Is there such a thing as a perfect BBQ? We came close. Marvelous people joined us, we had cooperation from the weather, and the big Sherpa Fire stayed on the other side of the hill. Thank you to all of you who were there, and a special thanks to Dan for cooking, Jill for the beans and her famous cookies, Lynne for the great salad, and to Cindy and Susan who poured the wines.
We’ve had two major heat spells and made it through without any major issues in the vineyard or with water shortages. Last Friday I saw my first sign of veraison - a little black berry showed up on a bunch at the High 9 Vineyard. It means that we’re at about 40 days to harvest. So I pushed the panic button! We have wine that still needs to be bottled and Dan still needs to put on the finishing touches in the vineyard. Wow.
Over the years, I’ve taken a lot of guff by several people that I grow too many varieties. This is not an apology. Santa Barbara County gives you the opportunity to do it and the wines have become so much more than I ever expected. If nothing else, we have proved it to be a great place to grow grapes. One case in point: our Viognier has won just about everywhere, most recently at the Central Coast Wine Competition where it took Gold with 95 points, and another Gold at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. And we thank Gabe Saglie of the Santa Barbara News-Press for giving this wine a great recommendation yesterday.
2014 Riesling: We now have 4 acres of this variety. This past year, we grafted the other 3 or 4 acres to Pinot Noir. For me, Riesling has been a misunderstood variety. The main reason is that you usually never know the amount of sugar it contains. It is still a great variety and we kept our best vines. Our 2014 is a great example of the grape. These flavors of apricot and honey lead to fruit that is pronounced and creamy. The residual sugar is .62 which is similar to a Rombauer or Jed Steele Chardonnay. This is not a sweet wine. Put it next to a Chardonnay and your Chardonnay might be in trouble. Drink it with pleasure!
2012 Petit Verdot: We are one of the few that make a 100% varietal Petit Verdot. It is a Bordeaux grape with huge tannins, great color, and is singularly focused in flavor. It is one of the last grapes to pick so it can be susceptible to rain damage. If you have a Cabernet that is blah, you give it a shot of Petit Verdot to add backbone to the wine. Not an early maturing wine - you can lay it down for years. It is part of our Valley View Cabernet blend and occasionally I co-ferment a little Petit Verdot in Cabernet. I think the grape is essential if you want to make a great Bordeaux wine. Our 2012 vintage is the product of an excellent growing season. The grapes were very mature at harvest making for a wine that drinks well.
The Vineyard Tour this year might include harvest! We’ll see. It’s a great time to view the vines, showing them maturing after all that has been done over the past year to make them perfect.
Finish summer on a high note!