Harvest 2010

October 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

New barrel head, pleading to be filled

Harvest must be winding down if I find myself with enough energy to blog about it.  We’re pressing our late harvest vidal blanc today (wonderful fruit, full of orange peel, watermelon, and some green apple), which is our last lot of fruit off the vine for the year.  We still have plenty of fermentations bubbling away, and we still have reds to press in the coming days, but certainly the bulk of the work is done.

What strikes me about 2010 is that it was a particularly fun year to be making wine in Virginia.  We had literally zero problems pushing our fruit into the furthest levels of ripening, and as a result it seems to me that winemakers were able to make nearly any type of wines they wanted.  Certainly the ones in Northern Virginia were.  Some picked early to avoid higher alcohol or an overripe “dried prune”-ish flavor, some let their grapes hang (or are still letting them hang) up into the realm of 16% alcohol, amongst the California Zinfandels or Australian Shiraz’s, and many are trying new things because of the abundance of options Mother Nature has allowed.   Just the other day I spoke with a winemaker who’s working on a late harvest petit verdot, a wine I don’t think I’ve ever encountered but which in my head has wonderful potential.  It’s great that we have these options, because it allows winemakers to showcase a “style” and because it gives the consumer more of a choice.

You can tell that's Viognier, right?

This year we really stepped outside of our box of Chard, Viognier, and the Bordeaux varietals.  We pressed our first Syrah, our first Nebbiolo, our first Petit Manseng, and our first Mourvedre.  I’m excited about all of these, as well as what 2010 has to offer in terms of big reds – all the fruit was so beautiful this year, we should have some really nice, lush, monstrous reds (in a few years.)  Next year we’ll have all the same fruit, plus our albarino will be on its third leaf, so it will be exciting to see what comes of the wine.

Fermenting Merlot fruit

I’m excited also because this harvest began and ended so much earlier than usual.  It’s not every year that I get to really enjoy a lot of autumn, but this year I’m looking forward to campfires, hiking, and Halloween.  Once the wines are all put to bed, of course.


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