Have been up at Devoto four times in the last week or so, watching the 828 block come along. The weather’s been holding, the canopy and vines look to be in great shape. On 9/15 the block was between 20 and 21 brix, maybe a point higher the following week, and just today I put it at 23.2. Was tempted to pick this Friday with particularly warm temps coming tomorrow and Thursday. As one passes grape trucks coming and going throughout Sonoma, one gets anxious! But the acids in the lab came out a little high (9.6 TA, 2.9 pH), and though I couldn’t taste or smell any green notes, I’ve decided to let it go through the weekend and pick on Monday. The weekend should cool down which should hopefully concentrate flavors, and then I’ll get it off the vine and safely crushed before the rains come mid next week! Devoto Gardens, by the way, is looking particularly gorgeous these days. Here are some shots of Stan’s bachelor buttons and sunflowers, almost ready for market
The Pinot at Flanagan Vineyards touched 23 brix last week and my ton from the Pommard block was picked this last Monday morning (I have less influence over this pick date as I’m only taking a ton). Morning was cool and foggy almost to Santa Rosa; here’s a shot going over the bridge in the morning. Here’s Jeff loading one of my half-ton picking bins into the back of my Penske rental Fruit was certainly ripe; super small berries, too small for our crusher. Very little rot or MOG. Really liked the flavors and seeds; stems not so much this year. Did 100% de-stemmed and then attempted to effect a light crush with a large ‘potato masher’ in the T-bin. Sorted through this in about an hour or so. Here’s the t-bin, I netted out only 558kg of must from the two bins, which were on the light side at .774 tons as it turned out. I put a small amount of SO2 (200ml) in this bin and tucked it away into cold storage to sit on the skins through the week. Will pull this out Friday to warm up and likely inoculate Saturday or Sunday.
Yesterday I visited all three vineyards from which I’m taking fruit this year: Devoto Gardens (Pinot Noir; Green Valley), Flanagan Vineyards (Pinot Noir; Starr Road, Russian River), and Inspiration Vineyards (Chardonnay; Olivet Road, Russian River). This is a pic of Flanagan, looking south-east over the rows of Pommard clones of which I’ll be taking a ton. This is our first harvest with Flanagan Vineyards, which is only a rifle shot down Starr Road from Amber Ridge. We’re looking forward to building a long-term relationship. The fruit is coming along nice and even (no easy trick given the wet spring) and has that delicious black-fruit traction that I associate with Starr Road. I measured the Pinot there at about 20.7 brix; our pick may be as early as late next week. Eric Flanagan will make the call on the exact pick date. This will be our third harvest with Devoto Gardens, and Stan’s grapes look and taste fantastic, as we’d expect from such a fastidious farmer. I measured his fruit at about 19 brix, and I’m thinking I’ll pick anywhere between September 20 and 27th. Here’s a shot showing where Stan’s organic apple trees end and his block of 828 Pinot […]
How to get a 4’x4’x4′ half-ton (when full of grapes!) picking bin onto the roof of your van? Very carefully! Had to move these two bins from a vineyard near Occidental to Flanagan vineyards on Starr Road. Yes, I did arrive safely! Though it turns out that not every driver was pleased to be behind an old Vanagon going the speed limit…
I was the glass dumper on the bottling line on Monday. We bottled 115 cases of our Devoto Garden Pinot Noir, plus 10 cases of magnums. These guys are now off sleeping over at Vintner’s Express in South San Francisco until the new year (at least!) Here’s a shot of yours truly mixing it up at SF Chefs earlier this month. Thanks to all of those who stopped by. The 09s, which I decanted for 20 minutes or so, were showing very nicely and got a lot of heartfelt compliments for which I’m grateful! Don’t forget to join the wine club! 🙂 PS Look for us at FallFest next month over at Justin Herman Plaza — good times for a good cause!