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It was the best of times: It was the worst of times…

Harvest Notes – 2011: “It was the best of times: It was the worst of times” is a quote from Dickens, but that could well apply to the 2011 harvest on the Central Coast of California. So far the Syrah is awesome, and the Zinfandel (made for a client) really good. The Pinot Noir fruit came in at 24.5 brix, and a 3.65 pH. The Cabernet – 19.2 tons is excellent, and may well qualify as the best Cabernet Sauvignon fruit ever from the Dry Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles CA.  How do we judge this? Great color in the fruit, nutty brown seeds, velvety skins, and a flavor profile that was better than the 2008 that won a Gold Medal from the same vineyard. Great times in a strange year!

A word about strangeness.  We had rain, a freeze, more rain, and then very cold weather again.  A few wineries lost 100% of their fruit due to the freeze, and many lost between 30% and 60% of their crop.  The Dry Creek Vineyard did not suffer any loss to speak of – maybe 10% but not in all varieties.  We wish we could say that was because we are terrific farmers, but actually I think it was dumb luck.  The vineyard was in the right place at a time when surrounding vineyards were hit hard.

The wines are all in barrel now, and resting comfortably.  There were no problems this harvest, other than dealing with the cold and with a new, borrowed basket press (See photo at left) that needed to be repaired before we could actually use it.  In another article I will detail the basket press, and contrast it with the membrane press we usually use.

All in all, a harvest to remember!



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