From the Ground Up
Happy New Year! Welcome to year #2 of captivity. Don’t be afraid to be careful and don’t forget to smile!
The vineyard doesn’t understand health issues and politics. It is a living thing and must be cared for. We started pruning the second week of December. It is maybe the most important job that we do all year. What we do in January and February determines what we harvest in September and October. Our selection of wood (spurs and canes) will determine the amount of grapes for this year and it is important to consider what the vines’ needs are for the following year. It will take us until mid-March to get the job done. We are working with 30 people with one supervisor for each six people and two supervisors to oversee the crew. Most of our employees have been with us for at least 15-20 years. To me, pruning is an art and an inexperienced hacking job won’t get it done right.We are waiting for last year’s wines to mature a little so that we can start to judge the whites and rosés and figure out what needs to be done additionally to the reds. Additionally, we are starting to put together wines from 2018 and 2019 for bottling.
I am all excited about bottling our first Carménère. It really looks good and it will one of the few Carménères in California.
2019 Sauvignon Blanc: For the past few years, we have been making our Sauvignon Blanc from two of our estate vineyards, blending the fruit from the two locations because we get a little more acid and crispness from Los Alamos and from Valley View, a little more fruit. Our Sauvignon Blanc has increased in sales over the past few years. In Santa Barbara, this variety has flourished quite well. I like to drink this wine with fried chicken or roasted chicken.
2018 Merlot: Merlot is not just another red wine. This variety has been searching for a home. It was planted everywhere several years ago and really thrives in a cooler climate in heavy soils. Some people might disagree with me but try Pétrus, the greatest Merlot in the world. We grow our Merlot on our Los Alamos Vineyard where it shares company with Italian varieties and Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This one actually tastes like Merlot. It is young and exhibits some tannin and tartness. It definitely needs a little more time and is a wine that, when serving, should be decanted for at least an hour to give it a chance to wake up. I like it with lamb chops - it’s my Croatian heritage.
This year can only get better! We started a little rough but keep safe and say a prayer or two.