I can’t believe that we’re already halfway into the year with a business that starts over every year! It is bloom time, which means that the vines flower and the berry emerges. We need decent weather to make this happen and what we have had is close enough. I won’t know crop levels until the fruit set takes place, which comes after bloom. The year’s production and quality have a lot of question marks. In the winery we have tasted and done some bottling of last year’s wines. It is looking like 2021 will turn out to be a really good vintage year.
Labor seems to be in short supply which might affect harvest. We pick some grapes early to sell for sparkling wines and rosés. Make sure to try our newly released Rosato di Barbera rosé - a true rosé in color and great flavors.
2020 Malvasia Bianca: This is a rare variety in Santa Barbara County. We have been making it for 17 years. It tastes like a first cousin to Muscat but a little more pronounced in flavor and floral character. This one has a hint of residual sugar which enhances the taste. It is best enjoyed very chilled and can be served as an after-dinner wine or with light foods like chicken or vegetables.
2019 Nebbiolo Barbera: This is the best mistake we ever made. We have probably told this story before. Dan Gehrs and I were making rosé umpteen years ago and the grapes came in late in the evening so we let it sit overnight on the skins with plans to press it off in the morning. Well, thanks to the Barbera, we found that we had red wine the next day. So we made a different batch for rosé and a year and half later, we tasted through those barrels of the co-fermented red blend trying to figure out what to do and found that we had accidentally made a great wine. We have been making it ever since. These two wines are quite different on their own but together they really complement one another.
2019 Toccata Classico: Our version of a Super Tuscan, we make this wine with more emphasis on Sangiovese than on the Bordeaux reds. About 20 years ago, the Antinori family decided on this blend and it became a major hit for them, which is now in a category all its own. Sangiovese seems to soften the edges and boldness of the Cabernet -type grapes, making it a little easier to drink. Enjoy this summer with grilled meats and sausages, meaty pastas, eggplant parmesan, and backyard grills.
Don’t forget our Harvest Party in August and our Vineyard Tour in September. This year’s tour being a little later will give you a chance to see grapes approaching ripeness and development. Maybe we can do some grape tasting! I’ll bring my sugar tester. You bring your hat.