Toccata - A Little Bit of Dust from the Dirtman
Just returned from a wonderful trip to Bordeaux, France. It was a great experience to see some of the finest vineyards in the world. We were accompanied by the nicest people you could ever meet. When you think of Bordeaux, you think of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon but Merlot really dominates with over 60% of all the plantings. As a grape grower, I was surprised at how cool and wet it can be. I’m always amazed at the variety of conditions under which people can grow grapes. I was impressed with the care given to their vines and with the 500 years of history.
We use some Bordeaux varieties at Toccata in the Riserva and Classico. Cabernet, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc blend really well with Sangiovese. This combination has become world renowned in wine circles. Our Classico won the Gold at Orange County this past year - a really nice wine at a reasonable price.
We originally thought that harvest season here in Santa Barbara County was going to come early this year due to the warm winter weather and early bud break, but the month of May was extremely cool and the vines’ progress has been slowed. I think we may have lost that early edge. This weather has caused the vines to complete their blooming cycle slowly and the crop looks to be variable in size and set. It will take more time to see what we really have.
2013 Ramato: Is it blush, or is it rosé? It’s Ramato! Pinot Grigio with light skin contact. We’ve been making this wine two different ways, one similar to rosé with light skin contact, and the other by actually trying to ferment the Pinot Grigio with its skins. There hasn’t been too much difference except for the deeper color that came with fermenting on skins, and the need for a little back blending. It’s very well received in the Tasting Room, always surprising guests that it’s made from Pinot Grigio. Rosé type wines have become one of the fastest growing areas in consumer acceptance. No longer just summer wines, they fit with almost any type of food.
2012 Pinot Noir: In another bottle, this wine won at Orange County! It’s a full brother to our “High 9” Goodchild Vineyard which we exposed to some new French oak. Because we do only one Pinot at Toccata, Toccata, our decision was to make the best wine that we can, and this truly is one of our best. In Italy it’s no surprise that they’re planting more Pinot, especially in the cooler parts of the Piemonte region at the base of the Alps. Our Goodchild Vineyard is one of the cooler locations for Pinot in the area. This wine is good to impress your friends! Che bello! (How lovely!)
This will be our 11th year of having a Summer BBQ at the Valley View Vineyard. You would think it would be simple by now! I’ve been working on the yard for about five weeks but it seems that the vineyard always gets first attention. I want you to know that my yard is not drought resistant, so you’ll have to endure the trees, the flowers, the bushes, and all of the Lucas & Lewellen staff.