2007 Hardscrabble


Palate

Sweet red fruit entry, fresh herbs and firm toasty tannins.

Aromas

Red currant, earthy forest floor, cedar and pencil shavings.

Food Pairings

Grilled red meats.

Vineyard

Hardscrabble Vineyard (100%), Fauquier Co. on top of the Blue Ridge at 1,300 to 1,400 feet with an eastern to southern slope. moderately shallow, well drained rocky, mineral soils give depth, structure and length. Vines planted from 1985 to 2006. Older vines planted at a density of 600 to 800 vines per acre. Younger vineyards at 1,500 to 2,000 vines per acre.

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 10/3/07 through 10/17/07.

Winemaking

This is a selection of the best vineyard blocks of Hardscrabble. We hand sort before destemming and then again afterwards to remove pink berries and stem pieces. Fermentation begins naturally (no added yeast) in small one-ton fermenters. Because of the small berries and thick skins, extraction during fermentation was gentle with light punch downs once or twice a day. Pressing took place after about 7 to 10 days, at dryness, except for Cabernet Sauvignon which receive post fermentation maceration. The wine was aged in new and slightly used oak barrels and puncheons (French and Hungarian) for 18 months. Unfined and unfiltered. 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot, 4% Carmenère;. 513 cases produced. Drink now through 2017.