Harvest is over - wine. food and rain ahead
Harvest is over and it was a fast and furious one this year. It started earlier than ever and we were done with Cabernet Sauvignon at the end of September which is record early. But the season also started much earlier than usual, so the overall length of the season was normal. After several years of big harvests we had a lighter crop than usual. One of the reasons is a year of very uneven weather. We had a mild winter so bud break was early. Then followed a cooler spring and bloom dragged out for quite a while. This resulted in smaller or uneven clusters. And the grape berries were a bit smaller. But the flavor of the resulting wine is already very deep and intense which is probably due to the smaller berry size.
The grapes are picked, they have been through crush and press and fermentation. The wine is now resting in oak barrels and for some of the white wines, in steel tank. It is time to reflect a bit.
We have yet to see the big rains that are forecasted for this winter. We had about an inch of rain last week which gave the whole valley a clean look. Last year we did not do as bad as other areas in California; we had about 85% of normal rainfall for the season. But when it came down it really came as waterfalls. In particular we had a 24 hour period in December when we got 8 inches. That day, one of our roads up in the upper vineyard was almost covered by a mudslide from the steep side above the road. We got that whole side stabilized now.
El Nino is the talk of the town and the conversation goes from fear of getting too much at once to fear of not getting the rains this far north and missing out on needed refill of our water reservoirs. As with everything which has to do with nature we will have to wait and see.
Now we are preparing for the fun of “Wine and Food Affair”. It is a fun event weekend where many of the wineries in Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley participate with a recipe which is served in our tasting room paired with a wine. I have chosen our new release 2011 West Tuscan Cuvée and Ken Rochioli has created a great Truffle and Mushroom Risotto which enhances the wine beautifully. The recipe is now available here on our website in the recipe section. I am very excited about this new Tuscan blend which I make in the same style as the Super Tuscans of Italy with Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. And it is a great wine for a rainy winter evening, nestled up close to the fireplace. Cheers!