Harvest has begun, and much of the Sauvignon Blanc already has been crushed, pressed, cold settled overnight, racked into the fermenter, and inoculated with yeast. As it bubbles toward dryness, this morning we’re working through the old terraces of Chardonnay. Your humble servant just picked the top four rows with the crew, drove the morning’s first trailer of grapes down to the winery, dusted himself off a little, and squared up to the dirt-encrusted Macbook to rip out this newsletter. We plan on having all hands properly washed before stuffing envelopes so you won’t have to see the soil yourselves.
The big picture is this: apart from a few brief heat spikes, this summer has been relatively moderate on Mount Veeder, with temperatures rarely veering north of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. That bodes well for flavor development, as well as for the acidic balance we like, and, looking ahead a few weeks to the harvest of the reds, for the expression of mountain phenolics that allows for solid aging potential. The grapes taste like they should at this point. The frost in May didn’t hit too hard this high up the slope, so the yield is decent; and thus, overall, so far, so good. But, following our habit, we’ll wait a while for a reliable verdict on ‘08.
We hereby announce the Fall release of finished wines from the dirt farmers at Mayacamas.
The 2006 Sauvignon Blanc is now for sale. Its fresh lime, lemon, and grapefruit notes, along with sharp acidity, make it the perfect foil for shellfish and scallops in hot weather, and a great complement to Mexican food.
The 2006 Chardonnay also is released. On the nose, it serves up cantaloupe, white figs, fresh limes, and pine needles. In the mouth, it evokes white peaches, squeezed lemons, and an almost-silent note of French oak in the background. Its acidity is typically crisp. The finish is long. It goes wonderfully with fish and poultry, and will unfold fully over the course of the next five to eight years.
We are inaugurating the Library program for our Merlot. We began bottling the Merlot as a separate varietal in 1992, and having observed it, and subsequent vintages, since then, we now feel confident that it is a wine with sufficient stuff to begin releasing it with added bottle age. The now-available Library 1998 provides a nose of red cherry and mint. In the mouth, it is black cherry-like and laced with licorice and mint, with a structure that has not begun to disintegrate in the least. We love this wine with lamb dishes.
Our 2000 Chardonnay is the Library release and is in its prime. The bouquet is full of ripe peaches and cream, orange marmalade, and an edge of butterscotch. On the palate, it tastes like ripe pineapple, oranges, and a reminder of oak. It is middle-weight and still very alive, with bright acidity.
The Library Cabernet Sauvignon remains the 1995 vintage. Its classic style reminds us of red currant, black plum, cedar, and black tea on the nose, and black stone fruits, blackberry, and dust in the mouth, with a sense of pungent earthiness. This is for people who like old-school, cellar-aged Cab with all the fixings.
We’ve got work to do around here, and I’ve got to get back into the vineyard. There isn’t much time to get this newsletter to the presses, but we’re in this for the drinking, anyway, not for excessive words. As Julius Caesar said to Cleopatra upon entering her bedchamber (well, it’s difficult to verify this): “I didn’t come here to talk”.