As you travel the back roads of Sussex County Delaware, you may not expect to find a 26-acre winery, but that’s exactly what you will stumble upon when you turn onto Blackwater Road. Look for the Salted Vines sign and behind it you will see our very first vines, planted in April of 2016. Since then we've planted an acre of Malbec in 2017 and an acre of Vermentino in 2019 on the land located behind our tasting room building. These original, two-acres of Founding Vines are marked with 48 end stakes and are planted with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Our plan is to add additional acres of grapes each year.
The classic profile of Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be full-bodied wines with high tannins and noticeable acidity that contributes to the wine's aging potential. In cooler climates, Cabernet Sauvignon tends to produce wines with blackcurrant notes that can be accompanied by green bell pepper notes, mint and cedar which will all become more pronounced as the wine ages. In more moderate climates the black currant notes are often seen with black cherry and black olive notes while in very hot climates the currant flavors can veer towards the over-ripe and "jammy" side. In parts of Australia, particularly the Coonawarra wine region of South Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon wines tend to have characteristic eucalyptus or menthol notes.
The Malbec grape is a thick-skinned grape and needs more sun and heat than either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to mature. It ripens mid-season and can bring very deep color, ample tannin, and a particular plum-like flavor component which adds complexity to claret blends. Sometimes, especially in its traditional growing regions, it is not trellised but is instead cultivated as bush vines. In such cases, it is sometimes kept to a relatively low yield. Wines produced using this growing method are rich, dark, and juicy.
While Merlot is made across the globe, there tend to be two main styles. The "International style" favored by many New World wine regions tends to emphasize late harvesting to gain physiological ripeness and produce inky, purple colored wines that are full in body with high alcohol and lush, velvety tannins with intense, plum and blackberry fruit. While this international style is practiced by many Bordeaux wine producers, the traditional "Bordeaux style" of Merlot involves harvesting Merlot earlier to maintain acidity and producing more medium-bodied wines with moderate alcohol levels that have fresh, red fruit flavors (raspberries, strawberries) and potentially leafy, vegetal notes.
Vermentino is a light-skinned wine grape variety, primarily found in Italian wine. It is widely planted in both Sardinia and Liguria, to some extent in Corsica, in Piedmont under the name Favorita, and in increasing amounts in Languedoc-Roussillon. The leaves are dark green and pentagonal. The grapes are amber-yellow and hang in pyramidal bunches. The vines are often grown on slopes facing the sea where they can benefit from the additional reflected light. The Vitis International Variety Catalogue now gives Italy as its origin.