Today is Sunday September 13th.
We are only days away it seems from the beginning of harvest 2009. The youngest vines in the valley are beginning to show signs of good ripeness as the older vines continue on their slow but steady path towards a later harvest.
We have had a really hot summer here. Meteorologists say the hottest in Oregon’s history! We have had several weeks worth of days over 90 degrees Fahrenheit since the springtime. But with the extremely wet winter and spring that we saw this year, the water reserves in the soil were perfect for a lush growing season. The vines have tall and green canopies so they are ready to photosynthesize sunlight into sugar at a furious pace.
Now it is just a matter of time and seeing what nature brings us. We have worked hard all year long to ensure that the crop is perfect and the vines are happy. Now we start cleaning tanks and barrels and bottling some of the 2008 wines.
Aaah! the 2008 wines. I am glad you mentioned those… What a vintage 2008 has become. Both the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir wines are stunning, simply amazing with gorgeous acidities, great color, lush/full-bodied textures with good tannin. These are wines for the hedonist in all of us. I am very excited to see what these wines will do in the cellar. But what is even more exciting is that they will be delicious also upon release.
We are bottling the 2008 Cumberland Reserve Pinot Noir and the 2008 Old Stones Chardonnay this next week alongside our “Futures” offerings: the Hyland Vineyard and Temperance Hill Vineyard. All delicious wines with bright futures ahead of them. The estate Pinot Noirs and Sigrid will enjoy another 3-4 months in barrels before being racked to tank after harvest and bottled in the spring of 2010.
The phenomenon so far in 2009 has been heavy crop. We have had to pass through the vineyards three times since fruit set to reduce the crop to acceptable levels. Much like 2006, these clusters are jam packed with berries and they weigh considerably more than in most years. This means that we are having to reduce crop yields on plants to way below one cluster per shoot which is the norm in our vineyards.
The big news around the winery this year is that this will be our first year for an estate harvest of Chardonnay! We have 2.5 acres of Chardonnay at the winery and 3 acres in de Lancellotti Vineyard that will be harvested for the Sigrid program and we are thrilled at the quality of the fruit. We have planted chardonnay in the sandiest south-facing slopes where the soil is almost white and I believe that these hillside blocks will yield some amazing wines.
Stay tuned, in the next few days I will begin to walk through all of our vineyard sites to take some initial measurements and flavor assessments to see how far away harvest really is.