Toccata - A Little Bit of Dust from the Dirtman
Some people say to expect the unexpected. About eight weeks ago, the unexpected became a reality for me. I went to the doctor thinking I had the flu, which I did not have, but he gave me some cough syrup anyway and informed me that I had a slight heart murmur. I suggested that we check it out. That was the beginning of four weeks of tests culminating with open heart surgery on May 3rd. I was very fortunate to have outstanding doctors at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. I was released on May 13th and have been in recovery mode for the past few weeks. I am feeling better every day and hope to be able to start operating at near normal fashion soon. I’d like to thank all our friends for their thoughts, prayers, cards, and phone calls. It made me feel more than just cared for. And now about the grapes! The grapes are in full bloom. The flowers have opened, and from the flowers will emerge the berries. This is a critical time in the vineyard. We don’t want it too hot or too cold. What we really want is 75-90°F for 4-5 days to get through the process. of setting the berries In our area we can have some cool weather this time of year and have had cool temperatures during the last 3 or 4 weeks. When I first looked at the blooms last week, they looked irregular due to the cool weather. The past 4 or 5 days have warmed to the mid eighties and things are looking much better. The crop at this point looks average in size but the vines themselves look really good with great color and great growth. It won’t be long until harvest. Another year in the making.
2016 Moscato di Santa Barbara: At times this has been our #1 seller in the Toccata Tasting Room. Designed as a spinoff of Moscato d’Asti, we picked the grapes at lower sugar levels with a goal of making a wine at 7% alcohol. We captured the natural CO2 with a little frizzante - just a bubble here and there. This wine reminds me somewhat of grape juice, except that the Muscat grapes impart such a floral character. It’s sweet but not so sweet because we picked the grapes early and kept the alcohol low. If you haven’t tried this one, you need to! Serve it well chilled and drink on a hot day. It’s refreshing.
2016 Pinot Noir: They do grow Pinot Noir in Italy! In most cases, it’s called Pinot Nero. This one is barrel selected, mostly from the Goodchild Ranch. We looked for a little more intensity and this one is exceptional. It is not an ordinary Pinot. There just might be a few select “High 9” barrels in it.
2015 Nebbiolo Barbera: We made this one by accident several years ago when trying to co-ferment a rosé that we let sit overnight that ended up with too much color. Believe it or not, now, several years later it’s one of the most popular blends in the world. These two prominent varieties in Italy come from the same region and it was natural for them to be blended together. This wine will age well. The 39.8% Barbera adds color and jammy flavor to the more austere, tannic Nebbiolo grape. Of course, serve it with Italian food and sausage, but also try it with smoky pulled pork or grilled lamb.
By the time you receive this newsletter, we will all have enjoyed the Summer BBQ. Hope you didn’t miss it! If you’re looking for something to do, we have our Vineyard Tour in early August, where you will be able to see the vineyard up close prior to harvest. It’s a fun day.