In the past couple of weeks, the buds on the vines have swelled and some are beginning to open. The Cabernet Franc in front of my house is already five inches out and you can count the bunches. Our big concern for the next five weeks is the chance of frost or cold weather. We will start manipulating the vines by removing the shoots in another ten days, and the whole process starts all over again.
Outdoors is where we usually work the vineyards but now it seems we’re doing a lot of other things outdoors, like selling wine! There has been growing interest in Italian varieties, especially Sangiovese. We are planting new vines and grafting a few acres over to Sangiovese. Even though we are still wine tasting in the streets, the new Toccata Tasting Room has attracted more people and more interest in our Italian wines.
2018 Rosato di Nebbiolo: Nebbiolo is still the most difficult grape to grow. Making it into a rosé gets us from the grape to the bottle much faster. Normally Nebbiolo takes a long time to mature. This Rosato is light in color and has fewer tannins due to minimal skin contact, making an easy-drinking spring party wine.
2018 Pinot Noir: The Italians definitely grow Pinot Noir, but it is not a widely used variety in Italy. We make ours to be very approachable and easy to drink. This one is definitely a taste-good wine. Smooth, lots of fragrance, softness - I’d call it delicious and so far it has been a hit with our wine tasters.
2018 Nebbiolo Barbera: This wine represents one of the best mistakes I ever made. While trying to make a Nebbiolo Barbera rosé, we left it overnight for a little bit more color and it became a red wine, and a very good red wine at that. That was 10 or 15 years ago now. Barbera darkens, softens, and adds a touch of jamminess which the Nebbiolo does not possess, resulting in a very approachable wine that would be a complement to any Italian menu.
It is good to see everyone out again, enjoying the sun and fresh air. We have all been given a shot in the arm, once or twice, and it’s all just better. Summer is near. Hopefully we will be able to have a Summer BBQ. The new vintages really look promising, so include us in your world of wine!