Toccata - A Little Bit of Dust from the Dirtman
Harvest is in full swing. We have picked about 1/3 of the crop and we are running late calendar-wise. The cool spring and the cool early fall weather has caused us to be about two weeks later than what we would have considered normal over the past 20 years. It is looking to be a good sized crop in quantity. With the long growing season, it should be of good quality. One of the first varieties that we picked was Pinot Grigio, some for us and the rest for St. Helena. Next to pick will probably be Muscat followed by Dolcetto. We might be finished harvesting in time for the Harvest Party on November 10th.
We had a scare last week with storms coming from the north and south. Fortunately, we only got sprinkles before they decided to move east. Barbera, Dolcetto, and Muscat cannot take much rain.
2016 Malvasia Bianca: A variety that very few people grow. It originated in Italy as Malvasia and was one of the first grapes out of Croatia and Greece. It is the most floral, fragrant grape that we grow. We make it both sweet and dry. This month, Whites Only members will be treated to the dry version of our Malvasia, the 2017 Secco. Everyone else will see our traditional Malvasia, which is sweet, but not overly sweet. I once had Toccata Malvasia Bianca paired with spicy shrimp scampi and I was pleasantly surprised.
2016 Dolcetto: Best known as the every day wine of Piemonte. Of all the Italian varieties that I grow, this one has the least amount of acid. The grape grows in large clusters that make it more difficult to ripen, and is lnown for its softness and for being lower in alcohol. This one would qualify as Dolcetto Superiore in Italy because the grapes ripened to above 13.5 alcohol. It might be best enjoyed with pizza or just about anything Italian. I call it “wash down wine”. Eat a lot and wash it down!
2012 Nebbiolo: Nebbiolo is considered the premiere varietal of northwestern Italy, going back in time to at least 1303, named for the fog that comes into the vineyards in late October. It has not been successfully grown in California (except for us!). It is usually grown where it is too hot. Nebbiolo burns very easily and needs a long growing season. It is difficult to grow and difficult to make into wine. It usually has high acidity and is extremely tannic. Some Nebbiolo takes many years in the bottle to mature. In class, it can be compared with the great Cabernets. It has taken me 19 years to figure out this variety in our vineyard. I’m a slow learner! It’s a great challenge for a great grape.