Vineyard News

I recently went through the wines we have in barrel from 2009, and I was pleased. Sometimes during the busy grind of harvest it is hard to stop and smell the roses so to speak. I am focused on fruit and making calls on the pick. I get a pretty good indication of quality during fermentation, but it is not the time to really assess more than basic color and fruit development. The real symphony occurs in the barrel during the following months. I am starting to assess which barrels are performing and which wines are beginning to shine. Believe it or not, it is also time to blend and begin the bottling process. The 2008’s and a couple 2009’s will all be bottled within the next few months and by June, should be safely under wraps. 2009 has proven to be a pretty good year. However, as some challenges arose, I wasn’t so sure. This year I had the opportunity to get acquainted with some new local vineyards, and work with some really good growers. I also had to say goodbye to some vineyards, which means also saying goodbye to one wine in particular. I am referring to our beloved ZC White. Changes in the market and also vineyards changing hands have made it too difficult to continue. Before I go any farther, you’ve got to stop your boo hoo-ing, I’ve got it covered, and think I have done better. I saw the writing on the wall early enough to secure new vineyards with new varietals. This is the exciting part; we may be losing ZC White but we are gaining some beautiful white Rhones. I have wanted to do a traditional Rhone Blanc for some time and this last year was the time to go for it. I was able to find some extraordinary new vineyards and picked up Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and a small amount of some very tasty Marsanne and Viognier. We have not yet settled on a name for this pretty little blend, but I have scheduled it to be bottled this March and I am fairly confident you will get a taste this May. An added bonus this year due to an early pick on some of the whites, was an opportunity to do a late harvest. The Roussanne was harvested in late August, and I decided to let a small amount hang just a little longer. When we finally called it in, the brix were 35+ with a small amount of Botrytis. Botrytis, also known as Noble Rot, or Bunch Rot is what makes a Sauterne or Tokaji so sweet and smooth. Needless to say, it was perfectly rotten. These conditions make for a very special dessert wine. I will have this ready for you in May as well, hold on to your shorts, with elevated sugar comes elevated alcohol and even though she is sweet, she packs a punch!Fans of the red, have no fear. Zenaida is still dominated by the Syrah, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. Wanderlust lives, and will make an appearance in 2010 with the release of the 2008 blend as well as the seldom seen Hell Block Syrah. Hell block was carried away in a hand basket in 2007. (If you caught that one, good for you, you will be recognized at the next Mensa meeting.) So sad, frost got the better of it early that spring, but that’s farming. More good things to come! -eo