Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Four Solid Wines From Virginia's Linden

I’m a big fan of (some) Virginia wines. The state’s growing wine industry is so diverse, and new players are popping up so frequently, that it’s almost nonsensical to discuss “Virginia wines” as some sort of collective concept. Instead, I try to focus on specific wineries that farm specific plots and make quality, hand-crafted wines.

I recently attended a tasting in honor of a long-time wine buddy’s birthday. He’s long been a supporter of the Virginia winery Linden, located about 65 miles west of the nation’s capitol. The tasting was packed with amazing wines from Washington State, Oregon, Lebanon and France, but even among this esteemed company, the four Linden wines at the tasting showed well.

Here are my notes…

2011 Linden Sauvignon Blanc Avenius ($24)
I get lemon and orange peel on the nose, but the chive and jalapeno notes really come out and demand attention. Super tangy on the palate, those jalapeno and chive notes accent the green melon and tangerine flavors. For a Virginia sauvignon blanc, I’m impressed. (85 points)

2002 Linden Chardonnay Avenius ($?)
Wow, even at 11 years old, this Linden chardonnay is still going. Aromas of dried pineapple, honeycomb and something that reminds me of brie rind. Light and smooth on the palate, this is a very soft chardonnay with an unassuming presence on the palate (12.8% alcohol). Dried pineapple fruit, lemon peel and a nice sense of chalk and minerals on the finish. This is consistently one of my favorite Virginia chardonnays, and it’s nice to see an older vintage showing well. (88 points)

Rich nose of bruised apple, honey, peanut shell and cotton candy. Medium acid, the palate is full of juiy peach and pineapple fruit, lemon creme and peanut shell. Sweet honey and pineapple linger on the finish. A bit of a better showing than the last bottle I tasted earlier this year. (87 points)

2009 Linden Hardscrabble Red ($50)
Linden nails it with this wine. The nose shows smoke, sweet red plum, milk chocolate and dried herbs. Plump and juicy on the palate, with fresh acid and fine tannins to support the juicy red fruit. Notes of granite, loam and mocha last on the finish. I’m enjoying the whole approach of this wine, but I think a few years in the cellar could do some good. A blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 7% Cabernet Franc, aged 21 months in 50% new French oak. (88 points) 

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