Spring is late this year.
Chardonnay, being our most precocious variety, is the indicator of spring’s progression. No sign of bud swell. A late spring relaxes the sometimes pressured pace of finishing winter pruning and tying. We didn’t feel compelled to go out in the recent bone chilling howling winds. The final pruning of Cabernet (our latest budding variety) can wait for more comfortable conditions. I’ll be writing about this spring as it unfolds with weekly updates in the Hardscrabble Journal.
Vintage 2018 was difficult. We still feel a tinge of worry when big rains are in the forecast. Farmers are a resilient lot, always maintaining a certain cautious optimism at the beginning of the growing season. Romantics reference the Farmer’s Almanac. Meteorologists talk about El Niños and Jet Streams, but we’ve learned that the best way to manage the weather is simply to react as it unfolds. We have no idea as to what kind of vintage 2019 will bring. But we are prepared.
Linden is now open Fridays. Playing hooky from work could be in your future.
Evolution Seminar with Jim Law | April 14
Jim Law will present older library vintages along with some yet to be released wines. The focus will be on how the vines, the wines, and the winegrowers have evolved over 30 years. We’ll taste Linden’s first Cabernet (1987), wines from 30+ year old vines, and Jim’s favorite vintages from over the past 30 years.
Three years ago I started writing about the decision to remove and replant the vines growing on one of Hardscrabble’s best vineyard sites. It is a great site for Cabernet, but the plantings from the 1980s and 90s did not reflect this potential. In 2016 we removed the old vines and trellising. In 2017 manure and lime were spread and the new trellis rows were established. In 2018 the vines were planted.
Over the winter those vines were pruned back to little sticks that were tied to bamboo supports. Each stick will become the vine’s permanent trunk. Later this spring, new shoots will emerge and within a few months this planting will look like a real vineyard. Except there will be no grapes. By hand, we will remove each vine’s clusters. It is too early to allow them to yield. They need to put all their energy into developing strong roots and shoots. Next year maybe.
For those interested in adding more depth to their wine knowledge, Linden’s current cellar tasting is a classic. We are presenting three very different vintages of Hardscrabble Chardonnay, then a terroir comparison of all three single vineyard 2015 reds. 2011 Late Harvest Vidal finishes the tasting.