It is happening again--notes on harvest 2016
Harvest 2016 is upon us. It's another early year, not quite like 2015 but earlier than normal. The weather has been incredibly nice so far--mild sunny afternoons, cool grey mornings. Sugar accumulation in the fruit has been slow. The harvest is off to a very gradual start. In fact it has only gotten slightly manic today. This actually feels kind of good; you can only do the "hurry up and wait" so long before going stir crazy.
I am optimistic about quality this year. Grapes taste good, sugars are moderate, acids are high. Color in the early Pinot lots is very good--bright and intense. We will see how the other components come together but it's encouraging so far. More to come.
Harvest has now wound down almost to a close. There are a few fermentations still on skins. All of the Pinot Noir is in barrel and I have recently tasted through everything from the 2016 harvest, both my wines and those of my clients. I always hesitate to make predictions this early in the game but early returns are promising. A little reminiscent of 2015, with bright flavors, good acidity, nice purity of fruit. Also like 2015, flavors, color and extract were all ready at fairly modest sugar levels so alcohols are not too high. We will see how the wines develop as the go through the malolactic fermentation.
Update--my assistant Rita and I have consolidated, topped, run analysis and most importantly, tasted through all the 2016 wines. My early impressions, that it was a good vintage with energetic, deeply colored (in the case of the reds) wines with bright acidity appears to be correct. Several of my wines have an edge to them--angular, slightly funky, not always approachable. I used to say that a wine had to be ugly before it got pretty, and this seems to be true in 2016. A couple of hours in a glass on the counter lets the funk blow off and what shows through is pretty exciting--dense fruit, lots of energy and tension. I always hesitate to make pronouncements this early in the season so suffice to say that I am encouraged by what I am seeing.