2007 Claret

Aromas:

Dark berries and raisins, earthy forest floor, cedar, clove and rosemary.

Palate:

Ripe plums, blackberries and dried cherries, smoky graphite with a firm finish.

Food Pairings:

Braised meats, sun-dried tomatoes, and burgers on the grill.

Vineyard:

Hardscrabble Vineyard (60%), 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 23 years. Avenius Vineyard (15%), 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 (25%), 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.

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. Because of the small berries and thick skins, extraction during fermentation was gentle with light punch downs once or twice a day. Harvest was 9/11/07 through 10/17/07.

Winemaking:

Double sorting, native yeast,pigeage. Pressed at dryness. Aged in older French, American Hungarian oak for 20 months. Unfined and unfiltered. 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Cabernet Franc, 19% Merlot 13% Petit Verdot, and 11% Carmenere 472 cases produced. Drink now through 2012.