Claret | 2015 | $28
Restrained balance. Medium bodied. Refreshing acidity frames the structure with some background tannins.
Red and black fruits, forest floor, and subtle toast.
Subtle red meat preparations, roast chicken, sun dried tomato dishes.
- Hardscrabble Vineyard (70%), Fauquier Co. on top of the Blue Ridge at 1,300 to 1,400 feet with an eastern to southern slope. Deep, well-drained mineral soils give cherry character and good structure. Vine ages from 3 to 30 years.
- Avenius Vineyard (10%), Warren Co. just 1 mile north of Linden Vineyards at 1,300 feet, contributes good acidity and verve. Vines planted in 1998.
- Boisseau Vineyard (20%), Warren Co. is located on a bluff above Front Royal in the Shenandoah Valley at an elevation of 600 feet. The vineyard is west facing on light, deep, well-drained loam soils. The vines were planted in 2000 and are trained on cordon/VSP trellising.
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 and Cabernet Franc came in balanced with great extract and concentration. However rains in late September forced an early picking of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, much of which lacked the ripeness and concentration of the earlier ripening Merlot and Cabernet Franc. This blend has some weight from the Merlot and Cabernet Franc along with tannin length and acidity from the Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.
Double sorting, moderate fermentation temperatures and extraction by pump overs and punch downs. Total cuvaison about 21 days. Aged in older French oak for 12 months. 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 16% Petit Verdot, and 13% Cabernet Franc. Bottled January 2017. 1,230 cases produced. Drink now through 2021. Alcohol 13.2%.