Vineyard Notes: Our Viognier is harvested entirely from Amazing Grace Vineyards, just south of and downslope from the Wintergreen ski resort in Nelson County, Virginia. Planted and owned by the delightfully curmudgeonly Roger Fulton and his indefatigably patient wife Sue, Amazing Grace has been farmed by the staff at First Colony since 2015. We are, to put it modestly, enormously privileged to work this site, which represents one of the finest terroirs for Viognier yet discovered in Virginia. Planted on a southwesterly facing slope at over 1200 feet in elevation, Amazing Grace benefits from a unique combination of cooler temperatures and extended sun exposure that allows Viognier to reach peak phenolic ripeness without losing its notoriously delicate acidity. Moreover, the site's soil--a distinctive sandy silt-loam complex weathered from granite boulders peppered visibly throughout vineyard—almost perfectly mirrors the soil in the tiny hamlet of Condrieu in the south of France to which Viognier is native, and provides a level of freshness and minerality uncommon in wines made from this varietal in Virginia.
Cellar Notes: A total of 6.1 tons of Viognier were hand-harvested in pristine condition on 9/15. The fruit was whole-cluster pressed at low pressure into stainless steel and allowed to cold settle for 48 hours prior to being racked and inoculated with Rhone 4600 yeast. Fermentation took place between 48 and 52 degrees Fahrenheit over 25 days, with 9 hectoliters of the wine being barreled down into neutral French oak towards the final third of fermentation. The two lots were aged separately for three months, with the barrels receiving weekly batonnage (lees stirring) for added texture and depth. The wines were then combined and plate-and-frame filtered before being bottled on 2/6.
Tasting Notes: Our Amazing Grace Vineyard Viognier has been a staff and customer favorite since its debut vintage in 2015. In part, that is thanks to the varietal itself. Virginia Viognier picked fully ripe produces a wine possessed of an exotic, seductive perfume and broad, voluptuous stone fruit character that is difficult to resist. And certainly, in those respects our 2017 Viognier is true to type. Leaping from the glass with musky, floral aromatics of honeysuckle, mayflower, and donut peach, the wine is rich and unctuous, with pear and peach flavors predominating on the palate. What sets this wine apart, however, is its unusual sense of place, also known as terroir character. Where many of its brethren are rather one-dimensionally fruity, First Colony's Viognier is further complicated by an intense, granitic minerality that serves to lift and enliven its palate. Pair with scallops over risotto and drink any time now-2020.