After the Drink Local Wine Conference, fellow VA wine blogger Dezel Quinlan of My Vine Spot headed South to visit a new winery to both of us, Delaplane Cellars. Even on a cloudy day the views from this fairly new winery were amazing, surrounded by the rolling hills of Faquier County. Owner Jim Dolphin met us to give us a taste through his hand crafted wines and give us the background on his new labor of love. Being a wine lover for some time, Jim, as many of us do got the dream to open his own winery. Before jumping in he took wine making and viticulture classes with Jim Law at Linden Vineyards, in addition to working several harvests with him, as well as taking several enology courses through UC Davis. He started by making wine at home, two of which got second and first in consecutive years at the VA state amateur winemakers competition. Before deciding on the property and planting Jim had extensive soil analysis done to see which varieties and trellis systems should be used and found that his soil did change from top to bottom. The top section of the property contains more sandy, loamy soil and proceeds to turn to a more clay dominated soil near the bottom of his 7 acres under vine.
The tasting room is magnificent and attention to detail is key for Jim to provide the best possible tasting experience. From quality Schott Zwiesel crystal tasting glasses on the Black Walnut counter harvested from the property where the winery sits, to the odor free soap in the restroom.
The vines are currently in their 2nd and 3rd leaf so the wines that we tasted were produced from fruit purchased from selected vineyards around the state. The wine at Delaplane offers a range of taste from the rich Viogniers to their reds which run the gammot of “old world” and slightly funky to bigger more fruit forward “new world” styles.
We tasted the entire lineup that they have and I have to say I enjoyed every single wine they had, which is rare to find, especially here in Virginia. I take that back, they do have a Syrah/Viognier blush with 3% residual sugar that I didn’t care for.
What I tasted: 2008 / Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, 2008 Honah Lee Viognier, 2008 Maggies Vineyard Viognier, 2007 Emerald Lake Viognier, 2007 Old World Cab Franc, 2007 Left Bank Bordeaux Blend, 2007 Shirland Syrah and 2007 Springlot Reserve Single Vineyard
Notes on my favorites:
2008 Honah Lee Viognier – nice rich style Viognier with notes of citrus, apricot, peach and tangerine. Intereasting “chalky” component that I thought added interesting complexity to the palate. Acidity showed itself at the end to help brighten up the fruit and lean up the viscosity on the tongue.
2007 Old World Cabernet Franc – hints of barnyard laced between plum, cherry and red currant with notes of earthy funk (the good kind) and sautéed brussel sprouts. A bit of spice on the full bodied palate with lush leathery tannins. In inquiring about the funk, Jim did admit that the wine had a touch of brett – which I enjoyed.
2007 Springlot Reserve Single Vineyard – big and almost “sweet” fruit on the nose with aromas and flavors of boysenberry, black cherry, spice box and cocoa powder. Interestingly a dose of bright red fruit notes kept showing up in the mid-palate that was quite nice. Full bodied with big well integrated tannins.
Afterwards I enjoyed a glass of the Cabernet Franc and a nice local cheese platter with Dezel before I headed home. Interestingly enough, Jim used to live about a mile from where I now do and used to be a frequent customer of the wine shop I now manage. Small world!