Grape(s): 100% Merlot
Localization: Monticello, Virginia, USA
Tasting Notes: Merlot is aged for 16 months in a combination of both neutral and new French oak barrels. Bright notes of cherry, strawberry and leather are intertwined with a soft aroma of wet iron. On the palate, black tea leaf, mocha, and vanilla flavors are smoothly delivered along with fine tannins. A delicate and well integrated oak influence is carried through the finish.
The Domain: After moving to Charlottesville from Houston, Texas, in 1995, we purchased the original 327-acre farm in 1996. In late 1998, a young man named Tom Vandenberg knocked on our door and asked if he could lease ten acres for a vineyard. Sparked by his curiosity and research, we did our homework and soon hired a vineyard consultant. A nursery in California had a few extra vines, so six months of hard work later, our first eight acres of vines had been planted.
Initially, the plan was to simply sell the fruit, but in the interest of learning as much as possible, we decided to make wine with a portion of the harvest and sell the rest. 480 cases in 2000 became 1,050 cases by 2001, and it all sold! After a quick visit to California for ideas, we designed our winery on the back of a napkin and by October 1, 2002, opened our real, honest-to-goodness winery. Since then both the vineyard and the business have grown.