Grape(s): 100% Chardonnay
Localization: Virginia, USA
Tasting Notes: This wine is marked by its long fermentation and extended lees contact with the sort of autolytic yeast/bread character expected from Champagne and the roundness and texture that one might see from a full malo Chardonnay. The wine retains a balanced acidity but leans a bit more towards the textural side, with a slight phenolic touch. The Quaker Run Chardonnay is typically highlighted by distinctive lemon curd and clover attributes, complemented by white stone fruits, shortbread, allspice, and starfruit.
Notes: 12 months on the fermentation lees in 2-year-old 500L casks from northern European oak with light and medium toasts. An additional 5 months on the fermentation lees in stainless steel before bottling.
The Domain: Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Early Mountain is a pristine 350-acre property surrounded by rolling hills and pastoral farms. In 2005, Jess and Sharon Sweely planted the first vineyards on the property. Jean Case and her husband, Steve, purchased the property in 2010 and, after some renovations, re-opened it under the Early Mountain brand in 2012. In 2015, Early Mountain expanded its acreage to include Quaker Run Vineyard, 14 miles north of the Early Mountain estate in Madison County. That year, Early Mountain increased its acreage of classic Bordeaux-type varietals such as Cabernet Franc and Merlot and added new varietals including Malvasia Bianca, Sauvignon Blanc, and Tannat.
In 2016, Early Mountain Vineyards was voted the number one tasting room in the nation by USA Today in its 10 Best Readers Choice contest.