Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chatham Vineyards Church Creek Merlot 2006

The Federal-period home Chatham in Machipongo, VA, was begun in 1818 by Major Scarborough Pitts on land on Church Creek first patented in 1640. The buildings on the property reflect four centuries of continuous use as a working farm.

The latest addition is the winery built in 2005. In 1999, the first five acre block of grapes were planted and today there are more than twenty acres of French Vinifera.

Jon Wehner is a second-generation winegrower on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. He learned about grape growing from his parents who operated Great Falls Vineyard in Great Falls, Virginia for thirty years. He and his wife and their three children own and operate the vineyard and winery. Since 1999, more than twenty acres of high-density (1,740 vines per acre) French vinifera varietals have been planted

The winery was constructed in 2005 and currently has a production capacity of 3,000 to 5,000 cases annually. A retail tasting room is located in the winery. Future plans include the relocation and restoration of an 1890s farmhouse adjoining the winery to serve as a tasting room and special events facility.

The Church Creek Merlot 2006 was a wonderful surprise! The Merlot is a mouthful of dark cherry, blackberry, and a touch of currant and raspberry. A big up front fruit flavor gives way to a beautiful dry finish, with lovely balance between the fruit and the acidity, and a nice touch of tannin. The wine is barrel-aged for more than twenty months.
A tremendous surprise! A lovely, lovely wine!