From the Ground Up
Spring sprung in February instead of April. We are at the beginning of what could be our earliest season yet. Little rain and warm weather have pushed the grapes early. Of course, now that they’re out about a foot, we are spending our nights watching for frost. Fortunately, each night has been borderline, but we did need to be there in case temperatures dropped near daybreak. We’re really just babysitters of the vineyard.
The crop looks to me to be lighter in volume than in the past three years. I’m really concerned about what could happen at bloom time. Just call it the farmer’s lament!
Everybody returned from Bordeaux safely and with a smile on their face! The trip was more than you could ask for. Viking River Cruises could not do enough to make us happy. Their care for us was as good as it gets. For me, it was a chance to relive my trips over 30 years ago. It was even more interesting this time because of our Valley View Vineyard, where we grow all the Bordeaux varieties. Our group had the chance to taste what is considered the best wine in the world. My conclusion is that we are becoming very competitive in wine quality.
In Bordeaux, they farm by legislation. Many of the important decisions made in growing grapes are requirements. The Chateau wineries in most cases are showplaces. Many of the buildings and surroundings have held influence over the past 300-400 years. Jill and I took a side trip to Cahors, where Malbec reigns, with its spectacular vineyards, the most modern wine facilities, and great wines! It’s unbelieveable that the Argentinians control this variety. I found the French Malbec to be exceptional.
The best part of the trip were the people who were with us. A side note - that included the new Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Moore!
Our annual Summer BBQ was gifted with a perfect day. Our new lawn, new shade house, and railing made us all very comfortable. The food was an inside job with oak barbecued New York Steak and Lamb Chops, with Moussaka, a Greek dish, Lynne’s salad, and Jill’s cookies! We had our first tasting of the unreleased Valley View Cabernet 2012, Gold Medal winner at the 2015 San Francisco International Tasting.
2014 Rosé of Pinot Noir: This Pinot Noir Rosé has become one of our key wines. Over the years, it has become drier and drier and drier! This one is .24 RS - less than half of Rombauer and Steele Chardonnay! This one has a twist. We have added some Viognier to give it a little fruit. It won a Gold Medal at the Pinot Noir Shoot-out in San Francisco, another Gold at the Pinot Noir Summit in Reno, and a perfect score with 5 out of 5 stars at BevX.com. If I owned a pool, I might make popsicles out of this wine. Just kidding!
2011 Petite Sirah: Soft as silk, delicious, great color, with a little bit of white pepper, and not high in alcohol at 13.5%. To get this good, it would be 15.5 in Napa Valley! This is made from 100% Petite Sirah from our Los Alamos Vineyard’s 40 year old vines. It is great with this month’s lamb recipe and spicy foods because of the softness.
Remember the Vineyard Tour on August 8th - we may be harvesting already! This year’s crop is definitely smaller than the past three years. Some grapes will have unusually low yields, like Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Malvasia Bianca, and Barbera. Vines are already showing signs of maturity with grapes turning soft and lignification of the canes (going from green to coffee color).
This month we celebrate the 4th of July - we just love this country. Enjoy the summer.