Since the past entry we have waited through two weeks of stormy weather. The weather turned sour on the 10th of September and remained cloudy and rainy with cooler temperatures than average for the next 10 days. Several vineyards began to lost their nerve and picked in the rain, fearing the worst. Others picked because they had to, as the fragile young fruit that split during the August rains would not make it through these heavy downpours.
And when it seemed that we were on the brink of a catastrophic vintage with low sugars, high acids and poor flavor development… the clouds broke and the sun came out! On the 19th of September the storm subsided, and the weather forecast read like a dream come true–the miracle everyone was hoping for: 10 days of sunshine!
In winemaking it is often those who push the envelope that are rewarded with the greatest wines. In Oregon it is our cool climate that we depend on for cutting edge Pinot Noirs. After several hot vintages in a row we were all starting to believe in global warming. Now we finally have a vintage that screams classic Pinot Noir!
Yesterday, the 22nd of September, we harvested our last block of Shea Vineyard–13 days after the first Shea block was picked before the rains. Unlike Block 5 which was dessicated by berry splitting and insect damage, the Oak Block had sound fruit which looked beautiful on the sorting table and tasted great. Meanwhile, the Shea Block 5 has started fermenting as we inoculated it with its own native yeast strain on the 20th. The winery is once again filled with aromas of fermentation–a sweet unmistakable type of perfume.
Today we will see fruit from Palmer Creek in the Eola Hills. We will pick and co-ferment the 115 and Pommard blocks in one of our new 5-ton stainless steel fermentation tanks. Oddly enough the Palmer Creek fruit seemed to gain in ripeness and flavor during the stormy weather and did not lose integrity to dilution.
The picking schedule for the next week will see the two estate vineyards, Bergstrom and de Lancellotti, as well as Nysa towards the beginning of the week. We will also start bringing in Pinot Gris and Chardonnay.
The winery is getting to be busy now. Friends and family as well as winery and vineyard crew are poised for another great harvest. The flavors of the pinot noir berries this year are terrific! Fresh, intense fruit profiles with very lively acidity should make for some very nice wines.
9/23/2004 – Fair
Wind: NW at 6mph