Jason Joyce
June 30, 2011 | Jason Joyce


    Another milestone passed in the vineyard. This one is pretty exciting, fruit set. The flowers do their magic and become what will become the grapes. We finally can see what kind of harvest we will have yield wise. And as usual, it’s all across the board. Some things have just a hint of clusters; some things are just overflowing with grape potential. Take the Malbec here for example.

Egads, that's a lot of fruit! The Malbec is the one crop on the vineyard that every year produces a huge yield. It makes a certain amount of sense. If you look at the topography of the vineyard, the Malbec is the only block that is completely flat. Thus, the soil is deeper than everywhere else. In all the other blocks, the steep hillsides are no place for sediment to gather, so you basically have exposed limestone, or just a super thin skin of top soil. The flat spot where the Malbec is planted is at the base of the hill that the Cab Franc and Mourvedre are planted. Thus you get a richer top soil, healthier happy plants, and bigger crops. So a large portion of these clusters will have to be sacrificed for the greater good.

As an example, look at this tiny cluster of Cabernet Sauvignon. This is from Block 7 which is quickly becoming known as the Lloyd block. It is used each year as the basis for our estate Cab based blend called the Lloyd. From now on we will have two wines named for our founder, Lloyd Messer, the Cab based Lloyd and the Syrah based Moose. Cabernet Sauvignon in general produces smaller clusters with small berries. This is what leads to Cab being such a big wine. Just like how Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah sound French and delicate, but when you drink them, you feel the power of small berries. Block 7 in particular is very stressed and the yields are always tiny from it. Tiny clusters with only a few berries forces the plant to put everything it has into the least amount of fruit. Thus it produces an extremely concentrated and heavy wine. Look out for the 2008 Lloyd, our first wine produced from Block 7, it is a SERIOUS wine.


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