Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Delaplane Cellars (VA) A Serious Winery

OK, so I am always happy to be surprised. And this was one occassion where I was more than pleasantly surprised.

At the second Grand Tasting of TasteCamp 2012 I ran across the table for Deleplane Cellars. Delaplane Cellars is nestled on Lost Mountain, overlooking the Rural Historic Crooked Run Valley. Delaplane Cellars began in the late 1990's as a simple dream of Jim and Betsy Dolphin to create fine wine in Virginia. All of their wines are made from authentic Virginia winegrapes. Their goal is to craft delicious single vineyard wines that reflect the unique terroir of each vineyard site. "To accomplish this, our winemaking philosophy is simply that less is more. Less intervention by the winemaker results in more authentic flavor and more memorable wine in the bottle," says Delaplane's literature.

Dominick Fioresi is the Vineyard Manager and Cellarmaster. Dominick joined the winery as Vineyard Manager and Cellarmaster in April 2011. He has completed a two year apprenticeship program at Linden Vineyards, Linden, VA, under the tutelage of Jim Law, widely regarded as the premier vigneron in Virginia. Prior to joining Linden, Dominick completed the two and a half year viticulture and enology certification program at Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville, VA. He also worked the 2008 harvest and crush at Domaine Dubl'ere in Burgundy, France.

As Vineyard Manager, Dominick is responsible for overseeing the vineyard operations at Delaplane’s seven acre, 11,000 vine estate vineyard as well as its expansion to 10 acres in 2012 and 2013. In addition, he is the winery’s liaison with the seven other growers who either lease a portion of their vineyard or sell grapes to Delaplane Cellars. As Cellarmaster, Dominick assists the winemaker and owner Jim Dolphin.

OK, enough of that. What I can tell you is that from tasting three wines, that Delaplane is a very serious winery. They are looking to make the absolutely best quality wines they can.

I'll start of with 2011 Petite Mensang. It was fabulous. Big opulent nose, with honey and lots of tropical fruits. Wow! And on the palate I got pears, apples and pineapples. With bright acidity but not too much, this had a nice refreshing mouthfeel. An absolutely lovely wine! Fantastic!

But it wasn't my favorite....? Because the reds were even better.

The 2007 Shirland Syrah was a big chewy red wine. A dark red/purple, this had all the makings of a wonderufl wine. Big, deep, dark berries on the nose with vanilla and spices. But there's barnyard in them thar hills...the good kind. This was one big cup of coffee. Big fruity nose but with a nice soft smoky bacon behind it. Impressive.

The last was also just incredible. The 2008 Williams Gap was so impressive. I've been waiting to write this review just because I couldn't wait to relive the moment and gush about the wine online! This is a Bordeaux-style blend including Cabernet Franc (33%), Merlot (17%), Cabernet Sauvignon (33%), and Petite Verdor (17%). The wines were vinted separately and then cellared in 33% new and 67% neutral French oak barrels for 22 months.

The result is nothing short of a amazing. There's dark cherry, tomato, vanilla, spices, blood....this is as complex a wine as I have tasted in Virginia. A Big, big wine. A serious wine to thoroughly be considered and examined. I wanted a charred steak immediatel with this wine. An achievement!

Congratulations to Jim and Betsy Dolphin. Just marvelous!

(p.s. didn't have my camera with me, so I borrowed some pictures off the web....couldn't find a photo of the 2008, so I've taken the liberty of posting a 2009 instead....)