The other night I was in the mood for something sweet, so we pulled a favorite from the cellar, a 2004 Linden Late Harvest Vidal from Virginia. To be honest, I was a little disappointed at first due to the fact that this was our last bottle. But of course, all good things must come to an end. A little background: Linden Vineyards is located in Linden, Virginia, about 65 miles west of Washington D.C. and is a must stop when visiting Northern Virginia. Owner and winemaker Jim Law is one of if not the top winemaker in the state. We always include Linden on our wine trail when visiting the area. Unfortunately, Linden does not sell their wines via their website but can be found online for purchase. In fact, I’ve located the exact vintage online at kybecca.

From their website:

Aromas: Pear, sweet cream, hazelnut & fresh straw.

Flavors: Warm Crème Brûlée & carmelized sugar, hibiscus, sweet on the palate and drying on the finish.

Food Pairings: Rich, decadent main courses such as foie gras or desserts that feature fruits — especially apricots, peaches, pears or dried fruits. Very ripe triple cream cheeses.

Vineyard: Hardscrabble Vineyard (100%), Fauquier County, on top of the Blue Ridge at an elevation of 1300 feet on a northeastern slope. Deep, well-drained granitic soils. The vines are 20 years old.

Vintage: 2004 can best be categorized as a roller coaster vintage. The growing season was quite good, with a very early flowering due to a hot May, below normal summer temperatures, and slightly higher than normal rainfall. The harvest was quite good for regular harvest with the exception of heavy rains that fell in mid-September. October brought good sun and dry weather giving good concentration to the late harvest (November 8, 2004) of Vidal.

Winemaking: 100% Vidal, the grapes are frozen and pressed while frozen. Only the first thawed juice is used (AKA icewine). The wine fermented slowly in French oak barrels and was stopped by chilling to retain fruit and sweetness. This wine should become more honeyed and spicier with age. Bottled in August 2005. 270 cases of half bottles produced.

The bottle was a treat, which by the way is sold in a half bottle for around $23. I’ve tried numerous dessert wines that were too sugary and over the top sweet, but not this one. Linden has once again found that perfect balance in the Late Harvest, and especially the 2004 vintage. A perfect pairing with pears. I’ve heard a few rumors that they were no longer going to bottle the Late Harvest Vidal. I’ll do some research and post back. But until then, I recommend you seek this one out and enjoy!

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