2003 Claret

Aromas:

Black raspberries and plums, aged balsamic, pipe tobacco and herbes de Provence.

Palate:

Pine resins, candied blackberry, tapenade and cedar; full bright acidity & gripping tannins.

Food Pairings:

Robust meat dishes with reduction sauces.

Vineyard:

Hardscrabble Vineyard (65%), Fauquier Co. on top of the Blue Ridge at 1,300 to 1,400 feet with an eastern to southern slope. Deep, well-drained mineral soils give cherry character and good structure. Vine ages from 12 to 19 years. Glen Manor Vineyard (25%), Warren Co. is on the western slope of the Blue Ridge about 7 miles west of Linden Vineyards at an elevation of 1,100 feet. The deep, fertile soils give roundness. The vines are 9 years old and trained on the French lyre system. Avenius Vineyard (10%), Warren Co. is just 1 mile north of Linden Vineyards at 1,300 feet contributes good acidity and verve. Vine age is 7 years.

Vintage:

2003 was a difficult vintage both in terms of yields and concentration. As the growing season unfolded, it became evident that in order to ripen our red grapes we would have to greatly reduce yields. This is because of a cool, cloudy summer that slowed vine and fruit development. Severe cluster thinning began in July and continued into September. It was not until October that we experienced some good warm sunny weather. Harvest was from October 20 to November 10, 2003. No single vineyard wines were bottled in 2003. All our best vineyard sites were declassified into this Claret.

Winemaking:

Native yeast, warm fermentation and early pressing give the wine its pretty aromatics and supple texture. Aged in 50% American oak, 20% Hungarian puncheons, and 30% French oak for 19 months. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc, 12% Petit Verdot. 1,040 cases produced.