From the Ground Up
Happy New Year! This is round number 45 in the saga of growing grapes in Santa Barbara County! One last remark about last year’s vintage is that it should be exceptional. Our harvest was early and we were able to pick all grapes at optimum levels without any interference by Mother Nature. The High 9 Pinot looks like it might be the best ever and we acquired the best possible new François Frères barrels for its aging. The Valley View Cabernet is bold, black, and big.
We have been pruning since the 10th of December. The grape wood is good considering that we've finished the third crop in a row with above average tonnage. It will take us until March 1st to finish pruning.
Rain watch - we received almost half of our normal yearly rainfall in December alone but, since Christmas, no rain and none forecasted until after the middle of January. It is a point of concern.
From our Valley View Vineyard, co-fermented with 4% Viognier. As David Johannsen has probably already noticed, our label says Los Alamos. Can you imagine that we made a mistake? But it is what it is, and it’s very good. These grapes are from the area of our vineyard that had been sold for several years to premiere winemaker Heidi Barrett. This wine recently received a Gold Medal and 90 point score at the Rhône Tasting in San Francisco.
Another of our Rhône varieties, Viognier, won the Double Gold and our Late Harvest Viognier won a Gold. We have only just recently released the 2011 Syrah in our Tasting Room and it’s a hit already. A very well balanced wine with big tannins - will get even better with age. The little bit of Viognier gives it a hint of complexity. Let’s not get carried away...but this one’s got it.
You’ve heard it before. As young vines get older, grapes usually get better as the root system and canopy develops. This really holds true for our Malbec. This wine has a bigger presence, and it has more of everything from color to tannins and fl avor. This one will get better with just a little age. Malbecs usually age sooner and are even blended into other wines to get them to mature sooner. Malbec is a big berry variety which can cause the wine to be thin due to juice to skin ratio. Not the case with this wine. This wine is what Malbec is supposed to be. Pair it with foods with a little zest. The softness of this wine complements the spice and doesn’t compete with it. I think it’s great with Mexican food and anything with barbecue sauce.
Also included this month is a Queen of Hearts Merlot to share with the queen of your heart!
Congratulations to the L&L Tasting Room for best Christmas window display during Solvang JuleFest. My train went around in circles 4,000 times to help get the award! Youngsters particularly enjoyed the window.
You hackers get ready. Prune a Row is this Saturday.