This is a very special Village Chardonnay. The 2017 growing season gave us ideal ripening conditions and Hardscrabble's young vines had enough size to them to begin to produce significant yields. Therefor Hardscrabble's terroir markers contribute to the overall impression of this wine. The beauty of this wine is in its harmony, complexity, and balance.
Dishes with restrained flavors, but rich textures. Classic old-school European dishes come to mind such as cream based fish or poultry or anything "en croute". Lemon roasted chicken or grilled salmon would work equally as well.
Hardscrabble Vineyard (80%), Fauquier Co. on top of the Blue Ridge at 1,300 to 1,400 feet with an eastern to southern slope. Deep, well-drained mineral soils give acidity and good structure. Vines planted in 1985, 1988, 1994 and 2010, 2014 and 2016. VSP and French Lyre training systems.
Boisseau Vineyard (15%), Warren Co. is located on a bluff above Front Royal in the Shenandoah Valley at an elevation of 600 feet. The vineyard is west facing on light, deep, well drained loam soils. The vines were planted in 2000 and are trained on cordon/VSP trellising.
Avenius Vineyard (5%), Warren Co. is just 1 mile north of Linden Vineyards at 1,300 feet contributes good acidity and verve. Vines planted in 1996.
June and July were very dry. Shoot growth was less than normal with very little hedging needed. Young vines and less water retentive soils showed some drought stress. We needed rain, but perhaps not the 3.5 inches that fell over a few hours on August 11. The rest of August was uneventful allowing clusters to lose some compactness.
A forecast can sometimes become confused with reality. The beginning of harvest is best remembered by the threats of Harvey, Irma, Maria and Jose. They were no shows, with little affect on quality. In spite of dire warnings of doom and gloom, September turned out to be a glorious month to ripen grapes. Chardonnay harvest began early on September 4 with the youngest vines and continued until September 21.
Chilled grapes were sorted, pressed, juice settled and then barrel fermented warm (70's F) in old, neutral French oak. No malolactic fermentation. Aged sur lie in barrel for 10 months. The 2017 Village Chardonnay is a blend of mostly declassified Hardscrabble barrels along with press juice from all three vineyard sites. 5,010 bottles produced. This wine will improve in the bottle for many years past vintage. Alcohol 13.2%.