This year’s flavors are incredible. It’s been a warm dry year, and we’re harvesting early. A lot of clusters are some of the smallest berries I’ve ever seen, and they’re a minefield of flavor.
I’ve been through a lot of drought years, but this is the driest year I’ve ever hd to deal with. From January to July 1st we had only three inches of rain, and one and a half were from a rainstorm in June. Even in the drought years we get rain in spring time. Essentially the 2012–13 rain system had two storms: one in November and one in December. That was it. It puts a definite signature on the season.
Cabernet weights are down 30–40 %, but the flavors are intense. Most of my cab was ripe mid june. We’re waiting the last few weeks for extended hang time. It’s produced some great flavors. I’m about 70% done now. Will be harvesting Grenache next week, they’re tasting spectacular right now.
We’re going to have blockbuster wines. I’m an old dinosaur and I like big powerful wines, and we’re going to have that. With balance.
As hot and dry as it is, the canopies are really green for this late in the season. The vines are producing good carbohydrates into the soil. The hillside vineyards are down 30% - not a lot of it, but we have is incredible. The next few days I’ll be picking Kamen. It’s just the perfect condition for it.
We started harvesting in September, and we’ll be done by next week. Typically we’re done around November 1st. Right now every grape is physiologically ripe - we’re just waiting for the flavors to hit their maximum. There are no storms coming, so we can pick them at our leisure.