2006 Petit Verdot
Spicy rosemary and sage and freshly ground black peppers. Blueberries and red plums. Earthy tobacco.
This is a very focused wine. A refreshing wild blackberry and roasted coffee bean entry evolves into a bright, racy lively acidity and a long griping finish.
Grilled lamb or beef. Spicy south Asian meat dishes.
Hardscrabble Vineyard (85%), 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 3 to 20 years. Avenius Vineyard (10%), Warren Co. is just 1 mile north of Linden Vineyards at 1,300 feet contributes good acidity and verve. Vines planted in 1998. Boisseau Vineyard (5%), 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. Boisseau contributes ‘fat’ to the blend. The vines were planted in 2000 and are trained on cordon/VSP trellising.
2006 was a good year at Linden. I would have to characterize the vintage as “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 red grapes ripened fully with good balance. They were by no means overripe. They were “crunchy”, red fruit, ripe. There was some dilution with late rains, which resulted in significant bleeding of the juice at crush. Dry, low vigor spring conditions led to a very large fruit set and a potential enormous crop. Late June gave us a deluge of rain, rejuvenating vine growth and worrying growers about disease. July and August went back to being dry and hot. As a result, vines stopped their growth earlier than normal, which is what probably made the vintage for us. It confirmed to me the importance of vine balance and having the shoot tips cease growth at veraison. Green harvest took place for the reds in early to mid-August. 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 and October 2006 as the great obstacle course, with alternating sun and rain. This pushed back ripening of the reds, but because of more rigorous crop thinning, our harvest dates were normal. Crop levels seemed to have had a large impact on red wine quality in 2006. Harvest was 10/16/06 through 10/24/06.
We hand sort before destemming and then again afterwards to remove pink berries and stem pieces. Fermentation begins naturally in small one ton fermentors. We punch down by hand once or twice per day. Pressing takes place after about 7 to 10 days, usually well before fermentations are complete. The wine was aged in new and old (neutral) oak barrels and puncheons (French and Hungarian) for 18 months. Unfined and unfiltered. 80% Petit Verdot, 20% Cabernet Franc. 424 cases produced. Drink now through 2014.