Archive for the 'Vines' Category

And so it begins

The ritual offering of Cabernet at StonehengeVintage 2018, here we go!

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First fruit Wednesday

Looks like our Roussanne is coming in for a landing, so I’ll be heading east to pick it up – and taste through our other varietals – on Wednesday.

Let the games begin!

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A long way for a quarter ton. But it’s Mourvedre…

Mark & Renee look down the mountain and over the vineyard toward the Gorge
A panorama across Sugarloaf
An absolutely beautiful day to pick Mourvèdre.

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Crush #2: Three grapes, one haul

Grenache and beyond to Mt. Rainier
Our biggest pick of the harvest – Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sangiovese – and a perfect way to spend a birthday.

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The (back yard) estate pinot noir


30 pounds of back yard goodness, in one 5-gallon bucket! This is actually the most viable crop I’ve ever gotten from the 21 plants in my back yard – plants I started from cuttings the acclaimed winemaker John Thomas gave me 20 years ago. Usually they succumb to powdery mildew well before harvest comes along. One of many reasons we leave to the pros the viticulture on which our wines depend.

Which isn’t to say this will be an exquisite pinot noir. Oh, no. Just that it will exist and may actually be drinkable. I’ll take it!

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What’s next in the vineyard?

My notes from tasting through our vines on Monday. In a nutshell, close, but not quite there yet.

Cabernet Sauvignon: on Monday, most of the Cabernet Sauvignon clusters tasted beautiful. The problem is that a good percentage of them did not. Really odd range of variation. So we’re going to let the Cab hang a bit more to bring those problem clusters closer to loveliness, but not so far that the good stuff goes too far. Maybe early next week?

Sangiovese: some wineries are already picking this, and I can see how you’d make an elegant wine out of it. But I want a little more depth — not too much, by any stretch — so I decided to let those hang as well. Maybe an additional week, too.

Grenache: so very close. As I mentioned earlier, super odd that the juice tastes great but the skins are way behind. But those should be ready to go in a week, too, if not sooner.

Viognier: not there yet; maybe mid next week?

Mourvedre: definitely not there. Maybe 14 days out.

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Syrah and Cabernet Franc are in the house!

Today we brought in Syrah and Cabernet Franc – both tasted great in the vineyard.

We also brought back a little bit of Viognier (in advance of our actual pick later this month) to co-ferment with the Syrah, as they do in Southern France. We did that in 2013, and it transformed what had been in previous vintages a kind of one-note wine into the best Syrah we’ve ever made. Here’s hoping the magic happens twice!

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