I thought I left the heat behind 50 years ago when I moved from Delano in the San Joaquin Valley to Santa Maria. We are right in the middle of a major heat wave, which can be detrimental to grapes. So far, everything is holding together.
We started additional irrigations ten days before the heat and, of course, during the heat. How we manage the canopy on the vine is critical because of leaf removal, that gives air and light to the fruit. We are very careful, doing the work only on the morning side of the vine. Some varieties are more susceptible to heat damage. So far, so good. You work all year to get to this point of harvest to have something beyond your control dictate the outcome.
Our vines and grapes have been doing well thus far. We think the crop is a quality one but maybe down in yields a little bit.
2021 Chardonnay, Goodchild Vineyard: What can you say about a wine that you have been making for over 20 years? The uniqueness here is the vineyard and its location in Santa Maria, California, a very cool region which adds to the flavors. Santa Maria is the premier place to grow Chardonnay. This one is distinct. Megan describes it as having tropical flavors and the fact that we put this in oak gives it a little bit of caramel in the finish, but it is not overwhelming.
2021 Rosé of Pinot Noir: We have only been fine-tuning our Rosé of Pinot Noir for 15 years! This one might be the real deal. It scored 91 points at Wine Enthusiast. Rosé wines don’t easily score in the nineties as there are so many on the market competing for attention. What if I told you that, somehow, the Chardonnay that I was discussing above made its way into this rosé? The perfect marriage of Burgundian grapes. It has a finish that rosés usually do not have. This one is good enough to propose a toast.
2019 Five+One: What if I said that Five+One equals six? It is correct, even with new math! We made this wine because someone said it couldn’t be done. It is dominated by Clone 337 Cabernet Sauvignon, which itself has a distinct Cabernet character. With the addition of these other varieties in the fermentation, you get a wine coming from all good directions. We originally added Carmenere to tell the world that we grew it, but now that we make a Carmenere, and with the success that this wine has had, we have good reasons to continue the adventure. This one is capable of being aged. It is unique.
Over the next 8 weeks, harvest will prevail. Looking beyond harvest, the end of January will find us once again in Wickenburg, Arizona with wine loving members. The big surprise is that we are planning an exclusive adventure on a private luxury yacht to my homeland of Croatia. Together we will visit Vis and Hvar where my grandparents were born. I look forward to the Croatian wine experience. The renewal of their wine industry is exciting and this should be a lot of fun! I would prefer that we get an oceanliner and several thousand of you could attend, but this is a small yacht and it will sell out quickly. If you can’t make the boat trip, meet us there anyway!