Wine Club News April 2020

Tasting Notes:

2017 Signature Viognier

The nose of our Premium 2017 Signature Viognier delivers aromas of wild flowers and blossom with a hint of tropical fruit on the background. Stone fruits are bright and fresh on the palate, propped up by a present sensation of freshness. It expresses a lively, lingering finish primed by a zip of lemon peel. The growing year ended up being one of the better vintages that Virginia has seen. 25% of the wine was aged in used barrels on fine lees for 5 months while 75% was aged in stainless steel tanks on fine lees for 5 months. This wine is 100% estate grown and will age well for 3 to 5 years.

Wine pairing suggestions include rich shellfish dishes such as seared scallops and grilled lobster. Creamy and buttery cheeses and sweet spices such as clove and nutmeg seasoned dishes can be paired with Viognier as well. 200 cases made.

2017 Petit Verdot

Yes, DuCard’s Petit Verdots are ‘repeat offenders’ in winning Gold medals in the VA Governor’s Cup and this 2017 vintage was no exception. This Premium wine exhibits notes of blackberry and mulberry which are joined by black pepper, sassafras and fennel on a spicy-savory nose. Gripping, crushed velvet tannins are balanced by a present acidity on a palate that offers flavors of baked plum and black currant with caraway, oak, dried tobacco and sweet spice notes. This beast of a wine was tempered with a bit of Cabernet Franc and weighs in at 14.2% alcohol by volume. It was aged for 14 months in 40% new oak barrels, 40% 2nd fill barrels, and 20% 3rd fill barrels, all French oak. It will continue to age well for 8 to 10 years so if you plan to enjoy it in the near future we recommend that you decant it for at least 1 hour before enjoying.

Pairing suggestions include rich meat dishes, veal, lamb, spicy food and a myriad of hard aged cheeses. 122 cases made.

Julien’s Vineyard and Winery Update:

There is one good thing for sure to work as a grape grower during the flu season, and in particular this year is that our human contacts are very minimal, which makes me realize that it might be the reason why I’ve never had the flu. And I certainly do feel grateful to work in the fields these days.

As the signs of the spring season arrive with the first breezes of warm air, the trees blooming and the songs of the singing birds we do expect to see the first signs of vine activity. As the ground warms up, the roots awaken resulting in water uptake from the roots migrating upward through the xylem of the plants causing the vines to lose that water loaded with minerals through the fresh pruning wounds. This is more commonly known as ‘weeping’. As the ground get even warmer and the days get longer, the buds will eventually become swollen and then the buds will break making the new fresh green tissues very fragile to frost. This is where the skills of the grape grower come in to play by trying the delay the bud break by pruning as late as possible during the pruning season. Pruning in late March for the early bud break varieties such as Chardonnay is the best thing to do in my opinion. We easily can delay the bud break by a week to 10 days by pruning in late March.

We usually expect bud break around mid April but it looks like our mild winter and early burst of 70° weather might make the buds come out early by about a week. It also depends on what the temperatures are going to be like in the next 2 weeks.

In the vineyard: We’re finishing up pruning in the Chardonnay and finishing up tying the new canes. Most of the cuttings have been taken out of the trellising system and raked out of the rows. The vineyard is almost ready for another growing season.

In the winery: Our second bottling of the year (with thanks to some of you enthusiastic volunteers) will happen on March 28th and will include the Viognier 19, Chardonnay 19, Shenandoah 19, Norton 18 and a few other surprise wines that are in the program. The 2019 reds are aging nicely and will be blended sometime in mid April when the temperature of the cellar  increases.

Thank you, best wishes and stay safe, Julien and Kimberly.