2010 Petit Verdot
Lush, savory, mouth coating, sweet fruit with lots of stuffing, ending in a chalky tannin finish.
Blackberry compote, dried currants, Herbes de Provence and vanilla extract.
Braised meats, chili, venison, lamb souvlaki or chorizo sausage.
Hardscrabble Vineyard (60%), 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 7 to 20 years.
Boisseau Vineyard (30%), 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.
Avenius Vineyard (20%), Warren Co., just 1 mile north of Linden Vineyards at 1,300 feet, contributes good acidity and verve. Vines planted in 1998.
Very hot dry conditions that were to be the hallmark of the entire growing season began in April. Bud break was two weeks early. 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, but some of the young vines struggled to fill the canopy and started to yellow their basal leaves.
The red grapes ripened fully. The biggest concerns were over-ripeness and excessive alcohols. Skin tannins took a while to ripen, so we had to look at the trade off of ripe tannins vs. over mature flavors and high sugars. Seeds were very ripe. Most of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot were still hanging. Fortunately the vines had more or less shut down at this point so there was very little uptake of water (which actually may not have been a bad thing). Petit Verdot skins were compromised, but Cabernet hung well. Red harvest was complete by the first week of October.
We hand sort before destemming and then again afterwards to remove pink berries and stem pieces. Cold soak for 5 days. Fermentation begins naturally in small one ton fermentors. Pump over once or twice a day. Pressing takes place after about 7 to 10 days post fermentation. Total cuvaison about 21 to 24 days. The wine was aged in new and old (neutral) oak barrels and puncheons (French, Hungarian and some Virginia) for 20 months. 83% Petit Verdot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon. and 5% Carmenere. 440 cases produced. Drink now through 2017.