It’s now the middle of summer. We are experiencing a couple of warm sultry days reaching near 100°F. The grapes are progressing a little bit faster than we expected. Because of the good winter rains, the vine growth has been better than normal, which is good in the sense that it carries the crop but it requires a little more work with a larger canopy. More leaves, more hedging, and it looks like we’ll be harvesting before the first of September. Our Italian varietals look to be normal in terms of crop size except for Muscat, Barbera, and Malvasia Bianca, which are on the light side. This weekend we will have our annual Vineyard Tour when guests can see grapes up close, this year at a little more maturity than usual. We are hoping the weather cools off a bit.
2015 Muscat Canelli: 2015 was one of the lowest producing crops since I’ve been in business. That covers 47 years! With the crop being small, sometimes the vines forget and want to become more vigorous. As a result, we see a little more astringency and acidity in the grapes. This Muscat has 1.5 residual sugar, which puts it almost in a sweet wine category.To me, it doesn’t show that amount of residual. I enjoyed tasting this wine and think it would pair really well with scampi or crab. It is filled with Muscat flavors.
2013 Classico: For the second vintage in a row, this Classico scored a 91 in Wine Enthusiast. How’s that for a $24 wine? One of our best wines and one of our best buys, this one’s easy to drink. The primary grape in the blend is Sangiovese with 5% Petit Verdot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Freisa, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 20% Merlot. The newest addition to this blend is Petit Verdot. Petit Verdot is a great blending wine. If you have a wine that needs a little backbone with more color and tannin, it only takes a small amount to make a difference. The Sangiovese comes from the cool Los Alamos Ranch. This super Tuscan blend goes with homemade pizza, pasta with fresh tomatoes and sausage or prosciutto.
2011 Nebbiolo: I’m sure you’ve had this wine a few times. Nebbiolo really improves with age. We sold out of this one two years ago but I made extra without labels because I like the wine and I had this idea of holding it to let it age. In Italy, sometimes Nebbiolos aren’t released until they’re 7 years old. 2011 wasn’t the greatest vintage year across the board but the Nebbiolo did extremely well. California has had a hard time proving this variety. Acreage is down to 162 total acres, making Nebbiolo incidental in the marketplace. But to us it is the greatest Italian red. People have been growing it in the wrong places. Los Alamos is one of those places it belongs. Expect our Nebbiolos to be better and better. It only took me 19 years to learn how to prune the vine! The tannins have softened and it reminds me a bit of Pinot Noir, believe it or not, but bolder in character. Serve with pork roast or lamb chops.
For our next cruise we thought we would do something a bit different. It seems we’ve been going all over the world. I thought it would be great to stay home! We cruising from Memphis to New Orleans, even thinking of beginning and ending with winemaker dinners in Memphis and New Orleans. Hope you can join us.
Let’s say a prayer for a bountiful harvest.