Toccata - A Little Bit of Dust from the Dirtman
We just passed the point of having over half of our vines pruned. We have a crew of up to 30 men and 10 women pruning and tying. We haven’t missed a day since we started this year. Wish we had rain as an excuse. The mild winter has caused the vines to start thinking about coming out early. There was an article this morning in a wine journal with grape growers from all over California already seeing things beginning to happen in the vineyard. Early bud break usually tells you that you will have an early harvest. It also tells you that you will have a long frost season. With the shortage of water for frost protection, it could be very detrimental to this year’s crop. Most of our Italian varieties from 2014 have been put to rest in barrels. The quality and numbers look very good. Even our late varieties like Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Sangiovese were picked at optimum maturity levels. Our Classico and Malvasia Bianca garnered Gold Medals at the Orange County Wine Society competition.
On January 24th, we had our annual Prune a Row outing, a perfect day with sunshine and a temperature of 74°. We had a fine group of pruners. Damage to the vineyard was minimal - just kidding. It was a great day. Fun, food, and wine for all.
2012 Muscat Canelli: A few years ago, we added an additional five acres of Muscat grapes to meet the needs of our two outside buyers: V Sattui with St. Helena of Napa Valley, and Sokol Blosser in the Willamette Valley of Oregon - two very high end Muscat producers. Sometimes I forget how good Muscat can taste. Just tasted this one. At a perfect 12.5 alcohol, full of multiple flavors of fruit, honey, melon, and a touch of apricot, let’s just call it a fruit bowl with residual sugar from the grapes. It’s delicious. Now what to serve with it? I came up with two recommendations: Spicy Shrimp Scampi and Fish Tacos.
2011 Barbera: Finally, the weather left our Barbera alone. This one cannot take any moisture from Mother Nature during harvest. The maturity factor was high enough in 2011 to mellow this big bold wine with 14.5% alcohol to a wine with perfect deep color and almost jammy flavors. This is what Barbera is supposed to be. These grapes are grown on vines that are almost forty years old. Clusters at this age seem to be smaller, giving these grapes a better chance to really mature. This one needs a star on the label! It goes well with anything Italian. If desperate, bathe in it!
In April, we have the annual Vintners’ Festival Event with Winemaker Dinner and Wine and Cheese Pairings at Toccata. Hopefully some of you will be joining us on the Bordeaux cruise. Andy and Anjie have promised to show up married for the trip. Wow!