Spring has sprung with a nice three days of rain which were badly needed. The rain really helps us for irrigation and frost protection purposes. All the vines have been pruned and tied and buds are beginning to open. It won’t be long before we are into spraying, shoot removal, and tractor work. The winery is busy bottling our Italian varieties and in the vineyard, we’ve been graftng some of our Barbera to Pinot Noir.
We are very pleased with the reception of the 2016 Sparkling Rosato you received over the holidays. It is selling well. This was the first time that we made a Sparkling from Pinot Grigio. Get your hands on a case before it is gone. It’s a good excuse to celebrate anything.
2016 Ramato: We are really excited about this wine. We have been making Ramato for a few years. With this vintage, we made some adjustments by picking the grapes at a lower maturity level for lower pH and a lower alcohol of around 12%. We also went from fermenting completely dry to stopping the fermentation at .5 residual sugar, similar to a Rombauer Chardonnay, resulting in an extremely flavorful, more vibrant, crisp but creamy wine. It has the essence of rose petals. I think this wine is a real step up in what a Ramato should be. The unique Ramato can compete with any rosé in the marketplace. Enjoyable!
2015 Barbera: When we discuss 2015, we are reminded that it was one of the smallest crops in my 40+ years of farming. Crop size was a little less than half in Barbera. Clusters were very small, which produced a wine with very intense color. This vintage has all the makings of a very good wine. Big and jammy like Barbera is supposed to be. Like most Italian wines, it needs to be enjoyed on a dinner table with friends and family. Serve with sausage bolognese.
2013 Classico: The best buy in the Toccata line of wines! While its counterpart Riserva earned a 92 point score in Wine Enthusiast, this Classico earned 91 points. The main difference is in the Classico having less Cabernet and more Sangiovese, while the Riserva has more Cabernet and less Sangiovese. Both wines are great examples of the Super Tuscan style of wine. Sangiovese smooths the edges of Cabernet and makes it more velvety and lush. These wines can thank Valley View Cabernet for contributing to their boldness and strength of character. I wouldn’t be afraid to serve the Classico as a cocktail red. Our California Italian wines are beginning to get the attention they deserve.
We hope to see you in April for our Vintners Festival weekend. We’re celebrating with a Winemaker Dinner at First & Oak, wine and cheese pairings with live music at both Tasting Rooms, and Megan, Mike, and I will be pouring at the festival itself. Later in May, we’re having a Toccata winemaker dinner at Toscana in Solvang. With only 20 seats available and everyone wanting to get on the list, you will have to make your reservation early. We’re thankful for finally getting some much needed rain this spring. Get ready for summer!