It was just one green grape. It was one green grape too many. It's always something.
It has been a picture perfect vintage here in the Napa Valley and at Cornerstone Cellars. A lovely spring, with warm, dry weather for flowering and fruit-set. A “three bears” sort of summer: not too cold, not too hot, just right. So why was it there? As you passed through the vineyards you could not miss it standing out like a sore green thumb in the middle of a bunch of gloriously deep purple cabernet sauvignon, there would be one, just one, green berry.
No big deal, right? How could just one unripe grape on some bunches make any difference when all the others were perfectly ripe? One green grape is a very big deal if you want to make wines that are special.
Also there was another issue. Everything else this vintage has been perfect. The gorgeous weather has produced fruit capable of making wines from this vintage something very special indeed. When Mother Nature gives you such a gift you must take advantage of it. There is a sense of duty, responsibility, to take this gift and do everything in your power to make not only great wines, but memorable ones.
What could we do? For us there was no choice. Out into the vineyards went our crews with one mission: to remove one-by-one those individual green grapes. Armed with scissors they went down the rows with the precision of a Bonsai gardener. Was this expensive? Certainly, but this is the price you pay to go beyond good, or very good, on to greatness in a wine. For us there was no choice.
We’re getting pickier and pickier every year as finicky is a virtue when it comes to winemaking. Not satisfied with just dropping any less than perfect fruit in the vineyard, we are going beyond just sorting out any bunches that don’t meet out standards and this vintage will be sorting individual berries on a special sorting table specially designed for nit-pickers like us. Note this is not a job we farm out, Jeff and I do all the sorting ourselves.
Like our neighbors here in the Napa Valley, here at Cornerstone Cellars we'll spare nothing, not only in this glorious vintage, but in each-and-every vintage to make wines that we love to drink and, most of all, that we are proud to share with you.
|A perfect bunch of Cabernet Sauvignon is framed by the breaking of dawn.|