Avenius Chardonnay | 2014 | $38
This is a racy chardonnay showcasing a piercing, electric acidity. It is a terroir-driven wine; restrained and sinewy, but with a solid, dense core.
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. One acre of Chardonnay vines (Dijon clones) were planted in 1996 and are trained on the French lyre trellising system.
Climate is what you plan for and weather is what you get. This is why the somewhat unremarkable 2014 growing season was so good: we got what we planned for.
Every growing season has its personality, and as average as 2014 was, there were three aspects that shaped the character of the wines.
A very long cold winter damaged some vines and delayed spring. A late start to spring can end up as a very late harvest. However, July was beautiful. Dry, warm weather slowed the vines’ vegetative growth. Instead of putting energy into producing more leaves, which will happen in a wet summer, the vines put their energy into ripening the grapes. We knew something good was to happen when veraison occurred sooner (and faster) than expected.
Spring and mid-summer lay the foundation of the vintage, but late August through September determine the style, character and quality of the wines. Harvest was typical of the “cat and mouse” picking strategies that we are all now accustomed to. A few days of sunny delightful weather followed by showers characterized the start of harvest.
Ripening took its time with lower than average sugars and higher than average acids. Under these conditions Chardonnay was the white grape that benefited most, making a linear, precise wine with a very long aging potential.
2014 will be “Old World” in style because of the cooler temperatures and cloudier days. They will be lower in alcohol with some bright acidity. This is a compelling style for the dinner table, but perhaps not for wine writer points. Avenius Chardonnay harvest was September 9, 2014
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 2015. This wine should plateau from 2020 to 2023. 150 cases produced. Alcohol 12.2%