Ready or not, harvest is here. We will start harvesting this coming week, picking Goodchild Chardonnay grapes for Champagne, followed by Pinot Grigio and Gewurztraminer in Los Alamos. This year’s crop is slightly less than normal in size. I attribute that to cool weather during flowering, resulting in a little smaller berry size and, in some cases, smaller bunches. I expect the quality to be exceptional. We have had a good growing season with no excessive heat, and we have enough water to take care of the grapes.
My best adventure this month was the bottling of our first Carménère. It only took six years to get here. It is exciting to be doing something that nobody else does. Carménère is a unique grape and it is going to be one that we are all going to enjoy. I can’t wait to release it! We are aiming for mid-October.
2020 Viognier: The world has finally awakened to Viognier. A few years ago when I was in Provence, it was the variety that was most planted. To me, Viognier is a softer, kinder version of Sauvignon Blanc. It is versatile, can be made sweet or as a late harvest wine, and we also add 4-8% to Syrah, which was done historically in the Côte-Rôtie. Honeysuckle with a sweet perfume in the nose gives you a full profile of flavor. Serve chilled. It is best with lighter foods and it makes a great cocktail.
2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Cote del Sol: Our last vintage of this wine earned 97 points at the San Diego International Wine Competition. I can remember when we thought 87 points was a great score! I think back 17 years ago to the first one that we made. I got the idea from visiting Penfolds Vineyards in Australia. I was served a Cab which contained a small amount of Syrah and I really liked it! The following year, Dan Gehrs and I were trying to decide about the grapes on our split canopy trellis system. We were questioning whether there was a difference between the fruit from the morning side and from the afternoon sun side. There was a difference. The decision was to make the two sides separately, which we did, but without telling anybondy, I took a small amount of the sunny side and added 8% Syrah! We tasted the wine later the following year and it was exceptional. I had to go to confession but this is one time I will accept the blame! A small amount of Syrah does wonders to the Cabernet, softening the tannins, removing the rough edges, adding more color, and improving the flavor and mouthfeel. Add a little of Megan’s magic and Cote del Sol is born! This one stands right in line with its predecessors. I always say Cote del Sol is best consumed tomorrow or 6 or 7 years from now.
If I run short of grape pickers, I am going to give you all a call. We hope you all are well and secure and looking forward to the best future.