Early Mountain Petillant Naturel 2021


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Alcohol: 11.9%

Grape(s): 48% Malvasia Bianca, 28% Petit Manseng, 24% Muscat

Localization: Virginia, USA

Tasting Notes: Distinctive aromas of orange blossom, honeysuckle, pear, and apricot are highlighted by meyer lemon mango and honey. In this bottling there is a slight amount of residual sugar remaining in the wine, complementing the wine’s effervescence, as well as the vibrant acidity of Petit Manseng.  The fine bubbles, produced by the ferment finished in-bottle, create a unique mouthfeel with the natural tannins from the grape varieties used.   

Notes: Pétillant naturel (Pét-Nat), literally meaning “naturally sparkling,” is a term for sparkling wine made by Méthode Ancestrale.  The wine begins its fermentation as any other white; but prior to completion, the wine is bottled under crown cap to finish the fermentation in bottle.  The small amount of sugar left in the wine is consumed by the yeast, resulting in a dry finished product.  The carbon dioxide produced by the yeast then dissolves into the wine, producing fine bubbles.  The bubble size is slightly smaller than in Methodé Champenoise sparkling wines. Due to an active fermentation in bottle, it remains slightly cloudy and will settle some with time.  With such a non-interventionist style of winemaking, Pét-Nat offers a unique glimpse into the characteristics of the vintage.

Food Pairing:

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 a profession so steeped in history, it’s inevitable that we look to the past for inspiration. While our work is informed by knowledge and techniques developed in more established wine regions of the world, we also know a vine in Virginia does not root in the same soil as Europe or spread leaves into the same sun as California. When we understand grapes on their own terms, we create wines with identities that are compelling because the sun, the rain, the plant, the soil, and hands that touch these vines are unique to this place in Virginia.

This tactic of understanding drives our wine growing, and every year we learn from each block at each site. We take this to the cellar and do our best to make the wines the grapes want to be. As our vines get older, so do we, and with that comes the wisdom of age and our contribution to the emergence of Virginia’s wine culture.