Mother Nature has been good to us this year. The growing season kicked off with a warm, dry and early spring, allowing our vines to get a great head start on ripening without the vigorous growth that can result from a wet spring with too much water in the soils. From budbreak through veraison and now the beginning of our harvest season, our vines have been bathed in warm sunshine and gentle breezes.
We have been enjoying an amazingly warm and sunny late winter and spring so far in 2013. As I go around the vineyards, the classic refrain from the Broadway musical Hair is playing in my mind. The vines leafed out in early April (which is early for us), there is not too much moisture in the ground (which is good for us given that excess vigor is our main viticultural challenge each vintage) and 2013 is likely going to be a ripe vintage.
It is the time of year that we are blending our wines that will be released from May onward. For the red wines, the blends are all from the 2011 vintage, so we have been deeply immersed in our 2011 reds these last two months.
For me, the blending process is the most creative aspect of making wine: for most of the year, my job is to recognize the potential in our grapes and coax out maximum quality by adjusting the farming and winemaking based on my 15 years of experience. But when it comes to blending, it’s about shaping the style of the wine.