Hardscrabble Chardonnay | 2016 | $42
Classic Hardscrabble Chardonnay nose, but the typical Granny Smith apple becomes more Golden Delicious reflecting the characteristics of a warmer, riper vintage. The mid-palate is very generous with a creamy texture and moderate acidity, allowing the wine to be enjoyed while relatively young.
roasted chicken, roasted vegetables, 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 32 years, with and average of 25 years. Yields range between 2 to 4 tons per acre (30 to 60 hl/H).
somewhat uneventful winter gave way to a warm, dry March that stimulated an early bud swell. 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. Heavy thundershowers in early August stimulated some vines in more clay-based soils, but vineyard blocks in low water holding capacity soils remained in balance.
The rest of August through most of September was very dry. September was uncommonly warm, including nighttime temperatures. Acids dropped faster than normal. Harvest was September 13 through 16, 2016.
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 no stirring (to preserve freshness). About 20% new oak. Aged an additional 4 months on lees in tank. Alcohol 12.9 %. Bottled in March 2018. 265 cases produced. This vintage will improve over several years and plateau around 2020 to 2022.