From the Ground Up
We started pruning on about the 10th of December in our Los Alamos Vineyard. It is probably our biggest job and takes about 35-40 people over a period of about 90 days. "Hack and grin" doesn’t work - it’s a real selection job. I was reminding Dan and Alberto, our vineyard supervisors, that the quality of wood selected should be our first priority and then we should judge the vine for its strength or weaknesses. If it’s weak, cut it back. If it’s strong, leave more buds. The wood selected needs to fit our canopy so that next year, when it’s too hot, we have shade and when it’s cool, we have some space. Our pruning job should give us quantity with quality.
Before we say good-bye to 2012, it was one of the best years ever. Very seldom do we get to pick almost all of the crop at optimum levels. It was a combination of great weather and effort made by our vineyard workers and staff.
2010 Goodchild Chardonnay: The Goodchild Vineyard old vines must be close to 30 years old and continue to be the source of grapes for this wine. The cool "Region 1" Santa Maria Valley gives us a long growing season, with early bud break and a rather late picking time for a varietal ordinarily considered an early variety. This is our only white wine barrel fermented in French oak, the classic style for this variety. Chardonnay continues to grow in favor with wine consumers as the number one selling variety.
2010 Malbec: A few years ago, this variety was the challenge of the day and our vineyard has continued to show improvement each year. California is not a traditional Malbec producer but I’m convinced that it does very well here. This varietal has become important in the blending of wines like our L&L Valley View Cabernet. We’ve had months where a single varietal Malbec is the number one seller in our Tasting Room. It’s so big in color that you expect it to be big and tough with tannins. They’re there but they have a pleasant softness. The wine tastes somewhere midway between Pinot Noir and Cabernet. Argentina’s sales of Malbec in the United States have grown significantly over the past few years. This variety is too good to go away. The maturity of our Malbec vineyard is shown in our 2010. This wine will be enhanced with a little aging in the bottle. We believe in the future of this variety and this past year planted four additional acres.
This weekend is Prune-a-Row. Looking forward to seeing my best dressed pruners. The forecast is cold but not wet. There’s a special bottle in this package for heartthrob day. Share it!
I hope there’s a Canada-America cruise in your future. Fun for all and all for fun!
May the New Year be better than good.