard to create this elegant and age-worthy wine.

Jean Case who opened Early Mountain Vineyards in 2012 with her husband, Steve Case, commented, “Right from the start at Early Mountain, we dreamed of producing a wine that could stand side by side with the great wines of the world. Our 2015 vintage was the first to offer us that opportunity, proving that patience pays. RISE is an expression of our dedication to quality and excellence, and a reflection of our talented winemaking team including our winemaker, Ben Jordan, and our wine consultant, Paul Hobbs.  It is with great pleasure that we now share this special wine with the world.”

“Having worked with Jean and the Early Mountain team since the beginning, I’ve been proud to be part of this incredible journey,” said Hobbs. “RISE showcases both the essence of the Quaker Run vineyard, as well as Ben and the team’s focus and dedication; it demonstrates that Virginia has taken its place amongst the great regions of the world.”

Early Mountain winemaker, Ben Jordan, shared his thoughts on their newest release, “RISE takes the very best that the terroir of our Quaker Run vineyards, on the southern side of Doubletop Mountain, has to offer. RISE sets a new bar in Virginia for style, character, and elegance, with truly special textural and aromatic qualities.”

RISE is available nationally through the Early Mountain website and at select retailers and restaurants in New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., at the time of release.