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Our estate’straditional Morels Feast is just around the corner, Saturday, April 25th, with uplifting justifications emerging from every quarter — the quality of the season, the participating chefs, the seasonal outpouring of wine awards, and exciting new plantings in the vineyard and livestock in our pastures. We begin with the season —
Nature is co-operating magnificently, to prepare the ground for a fine vintage. We have been released from Winter with gently saturating rainfall, sustained cool days, and a gradual warming which the vines find very encouraging. This year’s conditions remind me of the early 1990s, when I arrived here and discovered the gentle and unhurried Spring for which Virginia has traditionally been so famous. Is there anything to compare with a Nebbiolo vine at budbreak? With this weather, too, local Morels will be spectacular and plentiful.
Our viticulturist Fernando Franco and I have been planting 4 new acres of Nebbiolo, a celebration in its own right for us, and a fitting expansion in one of the nation’s most honored productions of this cherished wine of my home region in Italy, Piemonte. A Morels Feast without Nebbiolo would feel very impoverished, and this year’s menu will find the Nebbiolo Reserve 2012 presented with the main course. At the same time, we have introduced our first litter of purebred Berkshire pigs to our pastures, for their contribution to future feasts.
The wine competitions of late Winter have also reinforced the invigorating and rededicating effects of our weather. With the opening of our Library 1821, offering access to older vintages every weekend, we have been heartened to find the wine judges vouching for the strength of vintages which many had recommended only for early drinking — Cabernet Franc Reserve 2007 and 2010, now both retired from our current List, won the only Gold Medals awarded for Cabernet Franc at last week’s Monticello Competition. The 2010 vintage will be featured in the Morels Feast, and is available online if you cannot come to the vineyard. To reserve, April 25th, 7pm, please call Palladio Restaurant, (540) 832-7848.
We are very happy to welcome Chef Sam McGann of Blue Point Restaurant in Duck, to prepare this year’s Morels Feast with his good friend Chef Spencer Crawford of Palladio Restaurant. Truly, we all have our reasons to celebrate this delicious Spring. Please bring yours here with you, and join us.