The harvest is over, as well as the Harvest Party! It is time to begin all over again in the vineyard. Our Italian grape harvest went well with cooperation from the weather after the smoke from wildfires and a freak rainstorm. The wines of 2017 have all finished fermentation. Red wines are now going through secondary fermentation when the acid changes from malic to lactic. It softens the sharpness in the wines, resulting in a smoother mouthfeel.
All of the grapes were picked at peak ripeness. The 2017 vintage should be exceptional. This year, I was really impressed with the Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, and Pinot Noir. We have a major bottling in December and the winery has been busy preparing the wines. We have had an unusually warm and dry fall so we have had to irrigate the vineyard. Pruning, which takes 70-80 days, will start in about two weeks.
2016 Sparkling Rosato: This is a new version of our Sparkling Rosato. For the first time, 95% of this wine is Pinot Grigio with additions of 3% Malvasia Bianca and 2% Dolcetto, showing an emphasis on the Italian varieties. We are more than happy with the results. Why Pinot Grigio? I don’t know of any other examples at this point but in studying about the Champagne region of France, I happened to find that Pinot Gris is used in some areas in their Sparkling Wines. That was enough to set me off on a quest to try it. I think we have come up with something special. It is bright and refreshing with some lively fruity flavors. Sparkling is not usually fruity but tends to be more on the tart side. The Malvasia Bianca adds to the complexity. This wine is designed for fun and is great to ring in the New Year.
2013 Rosso Dolce: It seems we’re always talking about residual sugar. This wine was made essentially to be a sweet red wine, but surprise! At 4.2 residual sugar, it should be a sweet wine but it definitely does not show that amount of sweetness. Freisa has exceptionally high and structured tannins that balance with the residual sugar. Many red wines today have some residual sugar but no one really talks about it. We left a little sugar intentionally to satisfy those who were looking for a red wine with a sweet side. The results are surprisingly good and you non-conformists should give it a try. Freisa is a rare grape in this country with just a few acres. Recently I discovered that it is one of the parents of Nebbiolo. That could justify the tannins. Try it.
2012 Riserva: It is nice to see a score of 90 in Wine Enthusiast with this wine. This super Tuscan blend of about half Cabernet Sauvignon from our Valley View Vineyard with over 30% Sangiovese to soften the mouthfeel is complemented with the addition of some Merlot, Petit Verdot, and a splash of Freisa. This elegant wine would enhance any Italian dinner or Christmas Eve feast. This full-bodied wine, which was aged a little longer than normal in oak, is drinking beautifully right now.
This month I’m thankful for family, friends, and a life in the dirt. Wishing a blessed Christmas season to you and yours.