The 2001 growing season gave us some unusual weather. We started out with an earlier than normal bud break with the new growing shoots getting a fast start in the spring. The warm weather seemed like we might have an early harvest but as can be expected Mother Nature changed thing with a hard frost in April. Any growth that was out was burned back and our Chardonnay crop was off by about 30%. Also the Merlot got a little frost damage but seemed to recover well. We also added more Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel to our plantings this year. We plan on producing a reserve red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc starting in 2001. A limited bottling of 100% Cabernet Franc will be produced from the 2002 crop and if the new vines produce fruit like the older ones the resulting wine should be excellent! A new wine for 2001 is Syrah from our neighbor’s George and Ann Perham. This vineyard was planted in 1999 under our management and the first harvest this year looks outstanding. The resulting wine will be a Big, Bold and fully ripe red wine with all the wonderful earthy spiciness of a great Syrah.
Estate 2001 Chardonnay
A smaller then normal crop produced nicely concentrated fruit flavors with well-balanced acid in the juice. We barrel fermented our Estate Chardonny in 100% French Oak with about 45% being new. The wine completed 100% malolactic and the yeast lees are being stried bi-weekly to add creaminess to the finish. We will bottle a limited 350 cases in late spring.
Estate 2001 Merlot
This year the Merlot also gave us a smaller crop. The grapes were hand harvested in three different pickings to achieve full ripeness and balance. We ferment all the red in small lots so we can keep each batch separate. This helps us in blending the right mix of barrels later as the wine matures. The 2001 Merlot is very deep in color and is devepling a nice jammy flavors of cherries and blackberries, as we tasted the barrels at the beginning of the New Year. This one looks like a great vintage!
Estate 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon
Warm weather in October really helped to bring the Cabernet Sauvignon to full ripe flavors and a deep purple color by harvest. The fruit was well balanced with a slightly higher PH and softer acids. All the fruit was hand harvested in two separate lots about two weeks apart. This will produce added complexity to the resulting wine and round out the fruit.
We are adding a little more new French Oak to the mix this year bring it up to about 42%. The extra tannins from the oak adds additional complexity to the wine along with sweet vanillan and spice flavors. Over all I think this Cabernet Sauvignon vintage is going to be one for our finest!
Estate 2001 Cabernet Franc
A very small crop this year but with Big flavors and Dark color. This will most likely be blended into the Cabernet Sauvignon before bottling to add aromatics and fruit. The new planting will be bearing fruit in 2002 and we are looking forward to bottling a limited amount of Estate Cabernet Franc!
“Select Ranches” 2001 Zinfandel
The fruit for our “Select Ranches” Zinfandel came from Lone Oak Vineyard. The vineyard is about 5 miles from our own and is a bit warmer. This is the third year that we have worked with owners Ron and Liz Lee. This small four acre vineyard is farmed by the owners and winemaker Bob Dunning works closely with them to produce low tonnage and small berries on the vines. With an average of 2 tons an acre the resulting wine is rich and extracted expressing the full Raspberry flavors of a Big Paso Robles Zin! We barrel age the wine for 12 months in a mix of French and American Oak with about 20% new. After bottling we age the wine an addition 6 months before release. The 2001 vintage looks like one of our best to date!
Estate 2001 Syrah
The 2001 vintage of Syrah is the first wine produced from the new plantings on our neib vineyard. Bob Dunning is managing the vineyard for owners George and Ann Perham and he is using the same “hands on” approach as he does in our own vineyard. A designated block of the vineyard will be under our complete control from pruning to harvest and will go the grapes will go into the new Estate Syrah wine. Using a new GDC style trellis system to bring more sunlight into the vines the new wine is showing wonderful concentration of flavors and a dark purple color. Small lot fermentation and aging in 100% French Oak will bring out the unique spicy, earthiness of a great Rhone red. A very limited production this year!