Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Linden Vineyards

2014 has been a tough year financially for the restaurant and that has really put a damper on our ability to get out and visit wineries like we had been accustomed to in the past. I knew it had been a while since we visited Linden, but it really struck home when we pulled up out front to see that they have undergone a renovation of the winery since our last visit back in April: new windows, some new siding, new doors, a new tasting counter, and one doorway closed off. The upstairs is also now open and looks much different with large, arched windows filling each of the gable ends.

Beautiful in all Seasons
I had figured that the weekend after Thanksgiving would be a great weekend to visit, the snow and the holiday keeping traffic low. And it was: traffic was minimal. Not good for the winery, but not unexpected, but very good for us. When I visit, I like to take my time and taste the wines and compare and contrast them with vintages past and that is nearly impossible to do when people are lined up three deep at the tasting counter behind me.

We tasted through the current line up very unhurriedly. Most of the wines I had not tasted before (well, I am sure I have tasted a bunch of them in barrel) as they are mainly from the 2012 vintage. It's pretty obvious that the lack of wine in 2011 is forcing Jim to release wines more quickly than I am sure that he would like. New to me were 2012 Chardonnay, 2012 Claret, 2012 Petit Verdot, and 2010 Hardscrabble Red. They are all delicious but the Petit Verdot needs a good bit more time before it is ready.

Lunch Outside on the Deck
Despite the snow on the ground, it was a very pleasant 60 degrees outside and we took advantage of the beautiful weather to have lunch out on the deck, the only people to do so. The venison summer sausage and the Meadowcreek Appalachian cheese are old stand bys. The smoked duck from the Marshall IGA is new and is a bit too heavily smoked for my liking. Delicious, but too much smoke. The Merry Goat Round goat brie from Firefly Creamery is new to Linden in my experience, but it is a regular on our cheese plates at the restaurant.

2013 Hardscrabble Red Barrel Sample
Unbeknownst to us, Jim was doing library tastings this weekend (a 30-year retrospective of Hardscrabble: had we known, we would have signed up). While we were out on the deck and between tastings, he came out to say hi bearing a small carafe of 2013 Hardscrabble Red from the barrel. It's a young, fiery beast with good minerality and structure. I am looking forward to tasting it in a few years when it calms down.

Tasting in the Cellar
We also did a cellar tasting where we tasted Boisseau 2012 Chardonnay against Hardscrabble 2012, Boisseau 2010 Red versus 2012, and Late Harvest Vidal 2007 with Late Harvest Petit Manseng 2009. The Boisseau 2012 Chardonnay is probably the finest Chard from that site that I have yet tasted; clearly it has been picked earlier than in years past and has more acid to help it balance. The 2012 Hardscrabble Chard is to me the finest Chard that Jim has ever made, very nicely balanced and very Burgundian. I'm very familiar with both dessert wines: we pour both of them at the restaurant. The Petit Manseng is always over the top.

It was a great day with Ann to be able to sit and savor delicious wine.

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