Winemaker's Blog


2008 Vintage

2008 Vintage

Yet again we come off of a cool vintage for the North Coast. The last really warm harvest we have had was in 2004 and that was only because of a 2 week spell of 100+ days.

2007 Harvest

 

Yet again we come off of a cool vintage for the North Coast. The last really warm harvest we have had was in 2004 and that was only because of a 2 week spell of 100+ days.

So what does this cool weather do other and cause sleepless nights for vineyard managers and winemakers? Acidity retention and color development are 2 of the main benefits to a cool vintage. The cool nights help to retain the critical acid balance in the wines and keep them from getting flabby. You can still end up with wines in the 15%+ alcohol range but those wines will have a better acid spine to keep the wines in focus and in balance. The wines also tend to retain their color and more depth of flavor better than in vintages where the temperatures are so warm that the skins never have a chance to ‘set' their color and flavors and it is for lack of a better phrase ‘baked' out of the skins (think of slow cooking a stew vs. microwaving one, both get cooked and are a stew but the slow cooked one has much better, richer flavors).

Vintage 2007 was very stingy for Cabernet in Knights Valley and the Napa Valley except for on Howell Mountain where there were bumper crops of almost 20-30% more than expected. Take for example our block in the Beckstoffer To-Kalon vineyard in Oakville where we expected about 12 tons of fruit and ended up with about 7 tons or our block in the Beckstoffer Dr Crane vineyard in St Helena where we expected about 4 tons and got a little more than 2 tons. Fortunately the quality of what we got from both of these sites as well as our estate Cabernet blocks was very high and the resulting wines show those small yields though tremendous concentration and extract but finding those wines outside of the winery is going to be tough.

Isn't that always the case? The good stuff is always hard to get and there isn't much of it. When will we get another 1997 vintage where quality was almost uniformly very high and we had bumper crops? Hopefully soon.

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2008 Vintage