2007 Avenius

[tasted December 2016: nose: dark fruit compote, toasty oak, very ripe. Palate: lots of volume and sweet fruit. Plush and lush with good structure. Drink now. (JL)]

Aromas:

Brooding black, red and dried fruit with a slight sur maturité. Violets and rose petals. Dark chocolate and herbs.

Palate:

Warm, dark, lush, fleshy, and hedonistic with a refreshing acidity and ripe tannins.

Food Pairings:

Spicy barbecued ribs or leg of lamb.

Vineyard:

Avenius Vineyard (100%), Warren Co. is just 1 mile north of Linden Vineyards at 1,300 feet elevation with an eastern slope. Soils are primarily greenstone. Petit Verdot is on Geneva Double Curtain training and Cabernet Sauvignon is trained to Lyre. Vines planted in 1998.

Vintage:

2007 was an outstanding year for reds. Spring, and in fact the entire growing season, was very dry, with slightly above average temperatures. There was enough rain to keep the vines healthy, however it became apparent the crop levels needed to be thinned down early as shoot growth was slow with short internode lengths. Most vineyard blocks ceased shoot tip development before veraison. It was at this point that we knew that 2007 was to be a potentially special vintage. A two inch rain on in the third week of August was beneficially refreshing. A three day cold snap in mid September led us to begin pulling more leaves in the reds in order to get more warm sun on the clusters, but October continued the trend of warm, dry conditions. There were some concerns about excessive sun exposure on the recently exposed clusters, but the sun was low enough in the sky to avoid sun burning. Red grapes were harvested during the first three weeks of October under near perfect conditions. Picking decisions were difficult in the sense that our hand was never forced by the threat of rain. As our West Coast colleagues see on a regular basis, sugar accumulation outpaced skin and seed tannin maturity. Most reds were ultimately harvested with very high sugars (25 to 26 brix), which makes us nervous about high alcohol in the wines. Yields were low, averaging 2 to 2.5 tons per acre, but quality was beyond anything I have seen in 28 harvests. Harvest was 10/5/07 through 10/17/07.

Winemaking:

We hand sort before destemming and then again afterwards to remove pink berries and stem pieces. Fermentation began naturally (no added yeasts) 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 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. 62% Petit Verdot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon. 285 cases produced. Drink now through 2016.