Terroir

Part of the Monticello Wine Trail, our ideal vineyard site is comprised of mostly Virginia red clay and quartz soils. Our temperate climate further benefits from a cooling mountain breeze that helps our grapes achieve fresh and more precise flavors. The mountains also shield the vineyard from some of the rain and extreme weather of locations even just a few miles away. Within the vineyards, the grapes are affected by varied microclimates, the different aspects and slopes of the hills, and their relative exposure to the sun. We’ve planted different grape varieties in specific parcels, known as blocks, to take advantage of and to express our varied terroir.  

Earth & Vine

Terroir

Part of the Monticello Wine Trail, our ideal vineyard site is comprised of mostly Virginia red clay and quartz soils. Our temperate climate further benefits from a cooling mountain breeze that helps our grapes achieve fresh and more precise flavors. The mountains also shield the vineyard from some of the rain and extreme weather of locations even just a few miles away. Within the vineyards, the grapes are affected by varied microclimates, the different aspects and slopes of the hills, and their relative exposure to the sun. We’ve planted different grape varieties in specific parcels, known as blocks, to take advantage of and to express our varied terroir.  

Grape Varieties

  • Merlot

    Merlot, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, is the signature grape of Bordeaux’s famous blends and the dominant grape of Bordeaux’s Right Bank. Merlot berries are larger, fleshier, and less tannic than Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, yielding softer and more opulent juice. Merlot thrives in Virginia in part because it ripens early, producing sensuous wines characterized by ripe berry flavors.  

     
  • Chardonnay

    Chardonnay is the signature white grape of Burgundy and Champagne. The grape results in both sleek mineral-driven wines with cool fruit flavors as well as rich full-bodied wines with tropical fruit and, when combined with oak, buttery flavors. In addition to being well suited to Virginia’s relatively mild weather, the versatile grape has found a home in Virginia for this reason; winemakers are able to give Chardonnay the stamp of their particular vision.

  • Viognier

    As much as any French variety, Viognier has found great success in Virginia. Viognier is prized for producing nervy, yet fragrant and floral dry wines. While the grape imparts a rich almond flavor in France, in Virginia, reflecting the terroir, the wine frequently takes on a distinctive and more delicate honeysuckle character.

  • Muscat

    The incredible variety of Muscat grapes suggests that it’s the oldest grape in the world. Muscat is typically grown to produce simple, aromatic wines characterized by citrus fruit and floral aromas; it’s also a common table grape. In Virginia, Muscat is usually a blending grape, cultivated to lend its appealing aromatic profile to wine.

  • Petit Manseng

    Petit Manseng, from South West France, is another rising star in Virginia, valued for its ability to produce both dry and powerful but elegant late-harvest and dessert wines. Small, thick berries yield juice with great intensity of flavor and a backbone of acidity. Tropical fruit, apricot, quince, honey, exotic spice, and orange peel flavors are typical of the rich flavors this grape yields.

  • Pinot Gris

    Also famously known as Italian Pinot Grigio, this variety truly thrives in Alsace and Oregon where it is the basis of smoky, mineral, and spice-driven wines of great intensity. A relative of Pinot Noir, the grape is blue/gray, but produces white juice. The grape is also increasingly popular in Virginia, where the terroir tends towards expressing the lighter, more floral side of the grape.

  • Petit Verdot

    Petit Verdot is another Bordeaux blending grape that has had exciting results in Virginia. In Bordeaux the grape has difficulty ripening and is used sparingly—usually to add tannin and another dimension of complexity to the blend. But Virignia winemakers have found that this tiny grape ripens more evenly here, producing dark and expressive juice. As a result, you will find some winemakers in the Commonwealth giving this variety a featured role in their blends and as single varietals. 

  • Cabernet Franc

    Historically Cabernet Franc has usually played a supporting role because of its ability to impart complexity and acidity to blends. However, Cabernet Franc is also the dominant grape in the famous “first growth” of the Right Bank, and in other great bottlings around the world. And this early ripening grape especially thrives in Virginia, resulting in wines with both juicy and earthy flavors ranging from raspberry to tobacco, all supported by a backbone of refreshing acidity.  

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    The world’s most famous grape, Cabernet Sauvignon is featured in many premier and age-worthy wines. Prized for its ability to produce single varietal wines, as in Napa, and also as a dominant blending grape in Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon is a small, thick-skinned, tannic grape that produces intensely flavorful juice, characterized by notes of cassis and blackcurrant. Cabernet Sauvignon has had great success in Virginia both as a single varietal and as a blending grape, but it is especially sensitive to vintage character.

  • Malbec

    Like Petit Verdot, another Bordeaux blending grape, Malbec has thrived in the New World, especially as the signature grape of Argentina. Malbec is far less cultivated in Virginia where, as in Bordeaux, it is used mainly for blending. But its dark flavors and velvety texture, combined with its good acidity, make this a variety worth watching.