Jim Law at Linden is revered in Northern Virginia wine. With good reason. Even when I was here 11 years ago, the wine was solid. It’s just gotten better.
The site has such a welcoming approach. Given the legendary stature of Linden, it has a very low-key atmosphere to it. The property is gorgeous. You enter right into the main tasting room, and there are two bars. When we got there at about 1:00, it was empty, and I wondered whether they were actually closed! We were greeted by some staff after a moment, and started our tasting.
Six wines for $10. The very first was the incredible ’16 Avenius Sauvignon Blanc. The pourer described the Avenius vineyard (one of their three) as rockier, with more granite, and the mineral qualities in this sauvignon blanc really came through (which is why I loved it!). I didn’t get the lemon taste that the menu mentioned, but I definitely got the crisp and acidic qualities I love in this grape. This was an excellent example – sharp and very drinkable, even in the cold weather today!
Second wine, the ’16 “Village” Chardonnay. The pourer explained that since this was a mix of grapes from all three vineyards, it received “villages.” We loved this – the pear flavor was very clear and there only the tiniest hit of butter to it, which made it fantastic – this was great from an oaked chardonnay. Definitely a great wine for fish or sipping – a good warm weather wine.
Third up, the ’15 Claret – their Bordeaux blend. This smelled amazing – I knew I would love it and I did. It was fruit forward, and basically medium-bodied – not an overpowering red, but had a lot of substance under it. The red fruit gave it the softness and drinkability while the darker fruit qualities added lots of depth to it. It’s a simple and extremely pleasant wine. Dad and I shared a glass of this after the tasting.
I was shocked to see two different Petit Verdots on their menu. The two vintages were very different too. The ’15 was the first sampling, and it had 3% Carmenere mixed in. This had to be the smoothest petit verdot I’ve ever had – for a wine that was as powerful as petit verdot to have this subtlety and smoothness was shocking. It was almost medium-bodied! I had to ask if it had been decanted, but she poured it right from the bottle. Truly a nice wine.
Next was the ’14 Petit Verdot, and she had decanted this one. This had 4% Carmenere and 8% Cab Sauvignon added. It had more of the depth and darkness of Petit Verdot, and was a great taste. It was sharper, and more acidic, despite the decanting, and yet still a very smooth wine.
The final taste was the ’13 Late Harvest Petit Manseng, which she shared was actually harvested on my birthday in 2013. This had a nice tropical sweetness to it, and at 7.6% residual sugar, it was definitely sweet! Not to my taste, but if you like sweeter wines, this may be up your alley!
I wound up taking home a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc, Claret, PV 15 and a bottle of rose because the server recommended it. Linden has great seating areas, and is an awesome place to enjoy the views and relax. I’ll be back here soon, and this will totally be the club I join – it’s an awesome winery, and I cannot wait to check out more. Also, the owner seems to be very knowledgeable about wine and interesting – he wasn’t available to talk when we were there, though he passed through the tasting room. I’d love to hear him talk about his wine, and I understand he does frequently. He’s kept Linden from becoming a massive gathering place by not permitting busses and limos, and as such, he has developed an experience – a great place to go to have good wine and enjoy the mountains. I’m all for that.