From the Ground Up
I’ve been thinking about going back to an old dictionary to find the definition of normal. In our last newsletter, we were worrying about the freezing temperatures. Fortunately, the buds were not open and we came out of that in good shape. Since that time, we have had bud break. We had a couple nights of freezing temperatures. We had a few vines get nipped on the Goodchild Ranch and four acres of one of our Italian varieties took a pretty good hit. As we always say, in farming we live with the weather and it is a tremendous influence on what happens in the vineyards. At present, shoot growth is at anywhere from two to twelve inches and the potential crop looks good. We are busy doing several vineyard tasks with our first mildew sprays and cutting down the winter weeds and cover crops. We have already begun shoot removal where we go through and check each vine and remove unwanted shoots. This is done early so that the energy that those shoots might use will be available to the rest of the vine. It improves the quality of grapes and the quality of the canes and spurs for next year. We did some winter grafting of four acres of Viognier to Cabernet. At the Los Alamos Vineyard, we grafted some Barbera and some old Cabernet Franc vines to Pinot Noir. Last year’s graftings look good enough to be almost into full production. I recently read an article about the vineyards of today only lasting from 20-30 years. Of course, it’s my opinion that with proper care, a great vineyard will last at least 60 years. That longevity has a lot to do with vine canopy management.
Megan and Ian are busy at the winery with bottling, bulk sales, and custom bottling. In the vineyard, we have gone from having little to do to having everything to do.
2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir: Our 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir is very similar to our 2016 vintage, which earned a Gold Medal and a 92 point score at the San Francisco International Wine Competition and a “Highly Recommended” designation by Dennis Schaefer of Schaefer on Wine. For the 2017 vintage, we did a co-fermentation instead of blending the 94% Pinot Noir with 6% Viognier after fermentation. I believe that co-fermentation adds a little something extra. Most of our Sparkling Wines and wines like Cote del Sol are co-fermented. This Rosé is not sweet. Residual sugar was kept at a minimum, just enough to balance the wine. It makes a great cocktail wine and pairs with an array of foods from salmon to Cobb salad to fried chicken. It will put a smile on your face.
2015 Petite Sirah: This one is just always good. It comes from our pampered 40+ year old vines. Deep and dark in color with huge tannins that are soft as silk, it has an earthy character that I really like. If you taste it in our Tasting Room, you usually buy it! This wine has a strong following. I’ll have mine with a lamb chop! You can have yours with any bold grilled meat.
In a recent check up for the flu, I had a surprise that needs to be taken care of. I will be going into surgery in early May to give my heart a few adjustments. I’m going to be resting for a few weeks so that I can return to you and the vineyard.