We hope you’re enjoying summer thus far! As harvest quickly approaches we’re excited to share a few things you can expect from us this year!
My sisters and I set out to put Maryland wine on the map. So everything we do focuses on making the best wines we can and challenging the status quo. Our hope is to shine a national spotlight on the cool things taking place here.
In that spirit, here are three delicious and experimental projects you can look forward to this fall…
If you’ve been following us over the past couple of years, you know we’re ALL IN on pét-nat. Not only because it’s delicious and refreshing, but also because it’s natural and transparent.
Pét-nat is an all-but-forgotten style of sparkling wine that made its debut in France’s Loire Valley half a millennia ago. Unlike its showy cousin, the Champagne method, which is precise and calculated, pét-nat is wild and spontaneous. That’s why we love it.
Punch Magazine’s Jon Bonné describes pét-nat as a “tectonic shift away from raised-pinky pretensions to a casual, freestyle era, one that borrows a page or two from the craft beer world.” In another place, Bonné writes, “The gang at Old Westminster, in Maryland, is having almost too much fun with their range of pét-nats, including a beautiful sparkling albariño. (Anyone who doubts that America is, indeed, great again need look no further than a fizzy albariño made outside Baltimore.)”
Pét-nat is enjoying a revival in America and we’re here to keep the party going.
This fall we plan to introduce new varieties into our repertoire. Think Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Albariño. Stay tuned.
2. Vin Doux Naturel
Vin doux naturel, or “naturally sweet wine”, is bright, fresh, naturally sweet and lightly fortified. A delicious combination, if we say so ourselves.
Vin doux naturel traces its origins back to the late 13th century in southern France. More specifically, the Languedoc-Roussillon area has long been famous for the production of top-notch vin doux naturel made from white Muscat grapes or red Grenache grapes. The wine is fortified with a neutral grape spirit to stop the yeast before fermentation is complete and all sugars have been converted into alcohol. Thus the wines retain some naturally occurring sugar, perceived as sweetness on the palate.
So, what inspired us to try our hand at this centuries-old French tradition? Two things: 1. we’re harvesting our first crop of Muscat grown right here in our home vineyard. 2. We teamed up with Lost Ark Distilling in Columbia, MD to create grape spirits from our home-grown grapes.
Home vineyard Muscat grapes + home-grown grape spirit = estate “Vin Doux Naturel”!
Oh, and did we mention vins doux naturels are delicious? We’re excited.
We’re releasing our first Port-style dessert wine this fall!
This isn’t just any dessert wine – it’s a blend of barrel-aged wines dating back to 2011, our very first vintage. So a portion of this blend has been aging in French oak barrels for five years.
We’re calling it “Solera” because of how it's made. Solera is a process for aging a wine by fractional blending in such a way that the finished product is a mixture of ages, with the average age gradually increasing as the process continues over many years. Solera literally means "on the ground" in Spanish, and it refers to the lower level of the set of barrels or other containers used in the process; the wine is traditionally transferred from barrel to barrel, top to bottom, the oldest mixtures being in the barrel right "on the ground”. Products which are often solera aged include Sherry, Madeira, Port and Brandy.
Another cool thing to note about our “Solera” is that – like our Vin Doux Naturel – it’s been fortified with estate spirits made in collaboration with our good friends at Lost Ark Distilling! We transported several barrels of home-grown wine to Lost Ark where they distilled it to 190 proof – the perfect proof for fortifying wines. How cool is that? Again, true to our vision: 100% local.
We’re fascinated by the solera method because it’s a way to produce a delicious wine that will age with every new bottling AND it keeps a small portion of our first vintage alive forever!
Follow along on Instagram as we document harvest 2017.