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Sunset Hills Shenandoah Springs Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
This is our first release of a clone-specific wine for Sunset Hills. The goal is to show you a specific terroir, one that year after year delivers excellent fruit quality. I chose clone 96 for its complexity both in ripening and barrel aging. During ripening, the fruit has notes of pineapple and pear with great acidity. I saw this wine as a chance to highlight not only the vineyard, but how detailed we can get in growing and making wine.
75% Clone 96
20% Clone 76
5% Clone 17
Notes of light honeysuckle, Asian pear, raw almond, and lemon custard. Medium body and medium acid.
Sunset Hills Vineyard, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, produces award winning, 100% Virginia wines from our Amish restored, historic winery. From the planting of the first vines in 1999, Mike and Diane Canney, owners of Sunset Hills Vineyard, had a vision of making fine wine of the highest quality in a manner which was gentle on the land. That vision is reflected in the sustainable farming practices employed today.
The original Sunset Hills was a very large and beautiful farm that later became Reston Virginia. Diane and I used to work very long hours in office buildings in Reston, looking out over the scenic landscape, dreaming that one day we would have a beautiful farm like that. Years later, after searching to find the perfect place for our vineyards and winery, Diane and I bought our first farm. Each evening, we would watch the sun set over the Blue Ridge mountains, talking about what grapes to plant, where to plant them and how we would do whatever it took to maximize quality. In 1999, the first vineyard was planted and we needed a name. We knew it could only have the name of the farm we had admired years before. Today, many of our customers and friends enjoy our wines on the 150 yr old farm, and enjoy watching the sun set over mountains. Sunset Hills Vineyard has been the perfect name!
After graduating from UVA in 2011, it was Corry’s love of travel that first led her to the wine industry. She soon found herself working the harvest in far off places like New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and France, with a few closer to home in Oregon and Virginia. She called both King Family and Blenheim Vineyards in Charlottesville home for a while, working harvests and spending time in the lab learning the ins and outs on winemaking, but it was her stretch in Oregon that showed her this wasn’t just a job, but a way of life. Although she’s been tempted by opportunities in Sonoma, CA, her desire to start her career as a winemaker in her home state of Virginia has kept her planted close to home. It excites her that Virginia is still in the early experimental phase of winemaking, and she really believes in the quality of wine that can be crafted here. She’s already experimenting in the cellar, and we can’t wait to see the fruits of her labor as they unfold in the future. If she’s not drinking a Virginia Chardonnay, you’ll most likely find her with a glass of Pinot Noir in her hand. When she’s not in the cellar, she’s likely out hiking, playing her cello or gone for a run.
Sunset Hills (18 acres), 50 West (7 acres), Shenandoah Springs (23 acres), Sherman Ridge (13 acres), Catesby (17 acres).
Age of the vines: 1 - 20 years
Opening with fresh aromas of blueberry and black cherry, this classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon showcases plush tannins and a rich, velvety mouthfeel. Vibrant flavors of blackberry, plum, and toasty oak are followed by a long, smooth finish.
This shows lots of ripe dark and blue fruit on the nose, together with some leafy character. Notes of spices, cedar wood and walnuts, too. Medium-to full-bodied with firm tannins and a fresh, juicy-fruit profile. Polished and smooth with an array of succulent berries and blue flowers in the aftertaste. Drinkable now, but better in two or three years. Try after 2024.
-James Suckling 93 Points
Patz & Hall Dutton Ranch Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Winemaker and Founder James Hall. Since 1988 founder and winemaker James Hall has guided the Patz & Hall winemaking program, instilling it with his own boldness, imagination and trademark perfectionism. Combining a belief in great viticulture, traditional winemaking practices, and the judicious use of innovative techniques, James has earned a reputation for crafting dramatic benchmark Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that balance vibrant power with vineyard-inspired depth and sophistication. In 1983 James joined Napa Valley’s Flora Springs Winery and Vineyards as assistant winemaker. There, he spent four years developing his expertise crafting barrel-fermented, small-lot Chardonnays. While at Flora Springs, James struck up a close friendship with sales manager Donald Patz, and the two soon discovered that they shared a similar philosophical approach to wine and winemaking. In the spring of 1988, while working as the winemaker and estate manager for Honig Winery, James teamed up with Donald and Heather Patz, and Anne Moses to make and release Patz & Hall’s inaugural Napa Valley Chardonnay.
Aromas of ginger, guava and Crème brûlée with toasted almond, and toffee-brown sugar. Dense, and full bodied, there’s a pleasingly crisp and mouthwatering green apple note on the palate that melds with dried apricot, tangerine flavors along with a hint of toasted oak.
