Toccata - A Little Bit of Dust from the Dirtman
It can’t be August! Harvest is just a few weeks away. We farmers always have to talk about the weather. The summer has been very positive for growing conditions. The lack of winter rains has caused us to irrigate much more than normal with sprinklers and drip irrigation. This year’s crop looks about normal in size and is larger than I thought it would be after last year’s large crop. I still have to be convinced that the berry size this year isn’t smaller. It looks that way but I seem to be one of the few that thinks it is smaller. Winemakers love small berries. They claim it makes the wines more intense, but they’ll take credit for it either way!
I continue to see progress with our Italian wines and more interest in the grapes that we grow from other wineries. At this year’s Vineyard Tour we’ll see the grapes a little riper than in years past. It looks like the harvest will have an earlier start which is a plus. It gives us more time and a better opportunity for grapes to reach full maturity, and it makes for better wines.
2011 Dolcetto: I’ve been waiting for years for Dolcetto to break out of obscurity. I’m seeing a few glimpses of hope. It makes a very nice, low alcohol, low acid, pleasant wine. Not only is it a great food wine, but Dolcetto can be enjoyed every day. Our acreage of this variety is quite small at 3 1/2 acres, which is mainly consumed by Toccata. For several years, grapes have been sold to Bargetto Winery. It’s the perfect mate for pepperoni pizza!
2009 Nebbiolo Barbera: This blend has now started to make its mark, not only at Lucas & Lewellen, but in Piemonte. This wine can be deceiving. If you close your eyes, it has twice as much color! It’s big, robust, with lots of tannin yet not that dark in color. Nebbiolo is one of the most tannic varieties but is a little more salmon in color. When we first crush the grapes, the juice looks orange for the first few days of fermentation.
Our original blend of these two varieties was made by mistake. I was trying to make a Nebbiolo Barbera Rosé. We let the must sit over night to pick up a little color and in the morning we had red wine. We put it off to the side for about a year and a half, tasted, and what a surprise! It was our first Nebbiolo Barbera red wine. Sometimes even mistakes can turn out to be something special. This wine would go well with a lamb roast or a pork roast and anything cooked with olive oil.
If we’re short of pickers, bring your clippers! Have a true Labor Day!