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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

2011 Harvest time!

I always feel guilty this time of year - while my friends in Portland are Facebooking beautiful pictures of a ton of Pinot they are about to crush, or in California they are taking snapshots of 100-year Zinfandel and waxing over the first sniff of autumn, we are working stupid. Like in the dark stupid.

The vintage so far has been mixed. Lots of heat and a dry start. Lots of growers are picking too early with green seeds and no flavor over concern for the heat. Crop loads are large too, slowing it all down. Some clones of some things look fantastic while others, not so much. There has also been a lot of over watering too with the conditions and as a protection startegy during the heat waves. And then, like a light switch, summer goes away and fall temperatures are here. But, our stuff is tight if moving slow and quality will be very high. This will be the latest we have ever picked Dolcetto by about ten days. We just received Carmeneré from Yolo county at a mere 23 brix and 4.35 pH - another record, the vines totally shut down and sleeping all ready. There is a definite sense of excitement as we move toward a greater percentage of estate fruit - the vineyards where we can't call the pick time drive me insane.

Here is our current status:

  • Muscat - lots finished and finishing
  • Tocai - done and racked
  • Bit o' Chenin Blanc - dragging because it was too small an amount to really settle before fermenting
  • Several rosé bits - all working in various ways
  • Sangiovese - Classico clone from Amador barreled down last night
  • Sagrantino - barreled last night
  • Cabernet Franc for me - 2 clones barreled last night
  • Tinta Roriz for me - two lots about to be pressed or extended - not sure yet
  • Nebbiolo - split into three lots, all working
  • Sangiovese Brunello clone, working

2011 Barbera and Sangiovese bottled, my 2011 Trigrammaton and Cab Franc bottled, with many more to come.
Add to this all of the public pourings and events, and the exciting but always difficult to pack in Flight Nights at the tasting room:

This week will see the first estate block of Primitivo picked, Carmeneré for me, estate Sangiovese, Greco di Tufo and a little Refosco with the rest to follow soon. Bottling will be either Nebbiolo or Montepulciano next when a gap opens in the work stream. I also need to tune up the fruit before it is harvested, presorting getting rid of any bird damage or sunburn before it is picked.

This is just the first wave my friends - much more action to come and we begin our estate harvest in the next few days. The next Flight Night will be October 19th and it will be Greek Night - you can RSVP through Facebook RIGHT HERE. We have been splitting it into two seatings which sell out quickly. Hold onto your hats though, in November we are talking about me doing Thai Night (which I am all for as we pursue this Next Restaurant format). So I apologize for the lack of updates and cool pictures - it is either the stickiness, the sense of urgency or the general tiredness of endless 14 hour days that make me forget to pull out the phone. It definitely is not because of lacking excitement.