September 7, 2015 | Mark McKenna
Every vintage weaves a story all its own and 2015 will certainly be one of the most fascinating if not magical. With the earliest grape harvest in California’s history, Andis started on August 4th with our first Sauvignon Blanc pick. This was quickly followed by Semillon, Rose, more Sauvignon Blanc, and then Merlot and Syrah.
Wisdom has it that the best wines are made from grapes with ample hang time; that is, time the grape spends on the vine before picking. But this year did not allow much hang time, yet shockingly, as the fruit started rolling in we began to realize this was some of the most
beautiful and flavorful grape we had ever worked with. The sugars on the grapes had been rising rapidly, but they were also quickly developing the delicious flavors we look for as the trigger to harvest, and unlike some sugary years the acid levels of the fruit were textbook perfect.
The Estate picking commenced on August 28th with the Barbera and the Schioppettino (what’s that you say?!). These are two Italian varietals that just love the Amador terrior. Fermentations on both of them ran a fairly rapid course. We pressed them off on September 4th and were pleased to see how deeply colored, rich, chock full of well-structured tannin and juicy-as-jam they had developed. This is truly unbelievable wine for 4 year old vines!!!
We had been discussing harvesting at night for some time and finally gave it a shot. On September 3rd, we picked our Estate Zinfandel STARTING AT 3 AM! AND WE LOVED IT!!! The pickers are happier because it’s cool at night, the grape comes in colder giving the winemaker more control, and we were all done and cleaned up by 2 PM (yes, a short day for harvest!). And let’s not forget to mention the fact that the tractors and pickers making their way through the vineyard under the stars is simply a beautiful thing to see – pure magic.
We continue this week with more Barbara, Primitivo, and Grenache. The 2015 harvest is a fast one and we certainly have to be on our toes, but it’s also proving to be truly one of the best harvests in Andis’ history. You must come out and see, and of course, taste for yourself!