Very structured Claret with bright acidity and a coco powder tannin grip.
Forest floor and wild blackberries.
Grilled meats, barbecue, pasta.
Hardscrabble Vineyard (70%), 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 structure. Vine ages from 3 to 25 years.
Avenius Vineyard (15%), Warren Co. just one mile north of Linden Vineyards at 1,300 feet, contributes good acidity and verve. Vines planted in 1998.
Boisseau Vineyard (15%), 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.
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.
Merlot and Cabernet Franc were able to take full advantage of September’s gift, ripening fully before the rains that began on October 10. With the exception of early ripening Boisseau Vineyard (already picked), the Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot had to be rushed in before the rains did too much damage. The resulting red wines have fresh acidity and a good core. They will be good candidates for aging. Harvest started with Merlot on September 27 and ended with Cabernet sauvignon and Petit Verdot on October 16 2013.
Double sorting, moderate fermentation temperatures and extraction. Total cuvaison about 14 days. Aged in older French and Hungarian oak for 12 months. 54% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Petit Verdot. 13.9% alc. 358 cases produced. Drink now through 2019.