We are nearly 75% of the way through harvest. So far, we’ve only had an inch of rain, two heat waves, two fires, and a near frost. Thankfully, the weather was good before and after each of those events so, believe it or not, everything is looking good in the vineyard. A few of the Italian varieties, namely Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo, and Freisa, are still hanging on the vine waiting for full maturity. The crop has been decent in terms of both quantity and quality. It also looks like we will be finished a couple of weeks early. After 9 months of growing the crop, we are looking forward to a little break. There were some highlights this year to point out. Dolcetto reached a really good maturity level and should make a special wine. The two Muscats we use in Moscato di Santa Barbara and Moscato di Arancia were picked earlier for lower sugar levels in the finished wine. Because of the frizzante, we have already put them in bottle, which is the first time we’ve ever bottled within 30 days of harvest. We did this to preserve the bubbles. We will have one of these available to taste at our Harvest Party in November.
2014 Malvasia Secco: This drier style of Malvasia is showing really well with flavors of flowers and some citrus. This wine contains only .5 residual sugar, which is similar to some higher end Chardonnays. I don’t want to overlook discussing this wine’s age. I really believe that most white wines are opened too young. To me, that is not the optimal age for enjoying many white wines. Recently I had a GREAT Sauvignon Blanc that was seven years old. Our Secco is aging well and showing no signs of oxidation. To me, the flavors are just now becoming more mature and pronounced. Malvasia continues to be a Tasting Room favorite.
2016 Pinot Noir: The Clone 667 Pinot grapes for this wine came from our High 9 Goodchild Vineyard in Santa Maria. This vineyard is one of the great Pinot Noir producers in the Santa Maria appellation and Santa Barbara County. Although little Pinot Noir is grown in Italy, we include it in our Toccata label. For this particular wine, we added 5% Dolcetto. This is a combination that we have played with over the years. Dolcetto adds a softness, a little deeper color, and really complements the Pinot Noir grape.
2012 Nebbiolo: Nebbiolo continues to be in disfavor for growing in California. I’ve spent 19 years trying to prove otherwise. Our Nebbiolo grapes, because they are grown in a cool region, continue to make a great red wine. This particular year, the crop size was quite large and and grape quality was good. Megan McGrath Gates, our winemaker, thought something was needed to enhance the wine and she blended in a small amount of Barbera and Merlot, resulting in a very nice wine. In your last release, you received our libraried 2011 Nebbiolo, which was not the best vintage year but happened to be a good year for Nebbiolo. So the wines are different but both were made for the big dinner table and will really complement fine dining.
Next month is the harvest party. Amen to that! It would be nice to have you all attend. We’re going to have music, barrel sampling, wine production tours, food, and friends!