2018 Harvest Recap: Rosy Rosé, Perfect Pinot and Zippy Zin
2018 Harvest is in full swing and has progressed nicely. The more temperate weather this season and limited amounts of rain (well except for yesterday's fluke 2" of rain in Sonoma -- we hope the remaining varietals were collected!) produced longer hang time with more balanced fruit in terms of sugars and acids, which means we don't have to do much to the wine to get it the way we want it. Mother nature threw our growers the proverbial bone here, making our jobs easier!
Cheers to Harvest 2018!
Rosé all day...well, in January '19
This year we've changed it up a bit and are producing a new addition to the portfolio, a Barbera Rosé from Oakmont Vineyard in the Shenandoah AVA, which is planted to about 2,000 acres and has about 16 wineries, right at the foot of the Sierra foothills in Amador County. Barbera is a big grape varietal, with large clusters and berries and firm skins that offer deep fruit and weighty tannins. Try a red wine made out of Barbera and you'll see what I mean. But, turn that into a Rosé and you have a new, different wine with the same grape. In our case, the Barbera was harvested on September 23rd and went straight to a gentle bladder press (think of squeezing grapes in a ziploc bag for hours), for only a couple hours to get the rosy hue a Rosé typically exhibits. It's all about the skin contact. Other varietals only need minutes, yes, minutes to get the flesh colored hue. After press, then its off to the races and pump to a stainless tank and 'letting the must settle' (pun intended) so we get clarity in the wine along with a few other treatments. We've sampled some wine from the same fruit and vineyard and we're excited: a very slight rose hue, floral aromas, strawberry fruit with acid balance, minerality and round, weighty mouthfeel and long finish. We think this one will be great on its own or even pair with some nice spring and summer dishes, and would even stand up to a roast chicken, or dare I say something more fatty like pork belly. And, remember our pro-tip: drink your Rosé chilled for best results. But you knew that. Available in January, 2019!
We continue our Pinot program with fruit from Keller Estate, Clone 115 from the La Cruz vineyard off of Lakeville Hwy in between Petaluma and Sonoma, nestled in what is now known as the "Petaluma Gap" AVA as of 2017. This means our 2017 Pinot changes from "Sonoma Coast" to "Petaluma Gap", which you'll see on the label of our new Pinot releasing later this Fall/Winter, which is tasting great. This area's terroir is now officially recognized given its unique marine influence from San Pablo Bay, the marine clay loam soils and wind driven climate, perhaps even more 'stressing' than the climate of Carneros in Sonoma.
This year's Pinot was exceptional. Clean, small, tight clusters with limited green berries, which indicated a good fruit set, and nice stems that let us do about 10% whole cluster, giving more depth, structure and tannins to the wine. In other words, we sorted and destemmed 90% of the grapes and added the rest to the fruit bin. The sugars, the acids all came in just right without us having to do much to the in process wine. The Pinot was harvested September 13, spent about 3 days in cold soak and began gentle punch downs until inoculation and finally pressed on September 29 and transferred to a couple year old French Oak barrel. Finished wine will arrive sometime in August, 2019 and a late Fall 2019 Release!
We continued our flagship varietal, Zinfandel from Teldeschi Vineyard, Dry Creek for the seventh straight vintage (2012 felt like yesterday!). Ray is a 4th generation grower and knows his stuff, which means the fruit comes in clean, well ripened all around and nice, meaty clusters, with a few raisins here and there to add to the depth of the wine, which is normal for Dry Creek Zin. The fruit was harvested September 29 and was inoculated October 2nd, after which its off to the presses to conclude our Harvest 2018! This will result in finished wine sometime in early 2020 after racking, blending and bottling.