Monday, October 22, 2012

Linden Vineyards

Look at This Day!
Ann and I love fall more than any other season: the crisp nights, warm days, and beautiful scenery make it our season. Our first date was in the fall and we got married in the fall. Something about fall speaks to us and it may be the complicated juxtaposition of warm and happy days against the hints of the cold and wet days to come. Or it just may be that it is the season that lets us both sit outside and drink red wine to ward off the chill. Or I could be waxing way too philosophic for a mere blog post.

Sunday the 21st was an archetypal fall day: the trees were nearing peak color, a hint of crispness sneaked into the air while the sunshine was warm and generous, and above all, the sky was the blue that all skies should be and that every landscape painter dreams of, dotted with puffy white clouds. It was against this glorious backdrop that we met Steve Wright at Linden Vineyards, our first visit since the late spring and Steve's first visit ever. We were glad to help Steve in his quest to visit every Virginia winery, especially the winery that we think is the best on the East Coast.


Because Steve had never been to Linden, we decided to do the cellar tasting which is always interesting, comparing two wines side by side. First up was the 2009 Avenius Chard versus the 2008. In all Jim's wines that I have tasted so far, I prefer the 2009 to the 2008, though there is nothing at all amiss with the 2008s. I prefer the greater acidity and more floral notes on the 2009 Avenius Chard to the more tropical and riper 2008.

Then we were on to the 2009 Boisseau Red against the 2007 Hardscrabble Red. This was interesting in comparing the always fruit forward wines of the warm Boisseau site against the really fruit forward 2007 vintage. Even in the hot 2007 vintage, the Hardscrabble's structure shines through in comparison to the Boisseau. But, I prefer the 2006, 2008, and the 2009 vintages of the Hardscrabble to the 2007.

Then we did the 2007 Late Harvest Vidal against the 2008 Petit Manseng. There is just no comparing these grapes. The Petit Manseng is otherworldly while the Vidal is just merely very, very good. I understand the Vidal is getting ripped out, no doubt a tough decision, but one that becomes obvious when you taste these wines side by side. The biggest surprise was in the tiny pairing that was served with the Petit Manseng: a banana chip topped with a bit of Cambazola cheese and a peanut, a little goodie developed by Andrew Napier, who also did our tasting. The banana chip and Cambazola were obvious pairings, but the peanut was counter-intuitive and shocking in how well it paired with the wine. I have learned something new and will be at some point in the future ripping that off. Who knew?

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