And now, the second time we went to Early Mountain Vineyards…
Like I said, Early Mountain Vineyards is conveniently located on the way to and from Washington, D.C, so of course, we had to stop on our way back home for the full tasting. This time, it was daylight, and the building and vineyards were just as beautiful as they were at night. We noticed that there was a patio and a fireplace outside of the building, though the patio was not set up for people to sit out on it. The patio is small, so I wonder if they use the patio during the warmer months? Picnic tables were off on the land to use and enjoy your own food. There seemed to be many families enjoying the warm outdoors. Kids were running around as parents were watching, talking, and sipping.
While the winery was crowded with people, it did not seem to be overwhelmingly so. In fact, it made the atmosphere much more lively. The tables were full of groups, couples, and friends which made for excellent people watching. A band, with a big bass and piano, played in the background, playing songs from Frank Sinatra and Michael Bublé. We felt like we were walking into a 50s Crooner Club. The gorgeously lit chandeliers were like icing on the cake in terms of decor.
There is a long, granite top counter in the tasting room that we were able to walk right up to without having to squish our way in. The tasting area was decorated in gorgeous chalkboard drawn maps of the Virginia wine regions and of Early Mountain’s vineyards. Medals hung from award winning wine bottles. We were greeted by Sterling, who gave us our tasting. Sterling was a great wine pourer. He didn’t rush us, nor did he take too long in coming back to us. He answered any questions that we had, and didn’t seem annoyed when we kept asking questions even though the place was crowded. Thanks for your patience, Sterling!
On the tasting list were five wines, four of which we had in the wine flight the other night, plus an additional red blend. Tastings are $10 and you get to keep the glass. They give you crispy bread sticks to go with the tasting, too. There are usually 5-6 wines on the tasting list. The first four wine tasting notes below are copied and pasted from my first post about Early Mountain Vineyards. The last wine on the list, “Novum” was new to us at the tasting.
- Brut 2013: Many sparkling wines have some creamy notes due to spending some time in a barrel, but I got full clean, bright and crisp wine. While this one did spend some time in an oak barrel, it was in neutral barrels, so no oak flavors were in the wine, which I quite enjoyed. This would go well with Shrimp (as you will see below), sushi, or for sitting on the patio.
- Viognier 2015: Lots honey and green apple. It was nice and crisp. This would go so well with cheese, especially softer ones like Brie. It is an excellent fish pairing as well.
- “Foothills” 2015: 68% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 8% Syrah, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot. This guy was so interesting. It had a powerful aroma, full of cranberry, leather, blackberry, and even some mint. However, with such a powerful smell, I was blown away with how light the body was. It is slightly heavier than a Pinot Noir, which I could see as a great poultry pairing.
- “Eluvium” 2013: 72% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot, 13% Cab Sav. Ooh baby this has a spicy scent! I got a lot of strong leather and baking spices. However, the taste was so much fruiter than I expected! I got a lot of blackberry jam and prunes. The wine definitely has structure, but was not as bold as the scent would have you think. I imagined drinking this with Ratatouille, since the vegetables would bring out both the fruity and savory notes.
- “Novum” 2014: 61% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot, 9% Tannat, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petit Verdot. The wine, similar to the Eluvium, gave me a surprise. The smell was heavy on raspberry, strawberry, and cherry jam. I smelled a little licorice (or was it fennel?) as well. What surprised me was in the taste; there was a lovely string of eucalyptus and even a toasted graham cracker taste. It was like a pie! Lamb would be a great pairing with Novum.
- We were lucky enough to have one more tasting. Sterling was kind enough to pour usa glass of the last that they had of their last year’s Rosé. They accidentally opened it, but weren’t sharing any at the tasting because they were on the last bottle. However, because we were asking when the new Rosé was coming out, and because Sterling is the best wine pourer at Early Mountain, he let us each have a glass of the Rosé. Oh my goodness, we were so glad he did. This Rosé was out of this world. It had typical strawberry notes that you often find in Rosés, but there was also some peach, honeysuckle, and some kind of savory or floral note that I still have yet to figure out. It was such a unique wine! I can’t wait until the 2017 comes out!
Early Mountain is one of my favorite wineries in Virginia. You can bring your own picnic, however, they also have a wonderful food menu that goes beyond cheese and charcuterie and changes by the season. Families and dogs are welcome. The wines are exceptional, as are the views and the tasting room, which are both incredibly peaceful. Glasses of wine range from $8-12. Early Mountain is closed on Tuesdays, but open every other day of the week (M, W, Th, F, Su 11-5, Sa 11-4). For more information, visit their website, Facebook, or Twitter for more information. As always, let me know if you have gone to Early Mountain Vineyards and what you thought!