2010 Hardscrabble Chardonnay
Tasting Notes, November 2018
Aroma has subtle orange zest, hazelnut, crushed oyster shells and Honey-crisp apple.
The wine enters sweet with a big, juicy mid-palate volume. Finish trails off. Not as persistent as cooler vintage bottlings. Drink now. Some bottle to bottle variation.
Creamy and lush mid-palate, then gathers together for some length and grip from acidity and oak tannins. A very different Hardscrabble Chardonnay reflective of the vintage.
Ripe pears and golden delicious apples. Vanilla and slightly smokey.
Roasted chicken, lobster and cream based soups.
Hardscrabble Vineyard (100%), Fauquier Co. on top of the Blue Ridge at 1,300 to 1,400 feet with an eastern to southern slope. Deep, well drained rocky, mineral soils give depth, structure and length. Chardonnay vines age from 16 to 26 years. Yields average 3 tons per acre (45 hl/H).
Very hot dry conditions that were to be the hallmark of the entire growing season began in April. Bud break was two weeks early. Flowering was almost three weeks early with hot dry conditions continuing. Fruit set was good. Dry conditions reduced shoot growth, so only one light hedging was needed. Leaf pulling was kept to a minimum to avoid excess sun and heat on the clusters. Weed control and mowing was more meticulous than usual in order to reduce water competition with the vines. Fungicide sprays were minimal and terminated in July. A few critical rains in August prevented the vines from serious drought stress. Harvest was 3 weeks earlier than normal. As with most of the white wine grapes, the sugars were high, acids low, flavors good. Grapes were very clean and healthy. The concern was that there was a lack of freshness and verve in the juice due to ripening under hot conditions. Harvest was September 6 and 8, 2010.
Grapes were sorted and lightly crushed into the press. Only free run juice from two distinct vineyard blocks were used. Both cultured and native yeast. No malolactic fermentations. Barrel fermented in new to four year old French oak barrels. Aged on lees for 10 months without stirring to preserve freshness. Bottled in August 2011. 203 cases produced. This vintage will improve over several years and plateau around 2014 to 2016.