Well another year is drawing to an end. The fields are all empty of fruit and the winter rains have now started to show up. Snow is falling in the Cascades and we are gearing up for the Thanksgiving weekend open house.
It is a wonderful feeling to look at a cellar full of new wine. The cellar still smells of primary fermentation aromas which are similar to aromas of candy and fresh fruit and flowers. The barrels are almost all filled. Only a few tanks need to be emptied. The Rieslings and Chardonnays are bubbling away madly and add their lifted floral and citrus aromas to the room. A fruit fly floats by almost like it’s staggering.
We’re all happy, even the fruit fly. Another year is done and now the fun begins; watching each cuvee develop over time to become the wine that will be pourred at family celebrations and in great restaurants and at wine festivals throughout the summer months. I feel good about the work we have accomplished.
The 2007 Pinot Noirs are dark as ink and extremely fragrant with fresh fruit and spice notes already. They will be structured and dense and will need time to develop but I think they could be some very fine wines. Funny how that happens, the rains make you wait and wait and before you know it, you realize that the sun may never come back again, so you have to harvest and what you find is that the fruit has hung on the vine for so long that the physiological maturity is extraordinary and the berries, although lacking sugar, are delicious and ripe and ready to make another unique vintage. I would say that this vintage reminds me of something similar to 2005 or 1993 with more muscle.
People are already lining up to pan this vintage in Oregon because of the rains we had. But isn’t that why we are here making wine in Oregon? We’re here because the weather is unpredictable and it does rain and even sometimes it’s too hot. And sometimes the vines get get attacked by vicious mildew pressure or voles or birds or deer and sometimes wind storms destroy canes and frosts freeze buds and hail ruins leaves… yet sometimes there are winemakers in this world who love a good challenge. We love vintages that are not decided by how much we irrigate vines in the desert heat. We love vintages that taste and age differently because that is what makes Pinot Noir greater than any other red varietal on earth: it’s ability to shine in the most adverse of conditions.
No, 2007 will not go down as the greatest vintage Oregon has ever seen. But it sure will remind all of us who make wine here why we love doing what we do and why we are here doing it. Come taste the wines and see what I mean.
Thanks to all of my crew and family for another hard year’s work. Now it’s time to celebrate.
See you around the winery sometime soon.