Today I woke up to a much different skyline than the one I have seen over the several past busy weeks. One of my favorite skylines in the world..San Francisco. Sunrise over San Francisco ‘s Bay is second only to a sunrise in the vineyard on a cool fall day when the leaves have turned golden. The small islands, the still water reflecting the towering bridges and buildings and the little white sail boats bobbing about all seem to be in perfect unison, like out of a stylized painting of what you would hope for in a San Francisco sunrise.
No, I haven’t gone crazy and fled Oregon for some serene harvest-rehab center.Caroline and I are in San Francisco, joined by my sister Kim and my brother in law Alan for the Wine Spectator’s California Wine Experience where we were invited to showcase our wines alongside a dazzling line-up of California, Oregon and Washington wineries. We are pouring the 2004 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir and it is tasting pretty darn special right now.
Pouring wine to hundreds of frenzied wine enthusiasts is always a pleasure and it is an honor for us to have been included in the list of notable wineries for this year’s event. Probably the only good excuse to escape the winery for a few days in the middle of harvest is a working vacation like this one. The event spans three days and includes some great wine tastings, and meals. I highly recommend the Wine Experience to all of you. Last night alone I had the opportunity to try great wines from such names as: Cayuse, Kosta Browne, Siduri, Au Bon Climat, Aurojo, Dalla Valle, DuMol, Aubert, Kistler, Harlan, Shafer and more.
Back at the winery, Jorge and the guys are working busily pressing our last white grapes that are arriving from the vineyards and taking new wines from tank to barrels (Playing winemaker over a cell phone is not as much fun as one would envision.) The early harvested Pinot Noirs are finishing up fermentation and my early word is that they are of high quality. As we begin to fill the barrel cellar with wine, it is fun, if not premature, to taste and try to see the future. These wines are extremely aromatic wines with good deep red hues (some leaning towards purple) and fleshy weight in the mouth. The tannins this year are ripe and soft and non-obtrusive. The word to best describe the vintage thus far is “delicious” (or “Yummy” if you want the correct wine jargon.)
Our last Pinot Noir (Maresh Vineyard) was picked last Friday and our last Chardonnay fruit arrived yesterday from Carabella Vineyard. We still have about 6 tons of Riesling hanging on the vine and I believe we will havest that this weekend. Overall quality has been great and quantities are still much higher than in the past three years.