Grape(s): Petit Verdot
Localization: Virginia, USA
Tasting Notes: Strawberries, white peaches, and red grapefruit drive the aromas of this wine, which are echoed by the flavors. There is a bit more texture this year, but the acidity still cleanses the palate, leaving a feeling of freshness and energy.
The Domain: Nestled on the eastern foothill of the Blue Ridge mountain, in the heart of the Virginia Monticello wine district at the ideal elevation of 1,100 Ft above sea level atop its own little mountain, the vineyard benefits from an exceptional location: deep loamy soil on granitic bedrock, hilltop subject to constant thermal drafts as soon as the sun shines, North-South sun exposure with the added protection from westerly violent storms by a mature forest.
Despite the presence of numerous wild turkey on the property, the name of the place has no bird connection but is probably a designation of early unconventional immigrants coming as free slaves or escaped sailors from the Drake area before the English colonization, originating generally from the Mediterranean basin but not excluding certain Irish men and all grouped as Melugeons; Turks must have been part of the lot.
In the old days, Turks Mountain was planted in apple or peach orchards that are still grown in the area. For many years the land stayed fallow as pasture, with grazing cattle fertilizing the soil.
Beginning in 2003, the decision to take advantage of this exceptional site to plant a few blocks of grapevines was made by the owner Gilbert Tallard. Half the vineyard is planted with Petit Verdot grape, having discovered the Petit Verdot genus's outstanding match with this part of the country. Given the planned limited extent of the vineyard, only red grapes vines have been planted.
We drilled 24" holes to the bedrock in advance of planting, blending the soil layers and allowing rain to saturate in-depth; this has eliminated any need for irrigation, providing good drainage and deep root growth. As a result, our vines hold very well during the dry summer months, never showing stress from lack of moisture.
TMV is a small vineyard (5 acres) making good use of the land and providing an esthetic enhancement of the site. We take our role as stewards of the land very seriously. Alternate row spacing width is only an aesthetic choice, not an oenologist's breakthrough. At TMV, we consider Agriculture to be a "big" word, what we do is more akin to gardening; a very enjoyable and private place. Plum, peach, and apple trees have been planted to enhance the homestead feeling. We are here for an improved quality of life, ours and that of our visitors.
To widen the possibilities, we have also planted successively Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Tannat in small blocks: with these additions, the ingredients of a Bordeaux style blend were assembled. The majority of our grapes are sold to wineries in the area; the quality of our grapes is premium given the great care in their upbringing on an exceptional location. The result is in their excellent and award winning wines.
A single-lane unpaved rough road climbs our mountain through the forest from the county (Albemarle) Rte 637. Sorry no vini-tourists. TMV is a family affair and will remain private for the foreseeable future. Special arrangements are not off-limit however; we like to share the view with visitors.
Actual winemaking is a reward after all the cultivation efforts with the promise of a delectable experience but requires a minimum of 2 years of patience before the real satisfaction of a job well done materializes into a swirling crystal.
The TMV's tower: a chicken and egg story or not, the wine label (la Tour d'Afton) came about 6 or 7 years before the actual tower was built; although the germ of the tower must have been agitating as soon as we discovered piles of field stones along the tree line between the forest and the pasture when we purchased the place in 97. Considering that these stones had been collected manually by our forefathers while clearing the forest to create the present open space that was eventually planted in orchards in the old days, the erection of the tower with these same field stones is in one sense a monument to their courage and glory as they temper the character of this nation. With only one Bordeaux style blend produced here, little opportunity for a bona fide tasting room is available; the tasting room at the base of the tower became Edda Klein's studio, our homemade visiting artist. An actual irrigation cistern at the core of the tower provides the ability to climb 48 steps and to emerge on a deck to observe one of the greatest views of Central Virginia. Since Turk Mountain Vineyards is a totally private affair but not a hermitage, special arrangements can be made for small groups (6 max) to taste our wine at the top of the tower or couples to be wedded with birds as witnesses, why not!