The year is already half gone! The grapes have flowered and set and harvest is about 70 days away. The weather is our determining factor. We had a cool spring which slowed the flowering process a little but, most importantly, we only had 1 or 2 nights of frost threats and we were able to handle that situation.
At the present time, we are doing shoot removal, removing unwanted and usually unfruitful shoots enabling that saved energy to go to the remaining grapes and shoots, strengthening the vine. We would not keep those at pruning time anyway. Removing them now makes pruning easier and improves the quality of the canes for next year’s crop. Next comes leaf removal, which is done around the clusters and only on the morning sun side of the vine, giving the fruit light to improve color and maturity. The crop this year looks to be normal in size. What is normal anyway?
2021 Viognier: Viognier was brought to the United States about 25 years ago by Randall Grahm under great controversy. Recently I discovered that the variety originated in about the year 300, mainly on the island of Vis in Croatia, where my grandmother is from The variety progressed to France during the years 400-500 to be grown on the Rhône, the heart of Syrah country, in a place called Condrieu. Our Viognier is grown primarily at the Los Alamos Ranch in a warm region but still cool enough to make great Viognier. People tend to want to grow it where it is warmer and I think the cooler area makes it more complex with a variety of flavors. This wine reminds me of a Sauvignon Blanc to the light side. Picking time is crucial. Don’t pick until the flavor is there.
2018 Syrah: This is one of our best. Why? It is from the Valley View Vineyard where our Syrah has been coming from, except it was primarily from 3 spots on the hillside which produced grapes with a little more intensity and, more importantly, a little more maturity and it shows up in this wine. This wine also reflects the barrels it was put in. This one is upscale and shows again what the Valley View Vineyard can do. Buy some now. The supply is limited.
2019 Cabernet Franc: What can I say about vines that are within 100 feet of my doorstep? They’re spoiled. They’re pampered. And they produce great Cabernet Franc. This one could stand additional aging. It drinks well now but has the potential for greatness. Put a few bottles away for aging. It’s a keeper for its color and richness. How can black cherry show up in a Cabernet Franc? It did in this wine.
I am crazy about the three wines you are receiving this month, and now I am looking forward to harvest, the Harvest Party, the Vineyard Tour, and a lot of work in the vineyard. It is summertime. Enjoy it, and take time out to smile.