Today I attended Early Mountain’s Member Weekend pickup event. I have an interesting relationship with this club. There can be little argument that Early Mountain makes fantastic wine. It is consistent, you get the kind of experience you expect in terms of taste, complexity etc. They break new and interesting ground with Pet Nat, and do fun things like Soif. They are among the few wineries in Virginia that are led by a female winemaker. Their space is gorgeous and amazing.
I was a member for a little over a year pre-pandemic, and during the pandemic I went ahead and shut down my membership. Now that we’ve relocated to Charlottesville, I rejoined. I’m not unhappy I did – I enjoy the wine and the pickup weekends for sure. It’s more expensive than I like to pay, and the atmosphere is one of “Big Event Venue” – this is clearly a place for weddings, corporate events, etc. I tend to gravitate towards wineries that are small and let you talk to the winemaker as she or he strolls through the tasting room.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to talk you out of going to EMV. They’re awesome, and well worth the time to get there and enjoy the wine. It just doesn’t fit my normal profile for the kind of place I frequent. Go back three or four years to my first visit where I experienced Novum and grilled cheese with tomato soup, and then it really had the feel I was after. But now it’s big.
Big or not, this club release is fantastic.
As part of the member weekend, you receive a tasting of the three wines in the package as well as a preview of the 2019 Rise. The package included the 2021 Five Forks white blend, Capstone Cab Franc 2020 and the 2020 Novum. The bonus tasting of the Rise, was of course, amazingg.
Let’s start with the Five Forks white blend. This year it has a tiny amount of Malvasia Bianca as well as Muscat. I don’t know if they were in previous blends, but they add an interesting element. EMV is playing with Malvasia, as they did a collaboration with Walsh and Septenary on the Sunroom project. Petit Manseng definitely leads in this blend, but the Sauv Blanc acidity balances it I think. I’m hoping to enjoy this when “False Fall” ends and second summer heatwave shows up. It will be great.
Do you remember Capstone? I do– I have a whole post I started writing in February 2020 that I never finished. I ran into members of the Northern Virginia Wine Mafia there (the original core of Winebloggers who started this long before me). A few years ago Capstone made the decision to stop making their own wine and sell their annual crops to EMV. While I was very sad because their wines were amazing, the EMV Capstone Vineyard Cab Franc 2020 was certainly no slouch. It was in fact, incredible. Dark and drinkable, with everything you love about Cab Franc to it. I think it’s actually one of the best cab francs I’ve had in quite a while (and you know I loved Arterra’s 2020 CF). This is totally a keeper. Get this one.
The 2020 Novum. This came across tannic. It’s a dark and delicious red blend where they added a small amount of Tannat and smaller amount of Petit Verdot, and it made it luxurious. It’s got that dry mouth tannin feel at the end you get with good tannat and PV. I liked this a lot too.
Rise 2019. This is EMV’s flagship wine. It sells at $125 a bottle (club gets 15% off). Now, it’s good. Very good. This would be a lovely steak wine. While it has more PV and almost as much tannat as the Novum, it’s more refined in it’s presentation of those tannins (it’s also a year older). Of course I will love you forever if you bring me a bottle of this. At the price point, it’s not an everyday wine. But it was lovely.
I met with a former co-worker and we enjoyed the tasting with a charcuterie board and then I had a glass of the 2021 Rose and she had the 2020 Madison Cab Franc. We loved all of these and the setting. They had a decent flow of customers, but it wasn’t crowded since it was closed to non-members. The setting is, of course, amazing.
Make sure you do check these out and enjoy a nice lunch there. You won’t be sorry you did.