Vineyard Manager Martin getting the show on the road.
The day has finally arrived when we get back to work and start making wine. Not to say we haven’t been working these past few weeks scrubbing tanks and equipment, but that really isn’t the part of the job description we aspire to. So the 2012 COSECHA (Harvest) kicked off today with the first pick of our estate Chardonnay. The morning fog was perfect keeping us and the fruit chilly while we happily took the grapes from the vines. This year was everything we hope for in a growing season, very warm temperatures allowing the grapes to mature evenly and smoothly.
The first fruit for our 2012 harvest, Estate Chardonnay Block 10.
The estate Chardonnay was characterized by small pocket clusters yielding just over a ton per acre and the summer heat during August made for just enough golden skins on the cluster shoulders indicating the ripeness we look for in this style of Chardonnay. We are definitely not aspiring for any rendition of an old world wine and appreciate the climate in Paso Robles that creates full flavored, textured, and layered wines. We make three different styled chardonnays here at Calcareous, mainly differing in oak and malo-lactic levels.
The fruit we harvested today will be cold settled then racked into a variety of French oak barrels letting each fermentation to go slowy by managing temperature. Then we let it rest on its lees occasional stirring allowing secondary fermentation to carry out naturally in barrel. The miniscule yields we get from the vineyard really concentrate the flavors within the berries themselves giving us the components we desire. Every year the vines get a little bit older, the roots dig a little deeper, all adding more depth and typicity to the final wines each vintage. Not only is this wine the most exciting because it gets harvested first but because it is so much fun to make and watch evolve during its elevage in the cellar.
I made a guess in June this year when we would start harvest and I chose September 1, so I was pretty close only missing it by a day, not bad! For the first time in two years we began picking in August so hopefully this year won’t be such a nail biter going into the fall season. We will be posting daily Harvest on-goings and pictures so stay tuned. Cheers!
The 2012 Calcareous Vineyard Harvest Team and cadet toasting with Champagne and Chardonnay press juice mimosas. (John, Luis, Martin, Ignacio, Rory, Herschel, Jason)