Happy New Year! It is time to start all over again. Vintage 2017 will be another exceptional vintage. Weather was helpful throughout the harvest season. Our big scare came from fires on all sides of us from the middle of harvest until the end. We were very fortunate that the wind blew ash and smoke away from us. Later in the year, plenty of ash and smoke came our way but the harvest was already in. Some of our friends and fellow vintners in the Napa and Sonoma area were not so lucky. But even there, 80% of the crop was harvested before the fires came. Grapes absorb smoke through the skins and that can taint the wine. Smoke taint is very harmful from a marketing standpoint.
We started pruning the vines about the 12th of December and we will be doing that through the first week of March. To grow exceptional grapes, we use pruning as a selection process to retain the best fruiting canes and spurs, reduce bud counts, and fit the canopy for protection from the sun.
2015 Viognier: I describe Viognier as a white wine that missed its calling but is now on the rebound. We have narrowed down our Viognier vineyard to two main locations in Santa Ynez and Los Alamos. We selected Los Alamos Viognier for this wine. We grafted some of the Santa Ynez Viognier to Cabernet Sauvignon. Our popular 2016 Pinot Noir Rosé has 10% of this Viognier to for fruity flavors and a fresher finish. Because we grow it in a cooler region, the wine has a little more zest, a little more acidity, and more distinct flavors. This vintage is characteristic of the variety with hints of grapefruit and melon. Enjoy as a cocktail wine, or let it balance the spice of Asian food.
2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Clone 6: Recently, two wine writers made comments about L&L “Clone 6” Cabernet. One said it was a good reason to come to Solvang. The other said that it is the best Cabernet to leave Santa Barbara County. Our 2014 follows in the footsteps of its predecessors with 100% Clone 6 clonal selection and great color - an outstanding example of what Cabernet should taste like. A small change in the oak regimen was made with the addition of a few barrels of French oak similar to those used in the Medoc region of Bordeaux. The oak is noticeable in the nose. The tannins are at a mid point in softening and the finish is almost minty but without the zing. It has got to go with prime rib, and any other thing that’s prime. This one’s the real thing.
2014 Queen of Hearts Chardonnay: I have been married to the Queen of Hearts for 28 years, but I can’t say that out loud! It is time for Valentines again, and this wine serves as a reminder that this is the season for all good men to come to the aid of their wives! This wine and label are made for fun. Serve it cold and with laughter and love. This one is on the house.
For you hackers, it’s time for Prune a Row! Hopefully, scheduling this event will be an inspiration for the skies to rain! If it stays clear, join us on January 20th at the Valley View Vineyard. Bring band-aids.