Avenius Sauvignon Blanc | 2016 | $36
This is a very adult Sauvignon: both graceful and generous, it is more site-driven than varietal. The warmer 2016 vintage is respected with the wine’s big mid-palate weight, but the classic Avenius acidity and nervosité persists.
Shellfish in cream sauce, smoked fish, and salad Niçoise.
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 the winery at an elevation of 1,300 feet on a steep northeast facing slope. Soils are well-drained rocky greenstone and shale. The vines were planted in 1996 and are trained on the French lyre trellising system. Clone is unknown. Yields in 2016 were a healthy 3 tons per acre or 45 hl/H. Over the last four years much effort has been made to get these older vines back in balance. Changes in pruning, cropping, manuring, and tilling have given us encouraging results.
2016 was a good year for white wines. A somewhat uneventful winter gave way to a warm, dry March that stimulated an early bud swell. With the cool weather, vine development slowed and bud break for chardonnay was its average April 20 date. 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. 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.
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. However the cooler, higher elevation Avenius site did exceptionally well.
Some of the white wines are very fruit forward with lots of mid-palate weight, and in some cases lacking the length and energy of Linden’s trademark style, but the cooler, old vine Avenius Vineyard being a significant exception. Harvest was September 9 and 12, 2016.
The goal of winemaking with Avenius Sauvignon Blanc is to showcase textural weight and complexity that comes from the cool Avenius site. The chilled grapes are sorted, destemmed, lightly crushed and pressed and then the juice is allowed to settle overnight. VL3 yeast starts fermentation immediately. The wine fermented for about 30 days at 64F in tank. The wine was aged on lees for 7 months. Bottled in May 2017. Alcohol is 14.1%. 274 cases produced.