Early Mountain Vineyards 'Young Wine' Red 2021
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Press 4 Red • July 2023 Direct Press Selection
Virginia is emerging as a compelling place for winemaking, but it is not without many challenges. The high rainfall levels there combined with the heat make for perfect conditions — for fungus and rot. Hybrid grapes that have both native American disease resistance and European wine grape parentage help solve this problem without aggressive fungicide sprays. But it has taken winemakers with a thick skin (no pun intended) to get these hybrid wines, long dismissed as ‘foxy’ and simple, to be taken seriously. Early Mountain has been at the forefront of this effort, being proof positive for the exciting potential of hybrids, organic viticulture, and natural wine in Virginia. Until this year, the team was led by Ben Jordan, with Maya Hood-White in charge of the vineyards and being assistant winemaker. Now that Ben has moved on to focus on his own projects Midland and Lightwell Survey, Maya has taken the reins.
Maya Hood-White’s creativity and skill as a winemaker is apparent from the moment you have a sip of Early Mountain's “Young Wine”. This juicy, fresh wine hails from the varied climate of Madison, Virginia, and evokes a ‘glou-glou’ ease with a distinct hybrid variety twist. Composed of 96% Chambourcin, 4% Vidal Blanc, these cold-hardy and fungus-resistant grapes are able to endure the Shenandoah Valley’s rain, frost, and heat–all while challenging any lingering bias about hybrid grapes. Its bright acidity is perfect with a chill, even in November! Eleanor Robb