2012 Hardscrabble Chardonnay
Medium bodied and dry with a very long, somewhat bracing stone dust acidity.
Classic Hardscrabble Chardonnay nose of wet stones, tart apples, and white flowers
2012 is a seafood vintage. Its bright acidity and lower alcohol (13.1%) pairs well with most rich 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).
VintageAn extremely mild and dry winter gave us bud break a record 3 to 4 weeks earlier than average. Frost 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. Hardscrabble Chardonnay was harvested on September 12 with refreshingly low sugars , high acidity and tart fruit aromatics.
Grapes were sorted and lightly crushed into the press. Fermentation started is tank, then racked to French oak after a few weeks. Aged in barrel, on lees for 10 months with little stirring to preserve freshness. Alcohol 13.1%. Bottled in August 2013. 392 cases produced. This vintage will improve over many years and plateau around 2017 to 2020.