2006 Avenius Chardonnay


Fragrant spring flowers and spiced green apples with toasted almonds and malt in the background. Very Burgundian.


Silky entry, then sinewy and racy. Stone fruits and yellow grapefruit. Focused minerality and slightly saline.

Food Pairings:

Lean fish and simply prepared fresh shellfish.


Avenius Vineyard is owned and operated by Shari Avenius, who is also Linden Vineyard’s director. It is located on the Blue Ridge one half mile north of Linden Vineyards at an elevation of 1,300 feet on a steep northeast facing slope. Soils are well-drained rocky greenstone and slate. The Chardonnay vines were planted in 1996 and are trained on the French lyre trellising system.


The vintage was “classic” in that the growing season was about as close to typical as is possible. There were substantial swings in temperature and rainfall during the summer, but in fact, this is normal for Virginia. The 2006 Avenius Chardonnay shows the most minerality since 1999. A dry spring and summer reduced vine vigor. By late August we were in the unusual position of hoping for rain just before harvest, as young and swallow rooted vines were showing water stress. We got more than we had hoped for in the form of Ernesto and 4.5″ of rainfall. Very fortunately, there was no berry splitting or rot, but there was some dilution. I refer to September 2006 as the great obstacle course, with alternating sun and rain. The September 12 harvest was earlier than normal.


The chilled grapes were sorted, pressed, juice settled and then barrel fermented in older French oak. No malolactic fermentations. Aged sur lie in barrel for 10 months. 186 cases produced. The 2006 vintage is showing well when young, however it should age even more gracefully than the esteemed 1999 Avenius Chardonnay.