Over the past three years we had heard several Virginia wine enthusiasts recommend a visit to Linden Vineyards. We were told that the winery provided excellent views of the surrounding hillsides and that the wine was some of the best produced in the state. We had previously tasted their Hardscrabble Chardonnay – and were instant fans - and were eager to try their other offerings. Linden is located just off Route 66 close to Front Royal – about 40 minutes from the Beltway. Once you exit Route 66 and reach Linden the trip is an enjoyable, twisting ride among cattle and horse farms. The winery, itself, sits on a hill with awesome views of the surrounding hills. The rumors were apparently true.
Over 25 years ago, Jim Law accepted his first job as a Virginian winemaker and eventually purchased the abandoned Hardscrabble Farm on the Blue Ridge Mountains. Through the years he increased his land holding so that currently all grapes used in Linden wines are grown in the mountains surrounding the winery. These vineyards now include the original Hardscrabble Vineyard, plus the Avenius and Boisseau vineyards.
Linden Vineyards provides a free tasting of several wines and a $12 reserve tasting on the weekends. Today we skipped the reserve tasting because of time constraints and participated in tasting their 2005 Seyval, 2006 Rosé, 2005 Cabernet Franc, 2003 Claret, and 2006 Vidal-Riesling. The 2005 Seyval is a dry wine with a strong grapefruit flavor and a slightly acidic finish. The 2006 Rosé is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, made with minimal skin contact. This wine is also made dry which is a welcome change from the many sweeter Rosé styled wines on the market. The wine also has a nice berry flavor and a slightly grapefruit flavor finish. Interesting. Moving to their reds, the 2005 Cabernet Franc is outstanding. It is a full-bodied, dry wine with a cherry flavor and spicy finish. This is another example of the excellent Cabernet Franc made in Virginia. Their other red is the softer 2003 Claret, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot. The wine is medium bodied with berry flavors and a completely smooth finish. Finally, the 2006 Vidal-Riesling was a bomb – that is – a mouthful of acidity and citrus that moved throughout your mouth. Here is your summer wine; slightly sweet with spicy flavors. This is the one we took home.
It was satisfying to validate the many claims we had received regarding Linden’s wines. And we enjoyed “hanging out” on their deck, talking with other patrons about Linden and the Virginia wine industry. We are looking forward to our return visit and a trip into the reserve cellar.