|Marbue, Michael and James with Albion 2012|
Friday, October 5, 2012
I can’t believe it’s October. Literally, it feels like yesterday we ran into our friends at Barnett Vineyards enjoying a casual Labor Day brunch on the patio at Solage, and today the SF Giants are gearing up to face the Reds in the MLB Playoffs. In retrospect, the only explanation can be that September was better than advertised.
What has quickly become the theme to Napa Valley 2012, the weather continues to be perfect. Exceptional even. I continue to knock on wood, thinking that in some way that will be the underlying secret to continuing these beautiful conditions. Under a moonlight sky on Tuesday, September 11th we harvested the grapes for our 2012 Albion. Yields were back up from 2011 and the quality was ideal. Fast forward three weeks and fermentation is complete. Some lots are aging in stainless barrels, others in oak, and the subtle nuances from each will have a dramatic impact on the finished wine. Over the next few months we’ll track the maturity of what we anticipate to be a great vintage.
With the whites perfectly situated in the cellar, we’ve transitioned to focus on our estate Cabernet Sauvignon grown on the southern slopes of the Spring Mountain District. Reports throughout the valley suggest harvest for the red varietals is fully underway. Shafer has reported crushing some of the first lots of its Hillside Select fruit, our neighbor Vineyard7 & 8 has been active with Cabernet Sauvignon, and yet we anticipate being roughly a week away from our first blocks to be picked. Following the heat of Monday through Wednesday of this week (99, 104 and 101 degrees, respectively), we have a modest cooling trend upon us that will bring temps down into the mid-80s and the fruit back into balance. Samples taken yesterday and today show amazing promise, and we’re letting the fruit hang to allow the grape skins and tannins to develop ever so slightly. It’s a magical time to hurry up and wait!
Next Week: The Patience is Rewarded