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The 2012 harvest is starting to feel like the TWO harvests of 2012. There has been such a gap between the harvesting of the whites and the reds it feels like we started, stopped, and now get to start again. Not such a bad thing really, just another year with its own quirks.
While we continue to wait on the bulk of the reds, the whites we harvested a couple of weeks ago are beginning to complete their fermentations. Often fermentation ends when there is no more sugar to ferment, in other cases when we want to keep a little touch of sweetness in the wine we have to “arrest” the fermentation. There are a number of ways to do that, but the real trick is not how but when!! Because fermentation is a continuous process, choosing the right moment to stop it is like trying to hit a moving target. When it gets close, like we are with the Sauvignon Blanc today, we retest the brix (sugar levels) and taste the wine every couple of hours until we feel the balance is right. Then we chill it down rapidly and hope we got it right. We won’t know for several weeks after that if we got it just right but it does give us a reason to taste a lot of Sauvignon Blanc during that time. A touch stressful? Of course! Fun to drink wine at work? Most certainly!
Picked some incredible Cabernet Franc out of the Byecroft Vineyard in El Dorado County today. Literally some of the prettiest and most well cared for grapes I've seen in a long time. Margaret and Bill do an amazing job day in and day out all year long. They are the type of growers that when I pull up unannounced to walk the vineyard, I go out to the vineyard instead of up to the house, because I know more likely than not, that's where they will be. Every day, all day. A beautiful and challenging way to spend your life.
Sampled the Oakmont and Baartman Vineyards today. Seems like it is way too early in the season to be looking at Barbera, but every year is different and those two fields are coming on strong. The acids are a touch strong but my goodness grapes are tasting great this year.