Harvest is over and we’re well into the pruning. When we look at the 2011 vintage, maybe the best word to describe it is “different,” but the end of the growing season brought everything together and I feel that it will be one of the best vintages ever. We had a cool growing season with spring frost, no summer, light rain in the middle of harvest followed by drying winds, and some nice warm days to finish the ripening of the grapes. Crop size was comparitively small due to weather conditions, yet we were able to get the grapes picked ripe, sound, and delivered to the winery in an orderly manner. Outside sales of our grapes were much in demand by the likes of ZD, Caymus, Trincero, V. Sattui, and Kendall Jackson.
Looking forward to our upcoming Prune-a-Row party! Pruning may be the most important and difficult job that we do in the vineyard. It will determine the quantity, quality, and character of our 2012 vintage.
2009 Viognier: Viognier has yet to make it to the dance, but it’s showing its versatility. We make it dry, sweet, and late harvest. This vintage is enhanced by a small amount of residual sugar, which seems to add to the taste and character of the wine, especially in the delicate essence of pears. We affect the residual sugar by stopping the fermentation at a certain level. In this wine, we stopped at .91%, which is not very much when we consider a sweet wine in the 3.0-5.0% and late harvest at 10.0% or above. This wine is full of flavor.
2009 Goochild “High 9” Pinot Noir: This wine is faced with following the champion, the 2008, a multiple Gold Medal winner, Best of Class, and one of the most exceptional wines ever produced by Lucas & Lewellen. The 2009 is an outstanding Pinot, continuing the legacy of our High 9 vineyard in Santa Maria, made with 100% Clone 667, which yields 2½-3 tons per acre from vines of medium vigor. What impresses me most about this vineyard is that the grapes and vines fully mature at the same time. This is a difference maker. There aren’t many vineyards in the world where this happens almost every year.
2007 Goochild Club Reserve Pinot Noir: The Goodchild Vineyard has 3 tiers: River, Orchard, and High 9. The Orchard is a combination of several clones of Pinot Noir, planted north-south. Usually we plant east-west, but the cool climate allows us to do this, which some say enhances quality. In keeping with our tradition of keeping your Valentine happy, we have included a gift, a bottle of our 2007 Goodchild Club Reserve Pinot Noir. It’s bright, zesty, with less alcohol at 13%. Made in a French style and not over extracted, this wine could serve as a red cocktail wine or great with barbecued salmon, roast chicken, and lamb roast.
I am really excited by the New Year. It’s only my 42nd year of growing grapes in Santa Barbara County. With the vineyards that we have, each year brings a a new challenge of making classic wines. I can’t wait to meet the challenges of 2012.
We wish you a year filled with many smiles!