Hope you had a happy early Easter. The past few nights I had a chance to see a lot of rabbits! Spring started with a mini cold wave so the past two nights have been spent in the vineyard driving around in circles watching temperature gauges and being prepared to turn on fans, sprinkler systems, or our new frost guard machines which are tractor driven and weave their way through the vineyards. We had an early bud break, at least as early as last year. We’re already very busy in the vineyard putting on first applications of mildew control. We started doing some suckering (shoot removal) in Viognier, Muscat, and Petit Verdot. In some varieties we have been able to see the new clusters emerging. They look plentiful. Our big concern here is not to experience the trouble we had during flowering last year with cool and overcast weather. Normally we like to get the flowering period over in 5 or 6 days. Last year it took 3-4 weeks. Grapes are self pollinating which means they take care of themselves, but temperature during flowering is critical. It looks like another early season.
2013 Pinot Grigio - We are one of the few vineyards that grow this variety in cool climate locations, namely Santa Maria and Los Alamos. As a result, we get more flavor, better acidity, and wines that are distinctly Pinot Grigio. It is related to Pinot Noir and enjoys the cool climate conditions. This vintage is perfect for a cocktail wine and also goes well with picnic foods. The flavors in this one will surprise you. Try it with your eyes closed!
2012 Dolcetto - This one is a very polished wine. It is smooth, and could easily be mistaken for a darker California Pinot Noir. This is one of the few varieties that can actually be used to blend with Pinot Noir to add a touch of body, a little more color, and help to stabilize the color. This wine shows some influence from a selection of older oak barrels. That was a surprise It is so pleasant that it could be served as a cocktail wine and would really complement pasta and pizza. This is one to reorder! It’s that good.
2012 Nebbiolo Barbera - Pucker up! These tannins are so big that you’ll have to chip them off your teeth! And that’s not a bad thing. This wine is 2/3 Nebbiolo and 1/3 Barbera. It’s a beautiful wine and it screams Italian. One way to approach this big wine is to put it away for a while, like 3-5 years, or be brash and enjoy it now by sticking it with a big hunk of beef, steak, or pot roast to help tame the tannins. This is a good example of what the great grape Nebbiolo is. Our Nebbiolo vineyard is one of the few left in California. The variety has been abused by trying to grow it in the wrong places. Ours is where it needs to be, in the cool climate of Los Alamos.
We need to see you at the Vintners Festival Grand Tasting, our Vintners Wine & Cheese Pairings at Toccata and Lucas & Lewellen, and our Vintners Festival Winemaker Dinner at The Landsby in Solvang. In the meantime, enjoy the spring.