by Winemaker Annette Hoff Danzer
Harvest manifests itself in many ways. At the very basic level it’s the time when grapes are harvested and there’s work vinifying those grapes. Beyond that though each harvest has a different “mood”, if you will. Some are hectic, crazy and chaotic when the weather presents us with one heat wave after another (2005, 2007 & 2009). Others are slow and reluctant – the industry is poised to harvest but the weather or the vines just take their own “sweet” time in moving things along (2006 and 2011 are great examples). 2016 is an outlier. It is proving to be a complex and interesting year that will, quite frankly, produce a variety of fantastic wines from Monterey County.
We had a rather easy growing season – a little cold in the spring (but not nearly as bad as 2015) that followed a winter that produced more rainfall than we had experienced in quite some time. The vines overall responded very well to that winter rainfall and grew more vigorously and healthfully than the few years previous. Then followed a summer that was relatively mild and fruit ripening lagged at the end of August well into September. Finally, toward the end of the summer moving into fall we experienced a few heat waves that moved harvest along. Overall what I am tasting in the grapes we have brought in are wonderful, well-developed flavors at unusually low sugar levels (for California). This will translate into wines that are full-bodied and complex without a whole lot of alcohol content – a harvest I cannot say I have experienced before in California since I started in the business in 1994. I’m excited by the quality of the fruit we have brought in.
As I write this the winery is bursting with the potential of 2016: Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc in addition to Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and a variety of Pinot Noir. We already made and bottled our 2016 Pinot Noir Pétillant Naturel (just in time for the holidays!) and I am almost overwhelmed with all kinds of ideas and inspirations of possible blends and small-lot bottlings already (for instance: we have one barrel of a lovely Wente-clone Chardonnay from Antle Vineyard that is promising to be a marvelous gem of a wine.) Stay tuned… I think there will be some barrel tastings coming up this spring so you can experience these wines sooner than later!!