Resinous red raspberry. Dried herbs, cloves, cedar and clay dust.
Grilled damson plums, forest berries with a bright acidity and moderate tannins.
Coq au vin, simple steak on the grill, hamburgers.
Hardscrabble Vineyard (59%), 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 (17%), 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 (20%), Warren Co. is just 1 mile north of Linden Vineyards at 1,300 feet contributes good acidity and verve. Vine age is 7 years. Boisseau Vineyard (4%), Warren Co. is located on a bluff above Front Royal in the Shenandoah Valley at an elevation of 600 feet. The vineyard is west facing on light, deep, well drained loam soils. The vines were planted in 2000 and are trained on cordon/VSP trellising.
2004 can best be categorized as a roller coaster vintage. The growing season was quite good, with a very early flowering due to a hot May, below normal summer temperatures, and a slightly higher than normal rainfall. Mid August through early September was a beautiful window of perfect ripening weather. Low crop levels combined with an early flowering resulted in a very early start of the harvest under ideal conditions. Mid-September was problematic with a series of rains from hurricanes that brought some dilution and berry splitting. Late September through mid October gave us beautiful sunny, dry weather. The reds were able to take advantage of this. There was much fruit desiccation because of splitting and botrytis from the hurricanes, but this seemed only to concentrate, in a good way, as there was no sour rot or off flavors. The vintage reminds us of 1999, which produced wines with silky tannins, generous fruit and medium body. Harvest for Claret was from October 7 to October 20, 2004.
Double sorting, native yeast, warm fermentation and early pressing give the wine its pretty aromatics and supple texture. Aged in older French, American Hungarian oak for 22 months. 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Petit Verdot,13% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc. 655 cases produced. Drink now through 2010.