Our harvest 2003 began with a small section of Chardonnay grapes on August 28th. Good ripening weather in recent weeks resulted in fully ripe and well balanced fruit. We hope for a continuation of this most pleasant circumstance.
The 1998 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon and 1999 Pinot Noir are now being let out of their cages for the first time. And, our 1989 Cabernet Sauvignon is now available as our library re-release selection.
The vintage of 1998 in northern California has been characterized as poor, or below average, on occasion. This classification is an error. For, while often slower developing than most other recent vintages, many 1998 wines from this part of the world are proving to be truly excellent. We modestly nominate our Cabernet for inclusion in that group. Its complex ripe fruit aroma and taste remind us of raspberries and plums, but the grape clearly reigns. As usual, it has a little Cabernet Franc and a little Merlot in its inheritance; about 4% of each in this vintage. And, also as usual, it will get better and better with further aging. Prediction of the exact timing of full maturity is an art, not a science, but our crystal ball indicates another decade, at least. Cork out breathing for at least an hour or two before service is suggested for consumption in the interim.
It is a pleasure to report that early comment on the 1999 vintage has been confirmed. A winner from the get-go. Our 1999 Pinot Noir contains hints of tobacco in the nose and mouth ( this kind is good for you ! ). It is also a bit reminiscent of red burgundy, but with a clear California mountain character dominating. Highly enjoyable now, this vintage should reach peak maturity in about 5 years.
The depth and richness of older Cabernets vary from year to year, but they are often astonishingly intricate yet together wines when fully developed. The 1989 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon is just entering those prime years. It will remain in good form for several more years but there is no need to wait. The blend of 3% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc gives it a balance and dimension that enhance the already great appeal of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape.
We are starting the replanting process of an old section of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard. Removal of the old vines is now complete and subsoiling is underway. This phase pulls up numerous rocks which need to be removed. Thus we have a supply of pet rocks available at very reasonable rates. But, you have to bring your own genie to carry them off because they weigh about two tons each.