Just one more day and Harvest 2017 is over. To sum it up, crop was average in size. Quality of the grapes was exceptional, especially in Pinot Noir and Cabernet. The harvest wasn’t without issues. We were able to withstand three heat waves, an inch of rain, an attempted frost, and two days of smoke. It sounds like a lot, and it was, but we made it through all of them by managing our irrigation and the canopy of the vines to protect the grapes. It didn’t fit the definition of normal! We are now getting our first glimpse of the new wines. So far the color of the reds looks very good and it seems the grapes matured at a little lower sugar level. I’ve noticed that alcohol levels are down slightly. High alcohols are not ideal. Wines don’t need heat.
For the next 60 days, we will be busy repairing the vineyards, assessing needs for fertilization, and I want to improve the trellis systems in some of our young vines. We are also contemplating doing some grafting. And then it will be time to start all over again!
2013 Sparkling Wine: Sparkling sales have been growing at Lucas & Lewellen and so have the number of Sparkling Wines that we make. Our goal is to add another wine or two. This year we are making a 100% Chardonnay sparkler with a Goodchild Vineyard designate in the Santa Maria AVA, to show off the Goodchild Vineyard. We are also making the future edition of the Blanc de Noirs that you are receiving this month, which has had a great reception. The grapes came from our Los Alamos Vineyard; 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, co-fermented, and released after two years en tirage. Over the past two years, we have been gradually lowering the residual sugar levels in our Sparkling Wines to make them a little more crisp and show minimal sweetness. A small amount of sugar is necessary to balance the higher acidity that is in Sparkling Wines. With every vintage, we are fine tuning.
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Club Reserve: As in the past, our Club Reserve is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the steep slope on the Valley View Vineyard. We make this one from 100% Clone 337, which has become maybe the most popular clone being planted. It is a French clone that has become prominent in the last 15 or 20 years. Clone 337 is unique in flavor, which is more pronounced than some of the other clones. This particular wine has a lot of structure, that is, a lot of edges. I recommend giving this one more time in the bottle. I hate to tell you this, but you could drink it now for a good wine or, bottle age it for a great wine. This one is limited in volume and was made exclusively for the Lucas & Lewellen Wine Club and will not be available for public tasting or many reorders. It is one of a kind.
I hope you enjoyed the Harvest Party and I hope you will take time out in this high-tech iPhone world to be thankful for family and friends and this wonderful country of ours.