It is almost that time of year that we get the most excited about – HARVEST! After getting out and sampling some grapes over the past two weeks it looks like we could be harvesting as soon as one week from now. The Chardonnay from our oldest vines is really on the cusp and it has never looked better.
Now, it is important for me to say that 2014 is neither a good or bad vintage…Yet. I have made the tragic mistake of declaring a year looked like it could be classic too early before. It really came back to bite me as being the wettest harvest season on record.
That said, so far this vintage is looking much better than I once anticipated. We had an extremely late spring and the spring/Early Summer been also very wet. We had constant concern about the health of our vines and were nervous of a repeat from 2013 which turned out some nice wines but the volume was miniscule. This year dried out just in time around the end of May/start of June. This was when flowering was in full force from the late start to the year, thankfully. The result was a very good fruit set on all varieties except for Viognier and Tannat, which both have minor cold damage from the harsh winter. The damage is not long-term, just that both threw more secondary clusters than primary, so the yield is lower and even ripening is challenging. The rest look great.
I was concerned about Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc being able to ripen in the time we had given the late start, but I am becoming less and less pessimistic daily as I watch everything start to catch up. If we get an extra week at the end of the season than normal without frost they could even turn out to be better-than-normal, which would be great given our track record of late for having some of the best Cabernet Franc in the State.
Our more major varieties in Nevaeh, however, could end up having the best season I have seen since arriving here in 2007. At this point we have the best acid/sugar balance I have seen. Again, that could all change with one crumby, named storm, but I am getting more optimistic for sure. If all keeps on this path we will be able to harvest many of the varieties including our top stuff, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Viognier (what little there is), with cooler temperatures preserving freshness. The fruit looks as clean as we have ever had it this time of year and the forecast looks promising.
All and all, we are getting anxious now, but more of excitement than fear at this point. We just hope nothing catastrophic comes up the coast and we could be looking at some of the most exceptional wines to date. We will keep you posted as you go.