This is the last time I will show you Boxwood's vineyard as a green canopy of vines tipped in grape clusters. Once the grapes begin to change color, and the versaion process begins, little animal noses and bird beeks are dancing with delight. Grapes, when they are in the process of growing, have mostly herbal aromas. Once they turn color, they smell of fruit: Delicious, tasty fruit.
While we have the decoy crows flying above the rows, soon it will not be enough. Raccoons are talented climbers. Foxes can slip though a sliver of a gap. Birds of brilliant color and just as brilliant grape-picking skills seem to materialize from nowhere. And if all this were allowed to continue, one can image the paltry gulp of wine they might leave for us, if we were lucky.
The nets are rising in the vineyard now. Soon they will cover all of the fruit to protect them from our Northern Virginia wildlife. So, let's have a good long look now, while 2011 is still bare in the rows.
Malbec: It is a shade of purple perfectly suited to royalty in skins like velvet. It was the first varietal on the property to go through verasion and the color change is complete now. In 2011, the majority of Malbec will be dedicated to our Rose wine.
While the color of these photographs could easily be assumed to be enhanced, it is not. This is our magnificent vineyard in high Virginia summer just as I found it this morning: The depth of purples and greens and the way the light strikes each leaf is true to life, and moreover, true to the depth of the wines which will be crafted from this vineyard in 2011.
The Merlot is about halfway through color change. Again, no color enhancement. It is dark as good coffee in places, but still citrine green in others. The contrast is remarkable from color to color, but also from the Malbec (above) which leans to jewel tones while the Merlot is darker, edgier, - sexier, somehow.
The Cabernet Franc is another story altogether. Verasion is about half complete on the downward slope, toward the top of the hill though, it has just begun: A grape here or there is purple.
The Cabernet Franc is painfully photogenic and that is evident here: The color dimension in the verasion process was so magically and inexplicably varied in these rows, there will never be enough photographs to have shown it justice.
The Cabernet Sauvignon is quietly making its move to purple. As Adam, our wine-maker says, it can happen overnight, it can be that fast. And once it goes, you can hardly imagine it had only the day before been green as a fairway. But it was.
Nature works in wondrous, colorful ways.