Curran Alexander Vineyards is located in the southern end of North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley AVA. We grow European varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio.
The vineyards, which are 800 to 810 feet above sea level, are planted in Cecil sandy clay loam soil. The sand in the soil allows for excellent drainage, which is particularly important when rain is too plentiful. Clay in the soil provides water for our vines during dry periods, as well as increases the complexity of the flavors and aromas of our wines.
Hot summer days and moderate nights help to ripen the grapes to perfection.
We planted our first Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in 2001 and our second in 2005. Cabernet Sauvignon is our latest ripening grape but the loose clusters and thick skins of our chosen clone (French clone 337) helps to ward off diseases that can occur during the long growing season.
In milder years our Cabernet Sauvignon fruit produces flavors and aromas of red fruits (red cherries, red currant, and red plum) and spices while in hot dry years it produces flavors and aromas of dark fruit (black cherry, black currrant, black plum), cedar, menthol, and graphite. In all years our Cabernet Sauvignon also provides structure in the form of acidity and tannins.
We planted our Cabernet Franc vineyard in 2001 (French clone 332). Since then it has been a consistent producer of quality fruit.
Our Cabernet Franc fruit typically produces flavors and aromas of red fruits (strawberries, red plums and raspberries), roasted peppers, and pepper, but in hot dry years it produces blackfruit aromas and flavors and bold tannins.
We planted our first Merlot vineyard in 2005 and second in 2009. We chose French clone 181 due to its relatively loose clusters and small berry size (for their part, the loose clusters improve disease resistance and the small berry size increases skin contact during wine fermentation, which can improve wine color and flavor).
In milder years our Merlot fruit produces flavors and aromas of red fruits (red cherries, red plums, and cranberries) and spice while in hot dry years it produces blackfruit aromas and flavors.
Merlot is our earliest ripening red grape so it often achieves fuller ripeness than Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc during cooler growing seasons. As such, it is especially valuable in our red blends (Meritage, etc.).
We planted our Pinot Gris/Grigio vineyard on the cooler north facing slopes of the property in 2009. The soil in this section of the vineyard contains granite pebbles throughout, which improves drainage and adds to the character of the wine. Our pinot grigio wines typically display rich apple, pear, and tropical fruit flavors, while maintaining vibrant acidity.