AN UPDATE FROM WINEMAKER RICH FREDERICK
They say the best wines are made in the vineyard. That has been our approach using the best farming practices to encourage the vines to produce optimum fruit. Seemingly insignificant details like what kind of cover crop to plant between the rows, or when to water at certain times of the year can make all of the difference in the world. With the proper approach to caring for the vines and the good fortune of the weather cooperating, we have the ability to consistently set the table for a truly remarkable vintage.
The 2019 Vine Cliff harvest began on September 4th with the harvest of our first block of Carneros Estate Chardonnay. The final block was harvested on September 23rd and will soon be in barrel gently fermenting away. We’re taking a more experimental approach to the winemaking this year. The first aspect is harvesting the grapes at different levels of ripeness. With varying mouthfeel and finished alcohols, this gives us a painter’s palette, so to speak, of wines to blend with. We are also judiciously selecting new and used French barrels with the idea that Chardonnay likes oak, but as with many things, there is a threshold that should be respected.
With all of the Chardonnay barrels fermenting in our historic Stone Room , we can now shift our focus to the Oakville Estate vineyard. We will harvest Malbec and the crowd pleasing Zinfandel on the 30th of September, with a block of the hillside Cabernet Sauvignon soon to follow. We often get the common question “is this an unusually late harvest?”. The short answer is yes, but historically speaking, it wasn’t unusual to begin harvesting Cabernet in October and going well into November depending where you are in the valley. We had a particularly cold rainy winter which delayed the vines coming out of hibernation. The Spring and Summer have presented ideal growing conditions in the Napa Valley with the perfect balance of warm days and cool evenings to encourage vine growth and fruit ripening. The 2019 harvest is shaping up to be another spectacular one and we are eager to share the wines with you!
September 26th, 2019