Now that I’ve been able to come up for air in the last two weeks I wanted to get a harvest update out. The past two weeks it seems that all the Sonoma County Chardonnay decided to ripen at the same time. We’ve been doing a ton of Chardonnay barrel fermentations and that takes a good bit of logistics and winemaker power to figure out what vineyards are best suited to what barrels. We’ve also been doing a lot of new yeast trials this harvest on Sauvignon Blanc and on some Napa Gamay. The Sauvignon Blanc trial is finished now and we were intrigued to see that our favorite Sauvignon Blanc yeast, VL3, remained our favorite through clean, efficient fermentations as well as really nice varietal character expression in the wines.
We’ve also see a ton of Alexander Valley Merlot this last week off of our Asti Estate Vineyards. This has been an incredible vintage for Merlot here at Asti. The characters are beautiful, the colors are amazing, acids balanced, and sugars under control. This is a great color year so far for all the reds we’ve seen including Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon (particularly from the Lodi area where the majority of our early Cabernet comes from). We’re still waiting on most of the Cabernet from Lake County and all of the Cabernet from Sonoma County so we’ll see if the trend continues. The warm weather this week is ideal for Cabernet ripening and I’m beginning to get very excited about what this vintage may hold for those who didn’t get burned badly by the 2 days of extreme heat earlier in the year. It’s been a low vegetal year for Merlot and Cabernet as well. Very few of the vineyards coming in have problematic levels of pyrazine characters (bell pepper flavors) and those that do seem to be easily remedied (so far).
The weather is beautiful and warm. The grapes are ripening nicely. There’s not much more that a winemaker could ask for this time of year!