We try to engage our Facebook fans whenever possible - and last week we offered our fans an opportunity to ask any questions they like. We think this particular conversation between Larry (fan) and Steven Rogstad (our Winemaker) is worth sharing and hope you learn something new!
2008 Sauvignon Blanc
From a single small parcel planted to the renowned “Musque” selection of Sauvignon Blanc, our Estate SB is a distinct expression of Carneros. The cool climate and limiting soils that typify Carneros temper the natural vigor of Sauvignon and produce intense flavors of honeydew, lichi, kiwi and lime. Chilled by morning fogs and buffeted by afternoon breezes the skins thicken and the berries concentrate producing a richly scented and densely packed SB. Tank fermented and sur lies aged, this wine is bottled shortly after harvest, without malo-lactic fermentation, to fully capture its aromatic intensity and bright acidity.
2008 Pinot Noir Carneros
An unusually cool spring gave way to a gorgeous Summer in ’08, with an even, temperate growing season. Crop size was quite small and when the heat finally did arrive, it got things jumping in the winery in a hurry as we rushed to pick the Pinot Noir before dehydration could set in. Once in the fermentation vats the pure fruit and lush flavors quickly began to reveal themselves. A classic Carneros Pinot, the 2008 is brimming with fresh berry and strawberry fruit, while the general coolness of the season is revealed in the intriguing lime and orange zest notes lurking in the background. Texturally the wine is quite focused with fine, firm acidity giving away to supple tannins and sappy fruit. This wine should drink beautifully over the next 3 to 8 years.
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Veeder
Deep hued tones of mocha, coffee and boysenberry jam leap from the glass. The touch of Malbec intensifies the fruity/floral aroma as the wine warms your taste buds and the silky, plush tannins coat your mouth. The forbidding slopes and free-draining soils have done their work, concentrating the fruit and focusing the tannin of this mountain grown Cabernet. It showcases the best of Mount Veeder, dense, jammy fruit backed by fresh acidity and epic tannins.
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One of the occupational hazards of winemaking is being asked, repeatedly, what the vintage is like before it even happens. It’s like a college freshmen pretending to know what he’ll major in…hmmm, Electrical Engineering, only to matriculate with a degree in Abnormal Psychology 6 years later.
So, like Carnac I’ll try and get straight to your most burning questions:
Answer : When they are ready.
Question: When will you start picking the grapes?
A view of our 2009 Pinot noir, clone 115. The fruit has finally colored up and is uniformly dark, always a promising sign…
Actually, the other super cool omen that harvest is about to begin…
I snapped this photo of a Red Tail hawk diving through the Pinot this foggy morning and it reminded me of the other Red Tail that signals harvest…
Yes, it takes a lot of good beer to make good wine and this morning’s sighting of the Hawk foretells a pending harvest of excellent quality. The sparkling wine makers have begun pulling in the first loads of fruit, which typically start about two to three weeks before we get going. Pinot noir is coming on fast and we could start pulling that in as early as the 8th of September, though I suspect most of it will be the week or so after. Chardonnay will start in earnest the week after that and continue through most of October.
Of more interest will be the Brandlin harvest on Mount Veeder. Given the relatively cool growing season we would expect the Cabs off the mountain to be quite late, but some years, when the cool air settles into the valley at night, it stays warmer up in the hills and the vines push through a bit earlier. As I follow the weather forecasts, like a hawk (sorry, couldn’t resist), the early trends seem to be favoring this phenomenon, which could put the Cab fast on the heels of our Pinot Noir.
Next week the harvest interns start arriving from the four corners of the earth to scrub and polish the winery in preparation for harvest! I will be keeping you all updated via our amazing new blogosphere with even better photos then can be had from my cell phone…