While the 2016 growing season had its share of late summer hot weather, it was not as hot a growing season as in the previous year. However, water stress was another issue. By late April not only were we experiencing unseasonably warm weather but the ubiquitous Oregon rain mostly came to a halt as well. The rain that we did receive after that was either of short duration or was soaked up by the cover crop which had been stimulated to grow by the warm temperatures. And the ground simply dried up as the season progressed without significant rain.
In the case of our vineyards at Cameron, we have over the last several vintages engaged in a practice of no-till, instead simply mowing the covercrops. The idea is to keep carbon fixed in the soil right where it is since tilling sets in motion microbial degradation of carbon to CO2. Most vintages this will work fine but in an extremely dry and warm vintage, the vines end up water-stressed. Partly as a result of this, the berries did not size up as much as we thought they would, so crop levels were a bit low.
The saving grace for the entire 2016 vintage came in early September when we received a significant rain event just prior to harvest. Since rain water is absorbed to some extent directly into the fruit, the spongy, slightly dehydrated berries rehydrated to a perfect turgid state and we were in business. The end result of all of this is a cellar of very concentrated wines (due mostly to the small crop) which are wonderfully balanced (due to the beneficent rain). So get ready for a brilliant 2016 vintage of small production down the road!
Recent News & Rants
I am a bit perplexed by the popularity of a relatively new genre of wine: “Natural Wines”. In my opinion, this is a narrow and arbitrary classification meant to suit the marketing needs of whoever is using it. When I see a cloudy wine and am told “Oh this is a natural wine”, I am compelled to retort “I can’t think of anything more natural than gravity…maybe the winemaker should have waited to rack his wine for bottling!” And when one encounters a wine which is either oxidized or smells of fingernail polish remover or has been brutalized by a lactic acid bacteria infection, sure these are “natural processes” but they also emanate from poor winemaking practices.There’s More... >
2016 was an extremely dry and warm vintage. Because of water stress, the berries were smaller and crop smaller than usual. However, a beneficient rain in early September re-hydrated the fruit and the result is a cellar of very concentrated and wonderfully balanced wines. Get ready for a brilliant 2016 vintage of small production down the road!There’s More... >
Guido, our 18 year old Tuxedoed cat, quietly passed away on August 18. For 17 vintages, Guido was our constant companion in the cellar, in the vineyard, in the yurt.There’s More... >