Harvest Update – 9/11/14 Harvest Update – 9/11/14

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Hi All,

Today’s 5 day forecast: HOT!

This is the kind of forecast we have been hedging against all season, and this is what we thought an early harvest may bring. It is not just that it is hot, but that it is hot in early September versus early October. What that means is longer days, higher sun angles, and heat for a longer period of time. And what that provides is greater dehydration pressure for the same high temperature.

Thankfully we have no Pinot or Chardonnay left to worry about. The Syrah is off, and several core Cabernet lots were brought in with healthy ripeness over the last several days. With a few exceptions what remains are blocks of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon that are at a point of their ripening trajectory where this heat is less likely to do much harm. The exceptions are being harvest today, tomorrow, and Saturday. We moved our favorite Merlot block from the top of the vineyard (block 26C) forward in the schedule to bring it in Saturday. Tomorrow we process Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc.

As noted in the last email we believed the second round of Pinot picks would bring more power and concentration. This is proving to be true and provides us a nice set of components to work with. The Cabernet aromas continue to intoxicate the cellar with beautiful blackberry, cassis, sage, and crushed rock.

At this stage nearly all the Drum Canyon Pinot Noir has been put to barrel save 5 small fermenters, much of the Santa Maria Pinot will be put to barrel by week’s end. All the Chardonnay’s are finished with primary fermentation and we are evaluating which ought to go into secondary (ML) and which ought to be sulfured. Early next week we will have finished wines including Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Rose and Pinot noir! I must note the Rose is killer!

It is easy to feel very satisfied with how things have flowed, particularly because of the heat that is coming. However it is premature to declare victory as we must employ patience and observe what truly emerges from vintage. Prettiness in Pinot, precision in Chardonnay, depth and supple Bordelaise? We seem headed in that direction.

I have attached a photo I took yesterday of some Cabernet set to be harvested Saturday. That cluster is about the size of my hand, maybe smaller. Beautiful.

Here is the harvest info since the last time point. We are up to over 550 tons total thus far for ourselves and over 900 tons including clients.

One final note. I am going to be very disappointed if the Cardinals do not make the playoffs in a vintage where I will likely be able to watch all the games live! A first for me! It is looking more and more likely we may be finished before Oct. 1st.

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