Sunday, December 16, 2012

Early Mountain Vineyards

About a year after our first visit to what used to be Sweely Mountain Winery, Debbie, Scott and I made it back to what is now Early Mountain Vineyards. The tasting room had been renovated and tastings are now done at tables inside or out weather permitting. Wine is also brought to your table in the most unique, locally hand-made wine carriers made just for the vineyard.

Since Early Mountain is still building up their portfolio of wines, they are serving their wine in flights as well as other selected Virginia wines. We all opted for the "Early Mountain Ascent" featuring their four wines. We started with the 2011 Pinot Gris that we had barrel tasted in 2011, it had smoothed out and softened to a nice light white. Next was the 2011 Viognier with a hint of fruit, this was Scott's favorite. The 2011 Chardonnay was a nice buttery oak barrel aged white that Debbie and I both favored. Finally the 2008 Merlot was also a smooth and enjoyable red.

A delicious braut with peppers and oinions
After our tasting we ordered some amazing food and while Scott and Debbie opted for wine with their meals, I tested out the seasonal Cider Flight.  First up was the Farmhouse Dry from Potter's Craft Cider, the name doesn't lie, it was a dry and tart cider. Second was the Jupiter's Legacy from Albermarle CiderWorks which was a sweeter cider. The Celestial from Castle Hill Cider was a sparkling cider and my favorite of the bunch. I finished with First Fruit from Foggy Ridge Cider the sweetest of the flight. We finished noshing and made our way to the gift shop where I was happy to find the 2010 Chardonnay by Chatham Vineyards, one of my current favorites and I'm not a typical Chardonnay fan. Perhaps this summer I'll make a beach trip out to Chatham since its on the edge of the eastern shore.

Early Mountain has certainly upped the elegance and the seated tasting adds to a more relaxed experience to the tasting room, the staff was friendly and the food was great. It will be interesting to taste the additional wines they produce in the next couple of years as they expand their wine list.