March 31, 2011 § Leave a comment
As we finish up our 2011 pruning, we’ve also been finalizing the 2009 red blends and pulling them out of the barrel (where they’ve sat for ~18 months) to the tank (where they’ll sit until being bottled). Two of our 2009 reds – the 2009 Merlot and our blend, the 2009 Sunset Red – were bottled back in December, and while we’ve released the Merlot, which is the lightest, most fruit-forward of the 2009 reds, we have not yet begun pouring the Sunset Red in order to give it time in bottle. The remaining 2009 reds needed a bit more mellowing out and “melting” of tannins in barrel. I think they are now ready.
While I sincerely don’t make any wines I don’t like at Sunset Hills, what the harvest of 2009 gave us, in terms of red wines, are the types of wine I prefer to drink most while at home. The reds have bright red fruit, intriguing secondary and tertiary aromatics, with nice bracing medium-bodied volume, and, what I love most, is a heightened acidity which adds depth, and makes them go well with food. I tend to lean away from huge, mammoth wines personally, and more toward a crispness, a depth, or a singularity of intent. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a big Zinfandel or chewy Australian Shiraz (heck, I’ve been known to relish in a nice old Norton from time to time), but for the most part I like my wines with more depth and less breadth, if that means anything.
Anyway, I’m excited to be putting the finish touches on our 2009 reds, because I think these wines have a lot to offer. In June, we’ll bottle the 2009 Cabernet Franc, 2009 Reserve Cabernet Franc, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2009 Tannat. (If you notice a lack of Petit Verdot in here, you’re not alone; we didn’t have enough of a crop in 2009 to produce a varietal Petit Verdot. I’m sure I won’t hear the end of this, especially as it means a lack of Petit Verdot magnums.) Also, we’ll bottle our 2010 Reserve Chardonnay, which I am pulling to tank literally as I type this.
I’ll give you guys my tasting notes on these wines after they’ve had some time together in tank, and closer to when we bottle them and release them.
March 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
Our 2011 pruning is moving along at the usual slower-than-expected pace, but on the bright side we’ve been establishing new cordons in about 90% of our youngest vineyard (cleverly titled Vineyard #3), meaning we have the potential to see a decent amount of fruit in the 2011 season ( albarino! petit manseng!), and a full crop, along with a better understanding of the nature of the vineyard itself, in 2012.
I like pruning because the pace is slow and it’s a good way to reacquaint myself with different sections of each vineyard. It’s often cold, and we always smell like smoke at the end of the day (because we burn prunings as we go), but it is definitly rewarding to watch as the newly pruned rows line up together, and it’s undeniably crucial to crop loads and vigor in the following growing season.