Although preliminary and capable of being screwed up in winery, although we hope with our experience there is little of that, I think we can consider this vintage a great vintage, at least based on our cellar. There are two or three average lots, but the remainder have the potential to constitute one of the best four or five vintages I’ve seen. All wines have exceptional acids and pHs, good for ageability and presaging a longer than normal immaturity in bottle before showing their stuff. This could be minimized by intense, overt fruit. All of this smacks of 1999 and 2008 vintages, especially in Pinot noirs. The Pinot noirs have enjoyed very long cold soaks, with up to 12-13 days and colors pulled that are reminiscent of finished wine in a very good vintage, even before fermentation heat!

In discussions with other wineries, if botrytis is excluded from the equation for others, they see the same thing. Botrytis in the valley differed somewhat based on location and viticultural practices. This difference should be the only factor for vintage variability. Thank you, Chad, for pristine vineyards in 2011.

This has been a condensed, late, hard-worked vintage. Harvest crews in vineyard can breathe a sigh of relief. In the winery it is another 10 days or more before it’s a wrap.

It will all be worth it.


Weather and Its Implications

A mixture of sun, fog, a little light rain, sun, and fog over the last week has accented the Riesling end of harvest in a beautiful and appropriate way. Hardy and with us encouraging a little botrytis in Riesling, we enjoy the final flourish at our four sites. Riesling fruit coming in is bright with high acids, lower sugars in the 18-20+ brix range, and with good flavors — Riesling has two aromatic/flavor peaks, one at 18-18.5 brix and another at 21+ brix.

Except for outside red pressings and barreling down, we now can disregard the four or five weather forecasts we all have bookmarked and watch winter fronts come in with a cup of coffee and a smile.

2011 Harvest to-date

285 tons
(95% of forecast)

Pinot Noir:
133 tons
(92% of forecast)

Pinot Gris:
43 tons
(96% of forecast)

73 tons
(95% of forecast)

Pinot blanc:
4.5 tons
(100% of forecast)

Gamay noir:
2.8 tons
(82% of forecast)

Grüner veltliner:
7.1 tons
(129% of forecast)

22 tons
(98% of forecast)