Avenius Red | 2015 | $45
2015 is a terroir vintage. The essence of the site is front and center in both the aroma and the palate. The aroma is stony with cool red fruits (currants especially) and a graphite/iron background. Structurally this wine is very dense and sinewy, but with little fat. Both acidity and tannins contribute to length and freshness. A very precise, confident wine that knows who she is and doesn't need make up or fabric for enhancement.
Avenius Vineyard (100%), Warren Co. is just 1 mile north of Linden Vineyards at 1,300 feet elevation with an eastern slope. Soils are primarily greenstone. Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot were planted in 1998. Merlot was planted in 2007 and 2012. This cool site retains red fruit character and a strong acidity that rewards aging.
With a few caveats, 2015 was an excellent year for both white and red wines. The winter of 2014/15 was colder than average, but unlike the winter of 2013/14, there was no vine or bud damage. Bud break was slightly late. May was unusually dry and consequentially accelerated growth and flowering. Right around flowering June turned very wet, however pollination and berry set was successful, as temperatures remained warm.
Wet spells continued into July and we were bracing ourselves for a possible negative impact on wine quality. The rains stopped in mid-July, but shoot growth continued into early August which is later than ideal. With a very dry August, vine growth stopped and vines were in good balance going into harvest.
September gave us ideal conditions for ripening. Threats of rain never came to fruition. Harvest was compressed with never a day off. Merlot came in balanced with great extract and concentration. Rains in late September initiated an early picking of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. This blend gets some weight from the Merlot. Tannin length, acidity and overall structure comes from the Cabernet Sauvignon. Petit Verdot contributes a bit of spice. Harvest was September 23 (Merlot) and September 29 (Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot).
Sorted and destemmed. Fermented warm with gentle pump-overs early and then punch downs once the cap formed. Pressing took place after about 14 to 18 days, at dryness. The wine was aged in mostly once used French oak barrels with a small percentage of new oak for 20 months. Unfined. 46% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 8% Petit Verdot. 191 cases produced. Alcohol 13.4%. Drink now through 2027.