2012 Petit Verdot
Fresh and concentrated bramble fruits with savory herbal notes. Moderately high acidity and tannins.
crunchy wild blackberry, pomegranate, clove, Earl Grey tea
braised meats, chili, barbecued ribs, or sausages
Hardscrabble Vineyard (75%), 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 25 years.
Boisseau Vineyard (20%), 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 (5%), Warren Co. just 1 mile north of Linden Vineyards at 1,300 feet contributes good acidity and verve. Vines planted in 1998.
Vintage2012 was back to some welcome degree of normalcy after the freakishly hot and dry 2010 and the rain soaked September of 2011. An 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. Flowering was still 2 to 3 weeks early, but occurred under generally favorable conditions and we were looking at a generous crop across varieties.
Mid summer was hot and precipitation was variable. The vines were never water stressed during the summer. Blocks on clay soils experienced luxuriant and to some degree, unwanted rampant growth. 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/October conditions. One day of rain was followed by a week of sun. Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot were a mixed bag, as earlier ripening sites with better drained soils matured before there was too much berry degradation. This was not the case with older vines on heavier soils as clusters began to fall apart before they were totally physiologically ripe. The weather became dry, but cool in October and any grapes left on the vines experienced sugar increases due to dehydration, but phenolic ripening had ceased. Harvest dates for Petit Verdot were September 24 through October 8.
We hand sort before destemming and then again afterwards to remove compromised berries and stem pieces. Fermentation begins by adding a bit of fermenting juice from an actively fermenting bin. Extraction techniques for Petit Verdot are gentler in contrast to Cabernet Sauvignon. Temperatures are cooler, pump overs lees frequent and time on shins is reduced. The wine was aged in older oak barrels and puncheons (French and Hungarian) for 20 months. 81% Petit Verdot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon. and 7% Carmenere. 421 cases produced. Drink through 2019.