Thursday, October 28, 2010

At Trefethen, all the grapes are off the vine!

This past Tuesday, October 26th, we picked the last of our grapes at Trefethen Family Vineyards. Of course, the work of Crush 2010 is hardly over given the number of active fermentations we have right now. But, there is a perceptible sense of relief all around the winery. We are relieved not just because we are done picking but because we are thrilled with the young wines.

This morning, we tasted through some of the Chardonnay lots that are already dry. See photo of winemaker Zeke Neeley and winemaker emeritus Peter Luthi. The acids seem nicely balanced and the range of aromatics is fantastic. Many other lots, both white and red, are still fermenting.

There was one Petit Verdot lot that was ridiculously tannic, a good reminder of the major effect this “minor” variety will have on a blend. The Malbec lots are, as usual, inky in color and very fruity. Cabernet seems to have exceptional color this year, ripe black and red berry flavors and ample tannins.

It was certainly an exciting, and exhausting, vintage in the vineyard but it’s great to see that our hard work paid off. In this mostly cool season, we paid particular attention to our Cabernet Sauvignon, a very noble but very late variety. After a May that was our coolest since 1977, we were concerned that we might be picking well into November. Wanting to wrap up sooner than that, we opted to thin the crop more aggressively than usual, down to under 2 tons per acre in some areas. The net result of our swift action and some beautiful weather in early October is that we got fantastic ripeness and finished picking a full ten days earlier than last year!

I have heard the saying “it takes a lot of beer to make a little wine” and I’ve certainly enjoyed a lager or two over the past couple months. That said, when I went home Tuesday night after our last pick, I opted for a glass of our 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and believe you me, it had never tasted so good!

If you are in the Napa area this weekend, come on by our winery for some frightfully delicious wines as well as haunted winery tours. Our 19th century winery is all decked out for Halloween. Come check it out!

Cheers to vintage 2010!

Jon Ruel
Director of Viticulture and Winemaking
Trefethen Family Vineyards

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