Toccata - A Little Bit of Dust from the Dirtman
Tomorrow is the first of April. We’re only weeks away from taking our entourage to Bordeaux. I’ve been reading Hugh Johnson’s “World Atlas of Wine” about Bordeaux, and he treats it like the king that Bordeaux is. It’s been over 30 years since I was last there. Little did I know that we would one day be producing great Bordeaux wines. At that time I was having issues with the Cabernet that I had planted in Santa Maria in what was really too cool of an area. You can grow Cabernet further east of Santa Maria and Sisquoc Ranch is doing well with the variety. At Toccata, the Bordeaux varieties show well with our Sangiovese in both our Riserva and Classico blends, which won a Gold Medal at the Orange County Wine Society tasting.
Our vineyard is moving rapidly due to the warm winter. We are doing things in the vineyard that would normally be done 30-40 days from now like shoot removal, mildew spraying, weed control, and, the most scary, preparing for frost. Normally we protect by running our sprinklers. With water being short, we are trying some alternative methods like heat, wind, and cold air removal machines. After having good rain in December, rain seems to be bypassing us. The next worry will be water for irrigation.
2013 Pinot Grigio: Last Sunday, Jill and I attended the celebration of life for Joe Carrari’s wife, Phyllis. It was held at the old hotel in Los Alamos on a beautiful 87 degree day. We had provided some wines for the Carrari family to make special labels in honor of Phyllis. The major hit of the day was our 2013 Pinot Grigio. Of course, the warm weather helped us out. The main comment was how much flavor and body the wine possessed. This Pinot Grigio is very well balanced because of of the conditions of our Los Alamos Vineyards, which we acquired from Joe and Phyllis about fifteen years ago. This wine served as a fitting tribute to the Joe Carrari family.
2012 Dolcetto: Just released. This one shows some advancement in what we are doing. The Dolcetto grape grows with very large berries and bunches. If left alone, it would produce grapes that would not reach maturity. The vines are spur pruned (meaning we leave a spur with two fruitful buds) and produce many shoots, both on the spur and the old wood of the vine. Shoot removal is essential. We remove everything but two shoots to the spur which sometimes amounts to removing 30 or 40 bunches. Even with that, the vine still produces many grapes. The last few years, we’ve been removing side bunches and, if the bunch is too big, sometimes cutting it in half. This Dolcetto has alcohol of 14.5 which is one of the higher ones that we’ve made. The grapes got very ripe resulting in deep color and a lot of fruit character. In Italy, this one would be labeled “superiore”! This wine will surprise you with how full and soft it is. Dolcetto is probably the lowest acid producing grape of Italian varietals. Normally drunk within 3 or 4 years. I would have this one with Cecco’s Proscuitto or Sausage pizza. In the past, I’ve called Dolcetto “wash down wine” - eat a lot and wash it down! But this one is worth savoring.
We’ve included a special bottle of a Tasting Room favorite, Sangiovese, for you to enjoy, and we’ve raised the discount significantly as a tax time bonus. We like this wine and it seems that you do too.
This year Bordeaux. Next year, a little taste of Italy. We hope you’ll join us. Get ready for summer.