It is a cold and foggy morning. Picking crews are busy all around the valley trying to bring in more Pinot Noir before the predicted rains tonight and tomorrow. We had our first heavy showers on Thursday night and picking on Friday was muddy and cold. The positive side is that the temperatures are cool and the grapes are holding up. This is what “cool climates” really look like.
Overall the fruit looks to be in fine condition. We have seen no signs of botrytis or deteriorating fruit from the long season we have had which is a great sign, especially considering that the 10-day forecast is for more rain showers. At this point it is either a waiting game for potential dry conditions in October, or a scramble to bring the fruit in before too much rain falls. The good news is that we have had over 110 days of hangtime in most vineyards which puts us ahead of 2005 in physiological ripeness. Seeds are brown, colors are bleeding rapidly from the skins and flavor profiles are beginning to get interesting in most precocious sites. The old vines still have a ways to go.
Yesterday we picked the Oak Block at Shea Vineyard. The fruit looked and tasted great! I particularly like Shea Vineyard in cooler vintages such as this one. The higher acids and lower alcohols can make for very intense wines.
We also harvested from Cherry Grove Vineyard which is very unique site out near Gaston in the foothills to the beginnings of the Coastal Range. Both the 777 and Pommard blocks looked very nice in good sound condition. Early on in the day we harvested our youngest block from the Durant Vineyard in Dundee. That fruit looks to be of good quality as well.
Today we will begin to harvest the de Lancellotti Vineyard, more of the Bergstrom Vineyard and our second of 5 blocks at Shea, as well as the Gran Morraine Vineyard in Carlton. Then we will wait and see what kind of storm system comes in and how much actual precipitation we get. At this point I do not think that we will get the kind of sunshine that builds sugars anymore. We will just try to push the envelope on hangtime to build more physiological ripeness and flavor development.