Grapes are slightly crushed and turned over twice daily to extract soft tannins from the skins. After about 10 days, the free run wine is removed and the remaining skins are pressed to recover the “press fraction.” The press fraction and free run juice are aged separately. Prior to bottling they are blended back for optimum fruit and tannins. Barrel aging for12 months produces wine with a smokey, earthy aroma and noticeable fruit flavor.
Harvested during the first week of October, this grape benefits from the dryer and cooler environment of the Shenandoah Valley, allowing for slower ripening to concentrate varietal flavors. Fermentation usually takes 10-12 days, at which time fermented must (skins) is pressed off and the resulting wine is stored for at least 30 days to allow natural settling of suspended solids. The wine is then barrel aged for 14-15 months in American, French, and Hungarian oak to develop additional complexity.
Three wines come together to make this blend; Cabernet Franc (60%), Petit Verdot (20%), and Chambourcin (20%). Wines are processed and aged in barrels separately for approximately 12 months. They are then blended in tanks, and put back into barrels for another 3-4 months before bottling. As many as 5 different yeast are used in fermenting these wines which adds to the overall complexity of aromas and flavors exhibited.
Chambourcin, Port Style
The fruitful quality of the Chambourcin grape works well to produce this ruby style port. During fermentation sugar levels are monitored carefully to find the exact time to stop the fermentation with the desirable sugar level, about 7% residual. The wine is aged for a year in French or American oak and finished in 50 gallon bourbon casks that have been aging bourbon for 4 years. The combination of the bourbon soaked wood and the wine come together to produce caramel flavors.