Capstone Vineyards is one of Virginia’s newest wineries, having opened to the public (still by appointment only) in February 2019. Given the number of local wineries you’d think the marketplace would be saturated, but Capstone demonstrates there’s always room for a new place that’s committed to their craft.
As I drove in the first thing I noticed is the vineyard has a great location. The vines are south facing, which maximizes sun exposure. The steep slope tops out 1500 feet, so excellent drainage. I would later learn they have 12 acres of mostly Bordeaux varietals planted, plus some experimental rows of Roussanne, Chenin and Muscat Ottonel.
While there is a small tasting room at the top, it was obvious is a working vineyard first and foremost; the appointment only schedule guarantees there won’t be any crowds. Fortunately hospitality was definitely not lacking, as co-owner David Adams greeted me as I parked.
Dave explained not only is Jim Law practically his neighbor, Jim is his mentor and winemaker. That’s right; Capstone’s wines are made by ‘the man’ himself in Linden’s cellar, just three miles away. While Dave insisted that finding farmland near Linden was a total coincidence, I wouldn’t have blamed him if that added a tiny bit more incentive.
As much as Dave and his wife Andrea Baer enjoy growing wine, they currently don’t have any aspirations to expand the tasting area, open it up to drop-in visitors, or make the wine themselves. I rather like this set up as a visit guarantees you a lot of 1 on 1 time with the owners, which to me is the best part (well…maybe after tasting wine). Plus if Jim Law is willing to make your wines…why not let him?
Capstone’s wine production will likely always be on the small side, as they sell the majority of their grapes. When Dave mentioned Capstone is Early Mountain Vineyard’s largest outside supplier I knew this was a good sign of the quality of the vineyard, since Ben Jordan wouldn’t accept sub-par fruit. Jim Law makes the wine, Ben Jordan buys the fruit. Any vineyard endorsed by these guys is a sure-fire winner in my book.
After picking Dave’s brain for a bit, we got down to the wine tasting. Their wines are very much done in the Jim Law style, with reds focused on good balance and whites that exclude freshness. In fact, Dave was able to point to Shari Avenius’ vineyard (one of Jim’s three vineyards) the next hill over; the two locations share similar characteristics in altitude and composition.
What I tried:
2016 Chardonnay: Very bright on the palate, with a nose that reminded me of fresh fruit. Made in steel. For obvious reasons this reminded me of an Avenius Chardonnay, for those who know Linden’s wines.
2015 Merlot: Dark cherries and plumb, with noticeable acidity in the finish.
2016 Vintner’s Blend (Cabernet Franc heavy): Medium bodied and very well balanced.
2015 Fielder’s Choice (Merlot heavy): Made in new and neutral oak, this had noticeable body and structure. I especially enjoyed the long finish and good tannin.
Go visit! Then visit Linden afterwards!