2013 Avenius Chardonnay
“Restrained scents of moist clay, spring leaves, parsley and anise, with a pungent, cascading palate: fine-grained, vinous, structured and sinewy. Perfectly ripe yet mouthwateringly fresh Chardonnay like this is rare outside of France.”
– Andrew Jeffords, Decanter Magazine.
Dances on the palate, precise and terroir-driven with a long, bright green apple finish.
Petricor, fresh herbs and white flowers.
Traditional French cream-based seafood dishes. Oysters on the half shell, or smoked trout.
Avenius Vineyard is owned and operated by Shari Avenius, who is also Linden Vineyard’s director. It is located on the Blue Ridge one half mile north of Linden Vineyards at an elevation of 1,300 feet on a steep northeast facing slope. Soils are well-drained rocky greenstone and slate. The Chardonnay vines were planted in 1996 and are trained on the French lyre trellising system.
2013 was a difficult growing season that metamorphosed into a fabulous fall harvest. Bud break was very late. Most of the summer was wet, resulting in unruly vegetative growth and extra vineyard work. August continued this pattern until the last week when the weather broke. Every vintage has its personality. Much like raising children, some vintages are easy, but most are not. Wet vintages require more intervention and guidance as the vines, through no fault of their own, take on a bit of a wild streak. Ample water availability during the growing season makes vines unruly, like kids fed too much sugary junk food. This was the case for the growing season of 2013. Until September.
September defines the quality and style of the wine. The bad behavior of the previous six months can be easily forgiven and forgotten if September is bright and sunny. September 2013 rewarded us for all our diligence during the growing season. The wild child of summer finally found a niche and thrived into early adulthood. With the exception of one very brief rain shower, we had no rain in September. This is quite remarkable in the mid Atlantic. In autumn, dusty gravel roads and brown grass gladden the winemaker’s heart. Days were warm and sunny; nights were very cool. Ripening was slow, preserving very fresh acidity and aromatics. 2013 grapes stylistically were exactly what we wanted: moderate sugars, high acids, and loads of minerality. Harvest was September 13, 2013.
The chilled grapes were sorted, pressed, juice settled and then barrel fermented in older French oak barrels and 500 liter puncheons . No malolactic fermentations. Aged sur lie in barrel for 10 months. Bottled August 2014. This wine should plateau from 2019 to 2022. 107 cases produced. 13.7% alcohol.