2013 Hardscrabble Chardonnay
Starts rich, evolves with density, finishes long.
Toasted sesame seeds, papaya, melon rind.
Grilled salmon, mushroom risotto, roasted chicken.
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 range in age from 4 to 30 years, with an average of 25 years. Yields range between 2 to 4 tons per acre (30 to 60 hl/H).
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; night 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 from September 11 to October 2, 2013.
Grapes were sorted and lightly crushed into the press. Fermentation started in tank, then racked to French oak after a few weeks. Aged in barrel, on lees for 10 months with little stirring to preserve freshness. Aged an additional 4 month on lees in tank. Alcohol 14.0%. Bottled in January 2015. 318 cases produced. This vintage will improve over many years and plateau around 2018 to 2022.