Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vineyard Update From St. Helena

Harvest is approaching in our little section of Wilson Ranch. Yields are down this year with some of the fruit showing signs of bunch rot in the Sauvignon Blanc (pictured below). In the next week we will be dropping the bad fruit and picking the raisined clusters to crush as a separate lot.

The following week we will be picking the rest of the beautifully ripened fruit (pictured below).

Somehow there is a rumor going around that it's a great year for Sauv B. I wonder how Mr. Sauv B feels about this. It's true that reduced yields can produce great wines, but my 2 cents is that a serious lot of work has to be done to make it great this year. We are sparing no expense in picking our fruit, by reducing yields even further to avoid any moldy or rotten clusters and then separately fermenting the over-ripe bunches for possible inclusion in the grand vin (I think most likely it will be included, considering the taste profiles of the ripe berries at this stage), and I expect we can make a great wine this year -- perhaps even the best Sauv B from Crosby Roamann to date -- but I think the rumor that it will be a great year across the board is not true because I'll predict that producers without the drive or wherewithal to produce great wines from extremely low yields will end up making wines similar to last year, perhaps a touch riper, but with more issues in the cellar considering the bunch rot I've seen.

What we're drinking ... 2004 Damilano Barolo ** robust purple color. Dry herbs on the nose with some tangy red fruit notes. Tastes of fine, drying tannins, a blend of tart cherries and plums, with some spicy notes. Savory.

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