Virginia Dare Winery Two Arrowheads 2014
Paso Robles has proven itself to be an ideal appellation for Rhone varietals. Here, calcareous limestone soils and the contrast of warm days and cool evenings create conditions much like those in France’s Cotes du Rhône region. Two Arrowheads is a blend of two varietals: Viognier, a highly fragrant fruit, and Roussanne, a textural grape with intriguing flavor dimension and sweet baking spice notes. To enhance the complementary qualities of the blend, a split-fermentation technique is used; this vintage we fermented just 10% of the juice in oak barrels with the balance finished in stainless steel to preserve the wine’s perfume.
Blend: 71% Viognier, 25% Roussanne, 4% Chenin Blanc
Virginia Dare was the first English child born in the New World to colonists in 1587. Virginia's fate became a mystery after her colony, now referred to as the Lost Colony, vanished from Roanoke Island in the late 1500s. Legend has it that she lived among the Native Americans and grew into a beautiful young woman trapped in the middle of a tragic love triangle when she was turned into a White Doe and ultimately killed. On the very spot where she bled and died, a grapevine sprouted with its fruit stained red. According to the legend, this is how the white wine of America became red wine. The grapevine is widely believed to be the 400-year old Mother Vine, reportedly the oldest cultivated grapevine in North America which still exists today -- a clipping of which will soon be planted in Virginia Dare Winery’s estate vineyard.
The story of the Virginia Dare Winery began with North Carolina's first commercial winery, Medoc Vineyard, which opened in 1835. Two businessmen, known as the Garrett brothers, purchased the property in 1865 calling it Garrett & Company. They began producing the Virginia Dare label which quickly became one of the nation's top selling wines. With the start of Prohibition in 1919, Garrett & Company was forced to move, first to Brooklyn, New York, and then to Cucamonga, California, where the business transformed into the Virginia Dare Winery. It was one of the first wineries to sell wine after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 and was considered a booming business for much of the late 40s and 50s, but eventually saw turmoil and nearly faded into history.
Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, powerful, fruit-driven wines. But with eleven smaller sub-AVAs, there is actually quite a bit of diversity to be found in this inland portion of California’s Central Coast.
Just east over the Santa Lucia Mountains from the chilly Pacific Ocean, lie the coolest in the region: Adelaida, Templeton Gap and (Paso Robles) Willow Creek Districts, as well as York Mountain AVA and Santa Margarita Ranch. These all experience more ocean fog, wind and precipitation compared to the rest of the Paso sub-appellations. The San Miguel, (Paso Robles) Estrella, (Paso Robles) Geneso, (Paso Robles) Highlands, El Pomar and Creston Districts, along with San Juan Creek, are the hotter, more western appellations of the greater Paso Robles AVA.
This is mostly red wine country, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel standing out as the star performers. Other popular varieties include Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Grenache and Rhône blends, both red and white. There is a fairly uniform tendency here towards wines that are unapologetically bold and opulently fruit-driven, albeit with a surprising amount of acidity thanks to the region’s chilly nighttime temperatures.
Full-bodied and flavorful, white Rhône blends originate from France’s Rhône Valley. Today these blends are also becoming popular in other regions. Typically some combination of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier form the basis of a white Rhône blend with varying degrees of flexibility depending on the exact appellation. Somm Secret—In the Northern Rhône, blends of Marsanne and Roussanne are common but the south retains more variety. Marsanne, Roussanne as well as Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picpoul and Ugni Blanc are typical.