The days go slow but the years go fast. I just completed my fiftieth harvest in Santa Barbara County. Each year, we start over again, and that is where we are now. We have had some very cold mornings so the frost has helped to remove the leaves. Within the next two weeks, we will start pruning and the whole process begins again. We always have something to look forward to!
We finished this past year with a smaller crop but one of quality, and we were able to pick enough grapes to do the things we need to do. Grapes that should be highlighted are Sangiovese, Barbera, Muscat, and Cabernet Sauvignon. One disappointment was Pinot Grigio, not for the quality but it was just a very light crop.
2017 Sparkling Rosato: It is pretty and it’s pink! It gets its color from a splash of Dolcetto and a little bit of floral character from Malvasia Bianca. Refreshing and should be enjoyed with the holiday season. It was made in a brut style. Can be enjoyed with light appetizers.
2019 Riserva: This is probably the highest-scoring of all our Italian wines. Toccata Riserva is a true Super Tuscan with some high-class Cabernet, a little bit of Clone 6 and Clone 337. The balance is Sangiovese, which has become one of the best varieties produced in the Los Alamos region. We have a waiting list for grapes and have planted and grafted additional acreage over to Sangiovese.
2019 Freisa Rosso Dolce: How much wine can you produce on five rows? One of the oldest Italian varieties and may be the rarest in California, its tannins are so bold that it lends itself to being made with residual sugar. It is amazing how the tannins can overcome the sweetness. This is a very rich-tasting wine. Don’t let the sugar scare you away!
If getting old makes you wiser, I am becoming a very wise man. It is all about being thankful, grateful, and being associated with a large number of special people. The true gift of Christmas is family and friends, and we are in the friendship business. What a gift. Wishing you all of God’s blessings for the New Year.