2011 Hardscrabble Chardonnay
Classic Hardscrabble Chardonnay nose of wet stones, tart apples, and white flowers.
Medium bodied and dry with some exotic dried white fruit and crisp, cleansing citrus acidity.
2011 is a seafood vintage. Its bright acidity and lower alcohol (13.1%) pairs well with most fish and shellfish.
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 were planted in 1985, 1988, and 1994. Yields average 3 tons per acre (45 hl/H).
The majority of the growing season of 2011 was close to perfect with dry, warm conditions all summer. Vines were in good balance with a little water stress by late August. Early ripening grape varieties such as Chardonnay were showing concentrated and expressive flavor profiles. We were ready for our 7th good harvest in a row.
It was not to be. The rains started in late August with the, albeit brief, appearance of the residual rains of Irene. This one event was not a problem. The vines needed some refreshment and the clusters were unaffected. Unfortunately Irene was just the beginning of a series of rain events that lasted through the entire month of September.The Hardscrabble Chardonnay was fairly heavily affected by botrytis. Fortunately, because of the cooler temperatures, there was very little sour rot. We allowed the botrytis to develop and did not sort it out. This is what gives the 2011 a more exotic palate than is typical. Harvest was September 16, 2011.
Grapes were sorted and lightly crushed into the press. Winemaking was cautious and erring on the safe side: no native fermentations, and no new oak. Aged on lees for 10 months with little stirring to preserve freshness. Bottled in August 2012. 221 cases produced. This vintage will improve over several years and plateau around 2015 to 2017.