I’m still thinking about Croatia. I could not believe how far their wines have advanced from sixty years ago. It’s hard to make good wines under Communism. The individual incentive to get things done is gone, and everything ends up in one tank.
I can’t believe we are only a couple of months away from harvest. The next sixty days are crucial to getting the grapes ripe, and it’s more than just ripening. We are thinking of how we should treat these vines so that the grapes will be able to produce the kind of wines we would like to make. Manipulating the canopy involves removing leaves, unwanted shoots, exposure to sun, hedging, spraying with nutrients, and managing the water applications. When you are dealing with 400 acres and more than 600,000 vines, it tends to be a little overwhelming. We are fortunate that most of our farm employees have been with us for many years and understand what we are trying to do. They are also a part of our vineyard family. Looking forward to harvest.
2021 Malvasia Bianca: We only have about 3 acres of this variety. It’s not that well known, and when you taste the wine and grapes, you figure it has to be related to the Muscat family. It’s close. In many cases, it is made sweet, and this one is. Occasionally we make it dry and refer to that as our “Secco” style. Expect a wine that is full of flavor and dominated by floral perfume. This one would go well with fruit desserts.
2021 Pinot Noir: Our Toccata Pinot Noir is quite similar to Lucas & Lewellen’s. We draw from the same areas of grapes. We try to get these grapes a little riper, which makes the wine a little bolder and fruitier. There is a clone I like called Clone 115, which we use to make this wine. I would say that this wine is a first cousin to our Goodchild “High 9” Pinot Noir. You can serve this one with a little chill on a hot day with grilled salmon, mushroom appetizers, and I will enjoy mine with a little Chicken Marsala.
2020 Barbera: Bold and deep and rich! I don’t know where Joe Carrari got the cuttings from when he planted this vineyard, but it produces outstanding grapes. As you know, it blends well with Nebbiolo. If it were a French variety, it would fall somewhere between Malbec and Syrah. This one is made for all Italian food. Exceptional.
For those of you who are white wine fans of Viognier, across the street at Lucas & Lewellen, our 2022 vintage just scored 98 points with Best of Show, Best White Wine, and Best Viognier, at the Central Coast Wine Tasting at Paso Robles. I am looking forward to the Vineyard Tour. This year it is a little later so that you will have the chance to see grapes at a more advanced stage. Makes it more interesting.