2009 Avenius Sauvignon Blanc
Fresh lemon, herbaceous and mineral stoniness.
Good palate weight, sap, length and acidity.
Mussels in herb/lemon sauce, freshwater fish, or fresh goat cheese.
Avenius Vineyard is owned and operated by Shari Avenius, who is also Linden Vineyard’s director. It is located on the Blue Ridge one half mile north of Linden Vineyards at an elevation of 1,300 feet on a steep northeast facing slope. Soils are well-drained rocky greenstone and shale. The vines were planted in 1996 and are trained on the French lyre trellising system. Yields in 2009 were 3 tons per acre or 45 hl/H.
I can best categorize the 2009 growing season at Linden as “uncommonly lucky”. It was a vintage that started as alarmingly awful and ended spectacularly sweet. May and early June were dreary, cool and damp. As the summer progressed, weather conditions improved. The remainder of June was manageable, July was typical with only the occasional thunderstorm and August was dry, but cooler than normal.
“Uncommonly lucky” refers to an amazingly dry stretch during harvest. Northern Virginia was spared from the significant rains that soaked areas to the north, east, south and west. It was a great vintage for Sauvignon Blanc with bracing mineral acidity, good textural balance and ripe flavor profiles. Harvest was September 15 and 21, 2009.
The goal of winemaking with Sauvignon Blanc is to retain the fresh, wild, pungent character of the grape, but also showcasing textural weight and complexity that comes from the Avenius site. The chilled grapes are sorted, destemmed, lightly crushed and pressed and then the juice is allowed to settle overnight. VL3 and VIN13 yeast (two different lots) start fermentation immediately. The wine ferments for about 30 days at 60F in a stainless steel tank and one year old French oak barrels. The wine is aged on its lees with occasional stirring. Bottled in February 2010. 204 cases produced (both 750 and 375ml bottles). The 2009 Avenius Sauvignon Blanc is very fruit forward when young, but will gain texture and complexity with a year or two of bottle age.