Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Linden Vineyards/Pig Out

A few weeks ago a letter arrived at the restaurant inviting us to come to the Linden Preview Tasting on the 22nd. I suppose that this is in lieu of the traditional barrel tasting after all the hoopla with ABC in 2012 about giving people samples of untaxed wine. Seriously. ABC couldn't see that all these people who had a few samples of untaxed wine then went and spent a small fortune on wine and generated some serious sales and excise taxes. Bureaucrats in action. After all the to-do, I am not sure where the law stands, but it seems that barrel tastings are back in swing, though this one only featured a single wine in barrel (or egg, as it were).

The Preview Tasting Line Up
Just before we left the house to drive down to Linden, I rubbed a pork shoulder with my special pork dry rub, placed it on a bed of onion slabs, and put it in a slow oven to roast while we were away, intending on having pulled pork for dinner when we returned. Once at Linden, we chatted with Jim Law for a minute and then headed down into the cellar, where we were joined a few minutes later by Kenny G, our sommelier.

Kenny G
The first wine was part of the 2014 rosé which is not yet blended. We sampled straight out of the concrete egg and I must say that this is the best Virginia rosé that I have ever tasted. Jim told me that it is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from certain blocks purposefully picked early. Contrast this with prior years when the wine has been made largely via saignage: a vast difference.

Next we tasted the 2013 Chards: Avenius, Boisseau, and Hardscrabble. Avenius is still angular and disjointed showing lots of grapefruit and citrus and acts more like a Sauvignon Blanc than a Chard; give it 5 years to come together and I bet it is awesome. Boisseau is pretty decent this year again as they are picking earlier to preserve acid. Hardscrabble is a mouthful, bountiful neutral oak, sappy acid, and lots of flavors going on. On balance, I love the 2013 Chards.

Then the reds from 2012 in the same order. Avenius has this superior blueberry nose and again is disjointed: the fruit, the acid, and the tannins are all separate. It's a really interesting wine to me and I am looking forward to when it comes together in a few years. Boisseau is a young but ready-to-drink crowd pleaser. The wines from this hot site are always forward. The 2012 Hardscrabble is a baby for sure, tasting youthful and grapy, with a nice underpinning of acid and tannin. I love this wine now, but give it 10 years: it will be a thing of beauty.

Annie is not Happy!

Our Own Private Rosemary Plant
After the tasting, we ordered a bottle of Hardscrabble 2010 and some food and ended up sitting upstairs because it was too chilly outside and the main room was jammed. It is some serious hardship to have to drink Hardscrabble red.

After an hour or so over a leisurely lunch with Kenny, we headed back to the house, not really wanting to be out all day. As we pulled into the garage, the wondrous scent of pork assaulted our senses. We managed to hold out for an hour or so, but not much longer than that.

Look at the Bark on this Beast
After a total of five hours in the slow oven, I pulled the pork shoulder out and gave it a poke with my tongs. Ready for sure! I left it on the counter to cool while we watched a bit more TV and continued to drink more Hardscrabble red. Next thing I know, my wife is at the counter pulling the pig to bits and stuffing face! I joined her. So much for a proper dinner. We stood at the counter and jammed way too hot pig in our faces until we could no longer stand! Damn I make some awesome pig! Pig out!

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