A return to more classic new world chardonnay with apple and vanilla aromas. The 2012 still retains some Linden reductive straw/seashell notes.
Enters with some weight and sweet fruit, then gathers up to become focused with moderate acidity and a bit of tannin on the finish. Sur lie character and mineral notes give the wine personality.
Simple roast chicken, sautéed mushrooms or grilled salmon.
Hardscrabble Vineyard (45%), 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 acidity and good structure. Vines planted in 1985, 1988 and 1994. VSP and French Lyre training systems.
Avenius Vineyard (45%), Warren Co. is 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. The vines were planted in 2000 and are trained on cordon/VSP trellising.
An extremely mild and dry winter gave us bud break a record 3 to 4 weeks earlier than average. Frost was our biggest concern, but the mild winter continued into spring resulting in a frost-free season. A dry, warm April and May was welcomed by older vines, but concerning to young plantings. Mid summer was hot and precipitation was variable. The vines were never water stressed during the summer. August is usually the time we have finished our work in the vineyard and head back to the cellar. In 2012 tropical conditions in August beckoned us back to the vineyard to pull more leaves around bunches, aerating the cluster zones as a precaution against rot. Ultimately, clusters were healthy, but berry size was large.
Harvest began about 10 days early under typical September conditions. One day of rain was followed by a week of sun. Chardonnay was harvested with refreshingly low sugars (potential alcohols in the 12% range), moderate acidities, and good aromatics.
Chilled grapes were sorted, pressed, juice settled and then barrel fermented in older French oak. No malolactic fermentation. Aged sur lie in barrel for 10 months. This 2012 Linden Chardonnay is primarily comprised of the Avenius Chardonnay and some declassified Hardscrabble Chardonnay barrels. 342 cases produced. This wine will improve in the bottle for 4 or more years past vintage.