85% Chambourcin, 15% Damson & Friar plums.
Bluestone Vineyard – Rockingham County, 1240’ elevation. Southwestern sloping vines overlooking the confluence of the North River and the famed Mossy Creek.
Dickie Brother’s Orchard – Roseland Virginia, 1050’ elevation. Nestled in the eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge, the Bruguiere family runs one of the state’s oldest continuous orchards with family ownership dating back to the mid-1700s.
Plums were picked and tread by foot the third week of August 2020. After 48hrs of maceration, manual punchdowns without temperature control, plums were pressed directly to glass damajuanas. A native primary fermentation occurred without any form of intervention besides several rackings to remove fibrous solids.
Chambourcin was picked and foot tread whole cluster the last week of September 2020. After four days of maceration, manual punchdowns without temperature control, the chambourcin was pressed directly to neutral french oak to finish its native primary fermentation. Once dry, the barrel was topped up with a blend of Damson and Friar plum wine. After a four month élevage, the wine was racked off of its gross and fine lees and another small addition of Damson plum was blended in. In early February the wine was bottled sparkling via the traditional method, left undisgorged. Bottles were further rested for an additional eight months. No additions of SO2 were made at any stage of the wine.
2020 was a tough year for a lot of people as well as for high elevation apples in our mountains. Multiple spells of snow and sustained temperatures in the low 20s in both April and May severely limited pome fruit. In turn we decided to pivot and broaden our use of grapes grown at lower elevations. We ran with a bin of Chambourcin, the American hybrid grape well suited for Virginia’s up and down climate, requiring far less spraying even while farmed under conventional management. Uncertain how apples would stand up blended with red grapes, we initially elected to keep the Chambourcin all to itself destined to be a still, vin de soif. But shortly after pressing the wine to barrel, spontaneous inspiration got the best of us and we decided the wine would benefit from the exotic aroma and acid of plum wine. The result is a half-way ode to the Lambrusco wines of Emilia-Romagna we love; juicy – low tannin – hyper refreshing – twisted with wild and spicy whole-cluster aromatics.
Store in cellar conditions. Serve chilled.
This wine is part of a new series of ciders that will not be replicated in the future but rather offer a fleeting snapshot of converging, creative energy in the cellar. The label artwork is derived from the ever inspiring book The Valley Road by Fay Ingalls, a look back into the golden years of Virginia Hot Springs. Each chapter’s artwork, drawn by Margaret Lowengrund, depicts a landscape or scene from varying places within the Warm Springs Valley.
29 cases produced, Alc. 9.9% by Volume, 750mL