May is here. We still have a couple of weeks for potential frost problems. We had a close call in late April when it dropped down to freezing at Valley View and below freezing at Los Alamos. We were able to avoid the problem with the use of our overhead irrigation system. It is a good thing that it did not last a few days because our water supply is limited.
The vines are well on their way. Some of the early varieties have at least two feet of growth and later varieties are at just 4-6 inches. It is time to start spraying for mildew, removing unwanted shoots, and doing some tractor work to get rid of weeds. It only takes one day to fall 30 days behind!
I hope you enjoy the picture of Tony with a grape grower who hadn’t been on a horse in about 60 years! I rode a great pinto mare for many years growing up. Horses are special. My brother and I bred and raised racing Quarter Horses for over fifty years. Bob Baffert trained our horses for a couple of years before he became the world-renowned Thoroughbred trainer, winning 7 Kentucky derbies.
2021 Chenin Blanc: I planted my first Chenin Blanc in 1970. I don’t think that there was any Chenin Blanc in the county. At that time, California’s best Chenin Blanc was Charles Krug, made by a young Robert Mondavi. It was the white wine that was most popular prior to the complete takeover by Chardonnay. When you go to France, you must go to Vouvray, the home of the world’s best known Chenin Blanc. I have been there a few times and we try to make our Chenin in the style of Vouvray, which is not too high in alcohol and with a small amount of residual sugar from the grapes. Completely dry doesn’t really work in this wine.
2017 Cabernet Sauvignon “Cote del Sol”: This wine is the result of a tasting at Penfold’s in Australia where I had a Cabernet with a small amount of Syrah. I was so impressed that the following year, we made our first Cote del Sol with 92% Cabernet and 8% Syrah picked on the same day and co-fermented, which is difficult to do. Our Cabernet is grown with a split canopy and we pick only the afternoon sun side of the vine for this wine. The sunny side ripens earlier and helps to make possible picking the two varieties on the same day. Why 8% Syrah? It was small and pulled from the sky! This wine is great today or five years from today. Our previous vintage to this one scored 97 points.
2019 Pinot Noir: This wine looks like Pinot, not overly-extracted and with no color additions. Pinot is a variety that people seem to toy with. Ours is under-priced and belongs on your evening table. It can be compared to any Pinot at twice the price. The previous wine scored 90 points and a “Savvy Buy” in Wine Spectator, and this one is better.
Now that we are all free, we are free to do as we please, and of course, drink more wine! Prepare for summer by visiting us.