Here we are in early November with a beautiful 76-degree shirt-sleeve day and we are only a little more than half way through harvest! Still to come in is cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot. Despite some rain two weekends ago and a light sprinkle on October 30, the fruit flavors are phenomenal; deep, dark and complex with no green whatsoever in any of the skins, seeds or stems. And we are getting this flavor intensity at relatively low brix for us (averaging roughly 26).
Winemaker Sally Johnson could not be happier both with how the first lots have gone through fermentation and with the quality of fruit we are getting this year. "The bit of rain we've had has actually seemed to help get the skins fully ripe", says Sally. "I am thrilled with the flavor intensity of the fruit this year." Steve Pride is equally enthusiastic: "The first lots of merlot that have just been pressed off to barrel have as much depth and fruit concentration as any merlot lots I can remember. And the chardonnays, which are now fully dry, are without a doubt the most vibrant and beautifully flavored white wines we have ever made here. Sally has been experimenting with a range of different yeasts and this year she has gone with wild yeasts in the early part of the ferments and several of her favorite strains of saccharomyces cerevisiae to finish them off. Both with these chardonnays, and across the board with all the wines, Sally is really on top of her game. For what is supposed to be a tough vintage, we could not be happier with how 2010 is turning out."