Friday, August 12, 2011

Vineyard Update From St. Helena and Carneros

It's turning out to be a late season, with some predicting we are already two weeks behind last year's late harvest, but veraison has finally come to Napa Valley. Our patch of sauvignon blanc from Wilson Ranch, just north of St. Helena, set a small crop likely due to rainy and cold spring conditions. We are currently estimating about 2-2.5 tons to the acre. The berries are uniformly small and clusters loose. If the weather remains warm and dry through September, however, we could see a splendid harvest with atypical concentration. Our patch of chardonnay just off Old Sonoma Road in Carneros is purring along. The vineyard has set an average of 4 tons per acre, despite some shatter from wet spring conditions. Just thinking about the chardonnay these beautiful old vines produce makes my mouth water. Yesterday I spent the afternoon in the vineyard pulling brown leaves out of the centers of these vines and leaf pulling around the fruit zone to expose the clusters to air and just a little light. I'm hoping for a very pleasant crop this year. (Pictured above, David Heil at Wilson Ranch.)

What We're Drinking ....

2006 Alban Vineyards "Reva" Estate Syrah **** This 16.2% alcohol syrah from Edna Valley is just a monster. Notes of cola, bramble berry, raisins and coarse ground black pepper. Just don't drink and drive!

2006 Turley Wine Cellars Howell Mountain Zinfandel "Rattlesnake Ridge" *** A whopping 15.9% alcohol to pair with our Reva (what were we thinking?) Prunish and peppery with a note of wet wood smoke. Very nicely balanced on the long finish. A very exciting zinfandel.

2009 Stags' Leap Winery Napa Valley Chardonnay **
Tangy and citrusy at first with apple and wood smoke notes as well. Ages nicely with mango notes on day 2.

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