A happy rite of passage in the schools in our part of Virginia, is a graduation exercise for the early grades to move on into middle school. We have been celebrating the same progress in our vines, as an almost perfect Spring draws to a close, leaving all in avid readiness for Summer. Our viticulturist Fernando Franco reports a healthy bloom of almost 100% in every mature planting (as in the Nebbiolo, shown here), and new plantings on our Goodlow Mountain vineyard have been completed, of 5 acres of Merlot for Octagon, 1 acre of Falanghina for blending in our Italian whites, and 1 of Cabernet Franc for the Reserve.
When you visit us now, you will see how meticulously we have been devoting ourselves to shoot thinning and cluster selection, and careful leaf pulling for canopy control. Every vine row presents a ship-shape profile of orderly growth, and exposure equally to sunlight and ventilation. It is natural for this vine conditioning, renewed every year, to remind us of good schooling, as begun in this overview of new Goodlow Mountain plantings. It is a moment for every winelover’s eye to capture.
And yet, as we look out from our viewing and picnic decks, facing the historic Ruins and the Blue Ridge, we also find a colorful, teeming sea of chaos at our feet. Allegrante Meadow has been taking bloom just as our estate naturalist, Bill Birkhofer anticipated, and on the afternoons of June 28, 29, and 30, he will be leading free small-group tours of the Meadow, to anyone who signs up first in the Tuscan Tasting Room. We expect to offer these tours again in July and August, to be announced in social media. While our vines have been trained to gain vigor and support the development of their clusters, the Meadow has thrived by an enlightened neglect, giving us both sides of the same seasonal miracle. Here, the romantically lush carpet is interrupted only by a winding, tended footpath for any visitor to admire, and learn from Nature’s vision of this estate.
2018 Allegrante Rosé, which shares the Meadow’s name and inspiration, has just been awarded the Gold Medal at 92 Points at Beverage Testing Institute, Chicago. It has also been a popular sensation at this Spring’s equally valuable proving grounds, the Mount Vernon and Norfolk Town Point wine festivals. This beautiful new wine, here in its second vintage, is the one which best links the vineyard, the meadow, and the winery. A vibrant statement of the structural virtues of a rosé without oak: a colorful, stone-fruit red varietal frame, of Petit Syrah and Nebbiolo, recalling the mineral brightness of our Italian whites, especially Pinot Grigio or Vermentino. Where there is sun, where there is seafood, where there is gossamer charcuterie, there is Allegrante.
The Summer Menu for Palladio Restaurant will exploit our garden’s seasonal produce to the fullest, with wine pairings of classic warm weather appeal. We’re especially pleased to present the scarce Fiano Reserve 2017 (awarded 94 Points by James Suckling) with a selection of first courses, such as the Orecchiette pictured here in the herb garden, while Allegrante Rosé 2018 will lead the way in the Antipasti.
Finally, great Midsummer excitement — the arrival of the Four County Players at the historic Ruins, with performances of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, spanning the two weeks beginning July 12. Tickets are available now through their box office, and to complete the occasion, Palladio Restaurant will prepare picnic baskets on 7-day advance order, direct from the Restaurant, (540) 832-7848.
Let’s be sure to see each other soon.
For up-to-the-minute announcements,
check our Facebook page.