Toccata - A Little Bit of Dust from the Dirtman
It is the first week of December and today we picked the final few grapes that were left. The last five tons of Muscat Canelli could become a late harvest or a sweet Muscat Canelli. This year’s large vintage is exceptionally high in quality. The weather was kind to us throughout the entire harvest period. We started late and we finished late. Varieties like Barbera and Nebbiolo that tend to be difficult to get ripe were left alone by the weather so we were able to pick at some of the highest maturity levels that we have seen. Because of the size of the crop, the long growing season allowed the grapes to really ripen. All the Italian varieties were helped by the extra time on the vine, not only with sugar levels and mature skins but with lowered acids. I’ve taken a look at some of the new wines. They’re intense, full of flavor, and the color is unbelievable. It will be interesting. Now if we could just get it to rain about 20-25 inches, we would be helped in the new year.
2016 Sparkling Rosato: I am going to repeat what I said 12 months ago when we did an early release of this Sparkling. This is that same Sparkling Wine but we held the balance back for two years like you are supposed to do. The extra time made it even better. This is what I said the first time: “For the first time, 95% of this wine is Pinot Grigio with additions of 3% Malvasia Bianca and 2% Dolcetto, showing an emphasis on the Italian varieties. In studying about the Champagne region of France, I happened to find that Pinot Gris is used in some areas in their Sparkling Wines. That was enough to set me off on a quest to try it. I think we have come up with something special, bright and refreshing with some lively fruity flavors, and it’s pink. Sparkling is not usually fruity but tends to be more on the tart side. The Malvasia Bianca adds to the complexity. This wine is designed for fun and is great to ring in the New Year.”
2015 Classico: We have been doing this wine for over 15 years and this is the classic Classico. 2015 was one of the more unique years in my experience as a grape grower with a small crop, small clusters, and exceptional wines, but not enough of them. This one continues our usual Classico blend, which is more Sangiovese than any other variety. Intense and full of flavors, this one has become the darling of several wine writers. Over at the SpritofWine.com blog, they said this wine was like “Pulling on my big down coat for a walk through the snow to grandpa’s little cottage, where I know the fireplace will be blazing and warm.” A unique wine description! This one is in short supply and is suited for collectors.
2015 Rosso Dolce: This is the only sweet red that we make. Freisa lends itself to being sweet. In Italy, it is also made into sparkling red. There are very few acres to my knowledge in the United States, probably under five acres, of which we have 1 1/2. It grows in small clusters but plenty of them. Really deep in color, huge tannins almost cover up the residual sugar, making it more semi-sweet but unique. It is well worth trying even for those who might object to a sweet red wine. It will surprise you. It does extremely well in the tasting room. Being another wine from 2015, this one is in short supply.
It’s Christmas, a time for giving, friends, and family. This past year has been a very challenging one for me. I have been given the gift of health. I have so many people to thank for their thoughts and prayers. Looking forward to the new year. God bless you all.