2016 Linden Rosé
Dry, ripe, lush, weighty, finishes long and persistent with moderate acidity and some tannin.
Watermelon, Mandarin orange.
A good wine for picnics or al fresco dining. Cold meats, cold seafood, smoked fish, and tabouleh all work well.
Hardscrabble (55%): the estate vineyard on the Blue Ridge at 1,300 to 1,400 feet with an eastern to southern slope. Deep, well-drained granite soils give cherry character and good structure. Vine ages from 3 to 31 years.
Boisseau (40%): Western facing with loamy soils, it is in the Shenandoah Valley in the town of Front Royal, about 6 miles from Linden.
Avenius Vineyard (5%) is located on the Blue Ridge one-half mile north of Linden Vineyards at an elevation of 1,300 feet on a steep east facing slope. Soils are well drained, rocky, greenstone and granite.
A somewhat uneventful winter gave way to a warm, dry March that stimulated an early bud swell. Late April through most of May was very wet and cloudy. The vines did not look healthy with pale green leaves, slow shoot development and a fair amount of phomopsis scars. The wet weather pattern broke in late May and flowering was very successful under ideal conditions. Varietal flowering was compressed with 50% bloom for Chardonnay being June 5 and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon on June 11. The rest of June and early July was typical with occasional thunderstorms. By late July we saw browning grass and cessation of new growth, always a welcome sign. Heavy thundershowers in early August stimulated some vines in more clay-based soils, but vineyard blocks in low water holding capacity soils remained in balance.
The rest of August through most of September was very dry. September was uncommonly warm, including nighttime temperatures. This resulted in fast ripening and low acidities in white-fruited varieties. Younger vines started to shut down, but older vines with deeper roots did fine. The warmer Boisseau site suffered the most, as red-fruited varieties did not color up well and lacked phenolic integrity. However the cooler, higher elevation Avenius and Hardscrabble sites did exceptionally well and gave us some of the ripest, concentrated red grapes since 2010. A very significant rain on September 29 brought an end to a great harvest stretch. We harvested 80% of our red grapes in less than a week. Fortunately we had picked all of our best blocks with only some lesser parcels of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon left to take the rain hit. They were picked just a few days later. Several blocks or sections of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot were dedicated to Rosé production in 2016.
The blend is 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. This vintage’s Rosé came from red grapes dedicated for Rosé. The red grapes were crushed and pressed immediately (vin gris). Aged sur lie in older 500 liter and 225 liter oak barrels, a 600-liter concrete egg and a stainless steel tank. 390 cases were bottled in January 2017. The alcohol is 12.5%.