The 2011 harvest is one that winemakers will remember for years to come. With historically low yields and a mild growing season, I think you’ll find 2011 to be a year with exceptional quality. Here’s an early look into our 2011 wines:
Chardonnay:Our harvest kicked off with Chardonnay in mid-September, several weeks behind schedule. So far sampling has shown wonderful brightness of both fruit and acidity, a sign of the cool season it endured.
Viognier:Overall, Viognier was hit the hardest of any grape by both frost damage and shatter (poor pollination conditions). On the bright side, with such tiny yields the barrel samples look outstanding! This will be one to get your hands on once it is released.
Roussanne:Due to the topography of the block, Roussanne was harvested in two stages. The outer edges ripened first in late-September, while the middle portion was left hanging until mid-October. Due to the cool weather and fog, some clusters were infected with Noble Rot (Botrytis cinerea), adding complexity, a honeyed characteristic and elegance to the wine.
Grenache Blanc:Because of the late-budding nature of the grape, Grenache Blanc had less trouble than other varieties from the damaging frost. It was the final white grape we picked in 2011 and it is already showing off pretty aromatics and a flinty minerality.
Syrah:Much like Viognier, Syrah suffered badly from both the April frost and poor pollination conditions. Luckily, a newly planted section of our vineyard came “on-board,” helping alleviate our losses a little. The barrel samples look very exciting, with pure fruit and excellent concentration.
Cinsaut: Very little Cinsaut was harvested in 2011, with barely enough for four barrels. It should be a great blending agent, helping enhance the aromatics of our 2011 Z-Cuvee and Z-Gris.
Grenache Noir:Vine balance and even ripening were the main stories for Grenache. Because we were able to leave it on the vine until late-October, it was able to achieve complete ripeness. Barrel samples are showing a chewier, more structured style than past years.
Mourvèdre: This was the final grape to be harvested in 2011 and could be the most exciting vintage for Mourvèdre in the past decade. The long growing season allowed for perfect ripeness, while the inclusion of a newly planted block should take the grape to even greater heights in the future. In barrel, the wine is already showing great depth, elegance, and length.
To sum up the 2011 vintage, our whites are already displaying both elegance and balance, while the reds are showing great tannin structure, concentration and balance. Hope you are as excited as we are!
Eric Mohseni – Winemaker
Posted on: Jan 26, 2012