Toccata - A Little Bit of Dust from the Dirtman
Well, that rain I talked about in your last newsletter showed up! In a short period of time, we are at over 11 inches of rain for the season, or 156% of the year to date average. Normal rain for the entire season is 12-16 inches. Two local dams are full and the big reservoir at Cachuma has water flowing into it from several sources. For a grape grower, rain water helps cleanse the soil of salts. It adds to the holding capacity of the soil and will save us some expense in irrigation.
We are midway into the pruning season. All of our Italian varieties have been pruned, except for Nebbiolo. Nebbiolo buds want to open early so we prune these vines later, which delays that bud opening to protect it during the early threat of frost. Last year we lost about 12 tons of Nebbiolo to frost damage. Prior to the rain, we were eliminating the weeds under the grapevines which will help us in keeping the vineyard clean under the vines. The other weeds we use as a cover crop to control erosion and add humus back to the soil.
Sole Bianco: This is an Italian-styled white blend at a reasonable price. In this wine, we were inspired to make something that really tastes good with a combination of floral and spice characteristics and only a small amount of residual sugar. It is refreshing and goes with light spring fare and can be enjoyed as a cocktail wine.
2016 Barbera: This one is on my preferred list. It has great color and lots of flavor. It’s almost jammy on the finish. The grapes come from 45 year old vines in our Los Alamos Vineyard which were planted on their own roots. The variety tends to be higher in acid. This one is well-balanced and has a hint of new oak - the perfect complement to Italian cuisine.
2015 Riserva: In past years, this has always been one of the highest scoring wines we make at Toccata. This one is no exception. The 2015 vintage was limited in production, made from a small crop of grapes that grew in small clusters with intense flavors. This is an excellent super Tuscan blend of a larger amount of Bordeaux varieties blended with Sangiovese. This one is worth putting away. It will definitely get better with age.
We are looking forward to joining 90 Wine Club members for a trip the Los Caballeros Dude Ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona. It is the birthplace of the Dirtman’s dad, George Kukuruzović.