Happy New Year! Last year’s plans are memories and it’s time to make some new ones. This time of the year, the vineyard is very dormant. Leaves have all fallen with the aid of some of the cold weather that we’ve had. We are busy pruning, praying for rain, and taking a good look at the nutritional needs of the vineyard. There is always something to do.
I wish you all could have been on the Wine Club cruise with us in November. It definitely was a memory maker. It started with nine of us on an excursion to Croatia. Croatia is an beautiful country and, for me, the highlight was visiting the island of Hvar where my grandfather, my mother’s father, was born. Seeing and feeling the land of your heritage really brings some emotion with it. The economy of the island is mainly tourism but from there, it’s wine and olive oil. We had an opportunity to taste the wines of Croatia. They are a thousand percent better than when I was there 50 years ago for the first time. The wines were good but there were a few problems. Their industry is growing very rapidly and there is a need for new facilities to make their wine, and that is a work in progress. The cruise covered some great places like the view in Montenegro, the streets of Monaco, Vatican City, wine tasting in Lucca, the rosés of Provence, and lunch in downtown Barcelona. The main highlight was the fun we had with the people with us, even though Anjie was giving me orders!
Vintage 2016 looks really good. Wines are bold, bright, and the grape harvest was what you would want it to be. So, we have something to look forward to!
2016 Gewurztraminer: Fresh in the bottle, just bottled in December. Nice spicy flavors with nice Gewurztraminer bouquet in the nose. Grown in our Los Alamos Vineyard, Gewurztraminer was the first grape harvested in 2016. In the past, the Gewurztraminer residual sugar was in the sweet range, like 1.5%, and we’ve been adjusting some of our wines down. This one is at .8 residual sugar, which is just enough to balance the acidity, give good mouth feel, and is definitely not sweet. I think this is an example of progress. We are trying hard to make these wines even more appealing. My next project with this grape is to give it a new name!
Syrah Noir - Vertical Blend: Everybody says “What’s a vertical blend?” That’s a question I get all the time. We took 10 barrels of Syrah Noir, four from 2012, three from 2013, two from 2014, and one from 2015 - now I’ve got everybody confused - and we put them together. The grapes came from the same six rows of Syrah Noir in our Los Alamos Vineyard. The resulting wine emphasizes bacon flavors. It’s gamey, it’s funky, it’s meaty, and it’s different! This character is unusual but does exist in some Syrah vineyards. We captured this character in this wine, inspired by the huge, bold, and similar 2003 vintage that you long timers remember. Andy has been telling me for years that we need to do it again. I should have named it Andy’s folly. It’s a fun wine, it’s different, and it was worth the effort that we went through to do it. Best with, of course, a pork roast and anything barbecued.
We’ve also included, for you heart throbbers, the Queen! This time, it’s 2012 Merlot from our Los Alamos Vineyards, 94% Merlot, 5% Syrah, and 1% Cabernet Franc from our creek vineyard. The wine is big, has depth, great color, mature smooth tannins, and plum in the nose - one of our best Queens, and fit for a queen.