Journal | September 9, 2016


Hardscrabble Journal

Good Routine and a Good Team

Thursday was a very good, productive crush day. We worked out the kinks on Tuesday which was the first day of crush (a few small lots), so our first big day was wonderfully uneventful. Because we have had no rain, the clusters are totally clean (no rot) and the sorting table ran at a fast rate. We were finished crushing by noon, which was a good thing given how hot it was getting (crush facility is outside, but under cover).

Hardscrabble Sauvignon Blanc (west block) juice is solid with good balance,and moderate intensity. The acidity is in range, but it won’t be as racey as the 2015 vintage. Hardscrabble Semillon reminded me of Chardonnay, in that there was not much character to the juice, but some nice texture. This is only our second harvest of Semillon and I have no idea of what to expect from it. We intend to blend it with Sauvignon. Avenius Chardonnay was the star. Even under hot conditions these old vines on an east facing high elevation hillside retained their trademark mineral acidity. Everyone who tasted the juice was thrilled.

The pressure will be especially intense on Linden’s winemaker Jonathan Weber this vintage as we are picking in small quantities, trying to focus on retaining acidity along with flavor maturity. So many small lots make the cellar a logistical puzzle. It takes as much effort to monitor a fermentaion of one 60 gallon barrel as it does a 1,000 gallon tank. The more we divide up the lot sizes the more work for him.

We have a few extra hands to help out this vintage as Dominick Fioresi is helping with harvest and manning the presses. Dominick was a Linden apprentice in 2009 and 2010, and after working as a winemaker at other Virginia wineries, he and his familly have planted a vineyard a few miles from us. They will be making their own wine in a few years. Because his vines are not yet producing, he has offered to help out this vintage. We also have the assistance of Andrea Baer who is helping and learning. She and her husband Dave have a vineyard also close to Linden Vineyards. Their young vines have just started to yield and we will be teaming up to make their wine here while they build their winery for the 2017 harvest. The winery will be called Capstone. Stay tuned for more updates on Dominick’s and Andrea’s projects.

We at Linden are pleased to have additional quality oriented winegrowers sharing our “zip code”. Back in the 1980’s I was convinced that these mountain slope had great potential. Finally there are other dedicated operations starting up. And they are doing it the right way by focusing first on finding sites with great viticultural potential, thoughtfully planting a vineyard, waiting for the vines to produce, making the wine, and then finally opening a tasting room. This gives me great comfort and lots to look forward to.


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Jim Law