2009 Petit Verdot
Brooding and earthy with suggestions of black currant and eucalyptus. A very focused wine with assertive tannins.
Heady aromas of dried fig, clay, forest floor, smoked meat and herbs.
Red meats that are assertive and/or well seasoned.
Hardscrabble Vineyard (80%), 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 tannin structure. Vine ages from 3 to 20 years.
Avenius Vineyard (10%), 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. Boisseau contributes “fat’”to the blend. The vines were planted in 2000 and are trained on cordon/VSP trellising.
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; again reinforcing the adage “it ain’t over until the fat lady sings”.
May and early June were dreary, cool and damp. Flowering was from early to mid-June. Weather conditions had improved slightly and concerns of poor fruit set were largely unfounded, with the exception of vines on more vigorous soils. However, flowering was prolonged due to cooler temperatures. This resulted in uneven berry development within clusters and was feared to be the Achilles heel for the red grape crop.
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. It was obvious at veraison that it would be a late season and that Petit Verdot could experience uneven ripening. As a result, green harvest at 80% veraison was ruthless.
“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. Petit Verdot still required judicious work in the vineyard, meticulous sorting at the crush pad, and draconian declassification of weaker lots in the cellar. Harvest was October 8 through 22, 2009.
We hand sort before destemming and then again afterwards to remove pink berries and stem pieces. Fermentation begins naturally in small one ton fermentors. A combination of pigeage and pumping over is used during fermentation. Total cuvaison about 28 days. Aged in older French, American, and Hungarian oak for 20 months. 92% Petit Verdot and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. 1,805 bottles produced. Drink 2013 through 2017.