From the Russian River, the 2017 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch is a step up and has more intensity and depth, with a rocking bouquet of honey stone fruits, brioche, toasted hazelnuts, and crushed stone. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and beautifully balanced, with bright acidity, it has a kiss of background oak but is a seriously good, layered effort that will cruise for 5-7 years, probably longer. - Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
Pernot Belicard Bourgogne Blanc is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
The grapes for this wine come from a small parcel of 6 acres in the village of Puligny-Montrachet, resulting in wines of exceptional quality. The same viticulture and vinification methods are applied for all the wines from the Domaine.
The wine offers an expressive nose of white flowers, stone fruits and buttered bread notes. The mouth is mineral and elegant, and delicate toasty nuances bring extra length in the mouth alongside a fresh acidity and a good balance.
Pair with veal Stew, Grilled Salmon, Epoisse cheese.
Notes of meyer lemon and white flower petals carry over to prange blossom and ripe melon.
The late heat in August and September really pushed the Chardonnay to develop into a fruit forward wine. Hand picked, chilled and pressed whole cluster. 10 -20 years old vines.
Sunset Hills Red is made from 40% Merlot 36% Chambourcin 16% Cabernet Franc 8% Tannat
"The lighter style that Sunset Red offers widens the scope of the wines here at Sunset Hills Vineyard. Delicate and youthful, the structure of the Sunset Red is carried by its acidity and bright fruit notes, rather than heavy oak or tannins. We want this wine to be enjoyed young—with the fruit notes still bright and vibrant. " - Corry Craighill, winemaker
Notes of brambled blackberry, raspberry, plum, and forest floor. Light in body, leaning on acidity rather than tannins. Youthful and vibrant!
Grilled BBQ chicken and corn on the cob, don’t forget the butter BBQ pizza. Chicken sausage with feta & roasted garlic. Warm farro and beet salad.
Deep red in color, this wine is silky on the palate, with ripe, jammy fruit and a powerfully long finish that is pleasant and slightly smokey. A rich, age-worthy wine.
Handling: Hand-picked, chilled, destemmed, lightly crushed into bins and tanks Pre-ferment: 0 – 4 day cold soak. Yeast: Inoculated: – various strains. Fermentation: average of 10 days. 15 years old vines.
Pear, Pink Lady apple, and honeysuckle plant. A hint of sweetness to balance the acidity. Overall and super light wine!
Traminette, one of the hybrid grapes we grow is stellar in the vineyard. Picked early to avoid any overwhelming aromatics. It is consistent and produces a crisp, light wine.Handling: Hand-picked, chilled, destemmed. Skin: None. Fermentation 100% stainless steel. 10 - 15 years old vines.
Roserock by Drouhin Oregon Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
This Chardonnay leads with clean, fresh aromas of apple, honeydew, white flowers, shortcake and a touch of nuttiness. On the palate, the wine is generous and round, with flavors of citrus tart, white peach, almonds and spice with a delicious combination of minerality and richness. The finish is long.
James Suckling 93 Points
Decanter 93 Points
The Grade Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Winfield Vineyard is made from Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
“This wine expresses a focused balancing act of dark, rich black fruit, and a fine tannin structure, illuminated through the core with a laser-like acidity. The wine displays a deep purple-red hue with a cranberry halo. Aromas of cassis, cinnamon, citrus oil, roasted meat, and lilac swell from the glass.
“The palate is marked by a wave of jet-black brambly fruit up front, followed by an exotic spice mid-palate and a long, complex finish that lasts and lasts expressing notes of flowering jasmine, and oolong tea. The silky tannins hold everything together and will certainly allow this wine to evolve in the cellar for at least 7-10 years.” - Thomas River Brown
Coming from the Winfield Vineyard in Calistoga, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is another brilliant wine from the hands of winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown. This deep purple-colored effort boasts tons of blueberry and jammy blackberry fruits as well a medium to full-bodied, concentrated, yet elegant style on the palate. It has the purity of fruit that’s the hallmark of the vintage, ripe, sweet tannins, and no hard edges, and is already hard to resist.
-Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
"Sous la Velle" takes its name from its location 'under the village' of Saint Romain. The vineyards enjoy a steep and south facing exposure, planted on marl scree with the vines taking root in the limestone and offering a beautiful minerality to the wine. The nose expresses small red and black fruits, blackcurrant, cherry, raspberry and violet. The mouth provides a rich, supple and elegant wine with a good structure, pure fruit and vibrant acidity.
After destalking the grapes, the juice, skin and pulp are put into the vat for cold maceration. It lasts from 15 to 18 days. The alcoholic fermentation will follow, lasting from 5 to 6 days. These steps may be punctuated by push-downs. Aging in oak for 12 months.
Pork Filet Mignon, Pike Perch, Tomme de Morvan Cheese.