Spring is off to a fast start. After several hot days and a good rain, the vines are three weeks ahead of last year. 2011 was one of our coolest growing seasons, yielding one of our smallest crops.
We are well into shoot removal. We usually prune a vine to about fifty producing buds, but Mother Nature pushes additional latent buds from the old wood. These “suckers” or “water sprouts” usually need to be removed. Depending upon the type of pruning and the variety, we remove as few as few as a couple of shoots per vine, or, in the case of Sauvignon Blanc on a Geneva double-curtain trellis, up to 120 shoots. Most of these shoots do not bear fruit, and those that do produce fruit of questionable quality. Shoot removal is a long, tedious job, but it gives us control of the vine canopy.
We had an April frost that gave us a scare, so we used our frost protection sprinkler systems, and, after about 25 million gallons of water, all is well. We are almost past the time of potential frost. Amen.
2010 Riesling: There is a new group of wine drinkers who are really into floral, sweeter, more fruity taste, and the Riesling variety is on the comeback trail. At one time not long ago, it was a dominant white variety, but I don’t feel it will return to that status any time soon.
Riesling grows in small tight clusters and is very susceptible to botrytis. Cool Los Alamos is one of those areas where botrytis can be the type that helps to improve wine character.
We only grow 7 acres of Riesling. At the present time, we use about half for Lucas & Lewellen and the balance is being taken by V. Sattui.
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Club Reserve: This is our last release of the classic Lucas and Lewellen label. The grapes for this wine come from a steep slope in our Valley View Vineyard where, not only is everything done by hand, but the slope is too steep for tractor use. Facing the south with maximum sun, it’s a unique spot for growing French Clone 337, one of the most popular clones in the past 15 years, noted for desirable Cabernet character. This is one of the last parcels that we pick each year and the quality is exceptional. The Special Club Reserve is 100% Cabernet so you can enjoy the distinction that this terroir provides.
Make a date with Andy at the 10th Anniversary Party at the L&L Tasting Room on Friday, June 15th. Andy thinks he’s 10 years younger! The next day is the annual BBQ on the Lucas lawn overlooking the Valley View Vineyard. Bring a smile!