Dateliine: June 16, 2016
Cabernet Clusters 6/16/2016
June Is Busting Out All Over
Beautiful North Coast California weather makes us feel guilty when we witness the storms, tornadoes and flooding in other parts of the Country. It would be hard for Sonoma County winegrowers to order any better weather than what we have had to date. Abundant rainfall this past winter charged our soils to capacity, filled our reservoirs and was followed by favorable spring weather allowing pleasant field working conditions and timely cultivation on winter cover crops to conserve the moisture. The vineyards are lush in green and reflect the abundant rain received combined with cooler than normal moderate temperatures that have provided an ideal growing climate. As an added bonus there was no frost during bud break and the vines pushed rapidly with shoots showing numerous good clusters of potential fruit that has yielded a good berry set free from disease for those growers that are maintaining a regular program to control mildew and fungus.
Lush Canopies Reflect Ideal
The only negative was the abundance of blue-green sharpshooters that abounded in the heavy riparian boundary vegetation resulting from the wet winter season. The insect is a vector for the transmission of Pierce's Disease that will kill a grapevine. This spring, we had to replace 500 weaken vines, about 2% of our vineyard, infected by this dreaded disease. Grapevines are vulnerable to a variety of viral disease and disorder so it is not realistic to expect a 100% sustaining vineyard forever once planted. The early indication is for another good crop in 2016 for Sonoma County. The market for grapes is strong and barring any terrible triple digit heat later this summer we expect to harvest on a somewhat normal schedule much later than the historic early harvest of last year. .
Library Wines Live On To Tell Their Story
I always set aside a few cases of each vintage for long term evaluation of our wines to judge how well they might develop and improve with time in the bottle. I also evaluate packaging and storage because as you might know, everything we produced is packaged in the case cork up. Why?......because today's modern production of corks & bottles insure a tight dimensional tolerance which provides high pressure sealing between the neck of the bottle and the cork body and the use of vacuum corking during bottling insures against an internal ullage pressure that could push corks out. The only part of the cork exposed to atmosphere is it's top and that is protected from radiation by the capsule. So unless you have this wine stored outside on the patio I doubt that it will dry out, crumble and leak. The old tradition of storing wine on its side or upside down in the case to keep corks swelled to insure tightness against leaking might have been necessary 300 years ago but not today. The benefits of cork up may also slightly reduces the effect of cork taint and eliminates the collection of heavy turbid solids and sediments that might deposit in time on the side of the bottle or near the top of the bottle (which has now become the bottom of the bottle) and/or the bottom of the cork. When turning bottle upright to uncork, these solids may filter back down through the wine causing a lack of clarity and requiring additional time for settling and decanting before drinking. Our wines however are all filtered to 3 microns and I have never been witness to sediment with long term aging. I taste our Library Wines on an annual basis and on occasion a few are available for purchase by request from customers. I am happy to say all our reds age well to 8+ years, they develop deep complexity and flavor and I have never found any problem with our wines or corks by storing the bottles cork up. Beyond that I have no experience except when a customer might give me a report on an older wine beyond that time frame. I have had customers report to me they have had our wines at 10 years old, drank well and had great flavor. This month it was reported to me our 1997 Zinfandel, 19 years old, was recently consumed and was delightful and fruity. Please be reminded however that wine is not pasteurized like a can of peas and could be subject to spoilage dependent upon unfiltered microbes, poor bottling practices, oxidation, reduction, high ph and low SO2 Color could fade, fruitfulness could diminish, flavor and taste could be disappointing. Unless the wine is harsh and stringent there is no need to age wines long term to improve drinkability. If you like the way the wine tastes when you buy it....DRINK IT. There is no guarantee the wine will become better each year that you hold it. One of my favorite magazine wine ads suggests the bold question: " What's the best way to store our wines???" ....then goes on to picture an empty wine bottle laying on it's side.
Bottling Season is On
2015 Chardonnay and Paradiso Rosato were bottled in April and immediately released. They are both delicious wines and are sure to please. I love the crisp finish and round deep fruit flavors of pear, apricot and apple in the Chardonnay served with a free range organic roasted chicken. The Paradiso is rich in strawberry and cherry flavor, crisp and dry and wonderful with seafood or cheese. The 2014 Pinot Noir was bottled in May and available only for those customers who bought Futures. This is a bright and delicate Pinot Noir at 14%, slightly less than our normal alcohol for this wine but more in keeping with Burgundy tradition. It is has excellent color and aroma with explosive cherry flavor and a pleasant lingering finish guaranteed to please. 2014 Papa Nonno and BeauSierra is scheduled for bottling this month followed by Zin and Cab in August. Although our old ADL Italia labeler and capsule spinner gave us 15 years of satisfactory service using hand placement of capsules, our new STS Italian labeler, capsule dispenser and spinner is a dream and has made bottling more efficient and enjoyable with less down time for adjustments. Love Italian machinery……too bad I can't afford a Ferrari.
Solstice Dinner Coming Up Soon- June 25,2016
Our annual Solstice Dinner is quickly approaching and we have only 7 spots remaining for this popular outdoor dining experience featuring the talented and exceptional chef Todd Muir and his wonderful culinary skills. Please go to the Special Event link on this website for information on the menu and costs and call or email us ASAP if you would like to join us.
Hoping everyone will have a great summer and I look forward to have the pleasure of seeing you at the winery soon.
Editor: Jim Forchini
Todd Muir, Executive Chef Extrodinaire
June Solstice Dinner