Deep Creek’s 2-acre vineyard, at 2,100 feet elevation, is among the highest in the Eastern US. A near-constant Appalachian wind on a 20-degree slope ensures a sub-Alpine climate of low humidity. No soil is turned. Manure, specially prepared high-nutrient composts, biodynamic principles such as moon-phase work scheduling, and minimal organic sprays dominate the regimen of care. Grapes are harvested residue-free by ceasing all spraying in early July. The scourge, Japanese beetles, are combatted by not hedging the vines, then killing the beetles with pesticides only in exposed, non-fruit zones. Almost half of the vineyard is planted to a highly disease-resistant hybrid (used in the Fleurie-like Nouveau) grown most years with zero inputs.
Nouveau: – Back to the top
Varietals: Frontenac & Cabernet Franc (up to 10%)
Age of vines: 16 years
Training method: vertical-shoot positioned
Soil: eroded, rocky shale loam
Vinification: Carbonic maceration. Grapes are harvested in late September and fermented uncrushed. Sulfur is avoided: CO2 created in small stainless barrels with fixed lids protects the grapes during fermentation. Native yeasts and non-aromatic commercial yeasts are alternated, barrel to barrel, to create subtle complexity in the finished wine. After pressing, malolactic fermentation occurs naturally and the wine is settled outdoors for a few days, aged for about six weeks on the gross lees, then bottled unfiltered.
Tasting Notes: Classic cherry soda-pop, summer flowers, and wet-rock aromas. Garnet-colored, the wine is seamlessly smooth, medium- to light-bodied ala “old-style,” non-chaptalized Beaujolais, with a tender, melting texture in most years (11% ABV) but can be hedonistic and chunky in warm years.
Pairings: Created as a winter solstice-time wine to remind us of summer, it is versatile and food-friendly, excellent as an apertif or basic vin du copain, and is especially suited to American holiday foods such as baked ham and turkey.
Cellars Ros: – Back to the top
Varietals: Cabernet Franc 85%, Pinot Gris 15%
Age of vines: 16 years
Training method: Vertical Shoot Positioning
Soil: Shale/sandstone loam, 20-degree hillside slope
Vinification: The grapes were picked and crushed over a 3-week period, resulting in significant variation in the finished wines, which were fermented separately then blended. All grapes are crushed into a vertical press and the juice runs through the skins; color imparted in this direct, simple manner can somehow be sensed in the finished wine, adding to its direct, natural demeanor. Aged sur lie and bottled without filtration.
Pairings: This high-acid dry rosé is suited to classic light summer foods, especially broiled fish in simple lemon-based sauces, is the perfect color to accompany grilled salmon, and also makes a good aperitif.
Tasting Notes: Summer flowers, bread crust, prominent white pepper, minerals, and subdued strawberry/lemon on the nose; restrained, surprisingly complex citrus and mineral flavors, despite a delicate texture (11% ABV) that evokes a serious white dinner wine. An appealingly brisk finish wraps up neatly and proportionally.