2008 Linden Chardonnay
Very viscous and rich with toasty vanilla oak, candied citrus rind and a firm acidity.
Honey, crisp apple, ripe melon, butterscotch and nutmeg on the nose.
Mushrooms, winter squash, roasted chicken.
Hardscrabble Vineyard (75%), 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 acidity and good structure. Vine ages from 14 to 23 years. VSP and French Lyre training systems.
Avenius Vineyard (15%), Warren Co., just 1 mile north of Linden Vineyards at 1,300 feet contributes good acidity and verve. Vines planted in 1998.
Boisseau Vineyard (10%), 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.
The 2008 growing season at Linden Vineyards was one of great challenges and windows of opportunities. As winegrowers, we had to often reflect on past experiences to pull off what has turned out to be a good year in terms of overall quality.
Summer was wetter than normal, but each month progressively became hotter and drier. Most of August was a drought, putting a much needed halt to vine vegetative growth. Very late August through most of September alternated between 2 or 3 days of rain and 4 or 5 days of sunny, warm conditions. October was gloriously dry, sunny and warm.
In the vineyard, because of the wetter than normal conditions, canopy and cover crop management required much precision and labor. Leaf pulling severity was much more extreme than 2007. Cover crops were allowed to grow in order to compete with the vines and slow vegetative growth. While a dry August kept berry size relatively small, the rains of September caused some Botrytis rot in most of the white varieties and Merlot. Fortunately the rot was mostly of ‘good quality’ (very little sour rot), but sorting was a major task in 2008. Natural acidities were quite high. White wines from 2008 will be very mineral driven (similar to 2006) with bright acidity, low to moderate alcohols, and botrytis influenced exotic aromas.
Chilled grapes were sorted, pressed, juice settled and then barrel fermented in both new and older French oak. Partial malolactic fermentation. Aged sur lie in barrel for 10 months. This 2008 Linden Chardonnay is comprised of declassified Hardscrabble Chardonnay barrels along with press wine. 242 cases produced. This wine will improve in the bottle for several years.