Linden Update | May 2019
Spring is unfolding nicely. Budbreak was right on time. No frost, and enough (but not too much) rain. Wonderfully normal with no surprises, just what we farmers hope for.
Fortunately, this spring’s excitement is contained to the tasting room. Three new, distinct wines have just been released.
2018 Rosé | Silver Lining
2018 was a difficult vintage due to unrelenting rains during the entire growing season. In order to do well under such circumstances, winegrowers had to undergo a paradigm shift. This was especially true with red grapes. To make a red wine of interest the juice needs to have good concentration and the skins should have ripe flavors and tannins. As the 2018 harvest approached, it became increasingly evident that these parameters were not to be.
Grapes that would have made a thin, bitter red wine have potential to make a fresh, lively rosé. That change in attitude gave us great optimism and renewed energy. The prospect of making a mediocre red wine shifted to making a great rosé. All the red grapes grown in the three Linden vineyard sites contributed to the 2018 Rosé which evolved into a restrained, harmonious, and complex beauty.
I’ve never used these words to describe a rosé. I thought that it would be helpful to be more specific about Linden’s 2018 Rosé:
Subtle red fruit, but not fruity
Herbal, but not vegetal
Stony, but not hard
Light, but not skinny
Bright, but not tart
Firm, but not astringent
This wine also makes me crave food, which is perhaps the greatest of all compliments.
2017 Vintage | “Tension”
We’ve also just released two wines from the much heralded 2017 vintage. “Tension” is the best word to describe this vintage. I’m not referring to the mood during harvest, which was in fact very gentle and easy; I’m referring to the wines. They are wound up, with lots of density, energy and verve. We are tasting both of these wines alongside their 2016 counterparts to show vintage context.
2017 Village Chardonnay | Youthful Exuberance
This Chardonnay comes from all three of the Linden vineyard sites (hence the designation Village), but the majority of the grapes are from Hardscrabble’s new plantings. Wines from young vines drink best in their youth. Drink the 2017 Village Chardonnay while waiting for the older vine single vineyard 2017 Chardonnays to become more integrated. Next year perhaps?
2017 Avenius Sauvignon Blanc | Patience Rewards
As the Avenius Vineyard enters its third decade, its wines have changed. In my early career I listened to European winegrowers espousing the virtues of wines from older vines. I remained agnostic on the subject as Linden only had young vines. I had no basis for comparison. One can’t plant old vines.
Now I understand. Avenius Sauvignon Blanc provided a great example. In the early years the wine was textbook varietal Sauvignon Blanc with all the classic markers of the grape, but not showing a clear path as to its terroir expression. Several vintages ago there was a shift, both in the growth habits of the vines and the intensity of the wine. It took us awhile to realize what was going on. 2017 is the vintage when we intellectually caught up with the vineyard’s maturation. I felt similarly when the Beatles transitioned from “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to “Revolution.” It happened over a period of years, but still caught us off guard.
Linden Evolution Seminars | May 19 and June 2
If you are intrigued by some of the concepts of vintage influences, vine age, and wine development, you may be interested in going deeper. I’ve scheduled two more Evolution Seminars on Sunday, May 19 and Sunday, June 2.
Linden is now open Fridays. Playing hooky from work could be in your future.