Hardscrabble Red | 2015 | $50
Dense and intense, dry and mouth coating with considerable length.
Brooding dark bramble fruit.
Steak on the grill duck breast with a reduction sauce.
Hardscrabble Vineyard (100%), Fauquier Co. on top of the Blue Ridge at 1,200 to 1,400 feet with an eastern to southern slope. moderately shallow, well drained rocky, mineral soils give depth, structure and length. Vines planted from 1985 to 2011. Older vines planted at a density of 600 to 800 vines per acre. Younger vineyards at 1,500 to 2,500 vines per acre.
With a few caveats, 2015 was an excellent year for red wine grapes. 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 weight from an unusually high percentage of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Tannin length and acidity from the ripest blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon give structure. No Petit Verdot made it into the blend. Harvest was from September 22 (Merlot) until October 6 (Cabernet Sauvignon).
This is a selection of the best vineyard blocks at Hardscrabble. Saignée was used judiciously, usually in the 5 to 10% range for fear of over emphasizing tannins. Extractions were moderate with more focus on early timing of pump overs and later punch downs. Fermentation temperatures were kept cooler than normal, rarely peaking above 27C (80F). Post fermentation maceration temperatures and lengths were average in length. The wine was aged in new (50%) and slightly used French oak barrels for 21 months. Bottled August of 2017. 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 19% Cabernet Franc. 13.4% alc. Drink 2018 through 2023. 321 cases produced.