When you grow grapes the way we do, depending on Mother-Nature to provide us with ample moisture through the year, the advent of the winter rains is a welcome indicant of the year to come. Without sufficient moisture in the soil, it is of course more of a struggle for the vines to progress through the summer. With excessive moisture, vine vigor can become excessive. In either case, the state of the vine imprints itself on the resulting fruit.
In the Fall, rain prior to harvest can have both magical and disastrous consequences. At the end of a long, dry summer timely rains will rejuvenate vines, slow down maturation of the fruit and prevent desiccation of the fruit. During the middle of harvest, rain can delay the process as well as contribute to the onset of fungal diseases.
Thus precipitation, how much we receive and when we receive it, is a crucial player in the definition of each vintage. As a result it is also an important contributing part of what we call “terroir”.
As we become more urbanized as a society, wine, especially local wine, provides a picture of this relationship between man and the weather around him. 2011 was a cool summer with a wet autumn and very late harvest and the wines reflect that. 2012, remember that heat in August? That was followed by a little rain in early September to recover the vines and picture-perfect harvest and the wines reflect that. The wines are in essence a picture of the year that was, and how fun is that?!
Turn on the irrigation and you’ve thrown it all away. Turn on the reverse osmosis machine in the Fall and you’ve thrown it all away again. We have a choice here: we can go for consistency from year to year (think “Coca Cola”) or we can go for reflections of the year that was. Obviously we choose option B!Share This
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... >