The 2011 Late Harvest Vidal is done in an oxidative style with candied orange rind and burnt sugar creme brûlée aromas. The palate is unctuous and viscous with enough acidity to maintain freshness.
Rich, decadent, fatty and salty dishes; or desserts that feature fruits -- especially apricots, peaches, pears or dried fruits. Very ripe triple cream cheeses and sheep cheeses from the Pyrenees and Virginia.
Hardscrabble Vineyard (100%), Fauquier County, on top of the Blue Ridge at an elevation of 1300 feet on a northeastern slope. Deep, well-drained granitic soils and greenstone soils. Vines were planted in 1985 on their own roots.
The majority of the growing season of 2011 was close to perfect with dry, warm conditions all summer. Vines were in good balance with a little water stress by late August. Early ripening grape varieties such as Chardonnay were showing concentrated and expressive flavor profiles. We were ready for our 7th good harvest in a row.
It was not to be. The rains started in late August with the, albeit brief, appearance of the residual rains of Irene. This one event was not a problem. The vines needed some refreshment and the clusters were unaffected. Unfortunately Irene was just the beginning of a series of rain events that lasted through the entire month of September. There was improvement in October. Vidal clusters were affected by botrytis rot and also shriveling. Harvest was November 2, 2011.
100% Vidal, the grapes are frozen and pressed while frozen. Only the first thawed juice is used (AKA icewine). The wine fermented slowly in old French oak. This wine becomes more honeyed with age. Bottled in February 2013. 11.3% alcohol and 130 grams of residual sugar. 36 cases (375 ml) produced.