Hardscrabble Chardonnay | 2015 | $42
Dense and complex with good acidity and some lingering tannins in the finish. A wine to age.
Ripe Golden Delicious apples, roasted almonds and nutmeg.
Roasted chicken, fall dishes, mushrooms.
Hardscrabble Vineyard (100%), Fauquier Co. on top of the Blue Ridge at 1,300 to 1,400 feet with an eastern to southern slope. Deep, well-drained, rocky, mineral soils give depth, structure and length. Chardonnay vines range in age from 4 to 31 years, with an average of 25 years. Yields range between 2 to 4 tons per acre (30 to 60 hl/H).
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. The Chardonnay came in balanced with great extract, acidity, and concentration under slow ripening, cool conditions. Harvest was from September 5 to September 19, 2015.
Grapes were sorted and lightly crushed into the press. Fermentation starts in tank, then racked to French oak after a week. Aged in barrel, on lees for 10 months with little stirring to preserve freshness. About 20% new oak. Aged an additional 4 months on lees in tank. Alcohol 13.4 %. Bottled in January 2017. 521 cases produced. This vintage will improve over many years and plateau around 2020 to 2025.