Happy New Year! In the farming business, we always say that it will be better next year. Next year is here and so is El Nino. We just got our first dose of about 3 inches of rain this week and it is a very good beginning. Three inches is a very good irrigation for our vineyards this time of the year. Let’s hope that Mother Nature will build upon it. We have been able to make it through the past few years with just enough water but this one needs help.
We started pruning in early December. It takes 35 workers about 90 days to prune our vineyards. It is one of the most tedious jobs that we do. Selection of the proper canes and spurs will determine what kind and what size of crop we have. On January 23rd, we will have our annual pruning party. Even hackers are invited! It’s usually a fun day and gives you new insights to what it takes to maintain a vineyard.
This month’s shipment is from our Goodchild Vineyard, 12 miles east of Santa Maria, directly across from Bien Nacido and Cambria Vineyards, one of the great cool locations for grapes anywhere n the world. This is the proper place to grow these two premium varieties.
2013 Chardonnay, Goodchild Chardonnay: French oak barrel fermented with about 30% newer oak. The oak is well represented but not over powering. Grapes were very mature, producing a wine at 14.5% alcohol with a creamy richness of tropical fruit and a nice full mouthfeel. The blend is comprised of 50% of our old vineyard fruit with 50% of our young vineyard fruit. Our old vines, planted on their own roots, have a spicy character that has been inherent in those soils for many years. The newer vines are grown with a split canopy where we divide the vine into two sections for optimum leaf exposure to the sun.
2014 Pinot Noir, Goodchild “High 9”: How do you follow a wine like the 2013 High 9 Pinot Noir that was rated at 93 points in Wine Enthusiast Magazine? It’s easy. Make it better! For our 2014 High 9 Pinot Noir, we purchased 17 brand new François Frères barrels, the best for Pinot Noir. 40% of High 9 was aged in these barrels. Louis (the Dirtman’s friend!) did a better job of selecting the picking date, although we almost missed it. Megan and Ian took it from there and pampered this wine until bottling. This one may be the best yet. I’ve been saying that a lot the last few years, and it works well with the goals that we’ve been setting for our wines. This wine is rich, full flavored, and dark colored without over extraction. It shows what can be done with exceptional grapes and great care. You can take this one to that bring-your-own-bottle party and be the star of the show! Enjoy it with anything or nothing at all!
Also included in your shipment is our annual heartthrob gift, a Queen of Hearts, vintage 2011, Sauvignon Blanc and here’s a quote from Megan McGrath Gates: “It’s nutty and creamy with great color and flavors of tropical fruit and mango - nice acidity and beautiful fragrance.” I think she minored in philosophy! Anyway, the winemaker has spoken. Drink it with your sweetheart.