Harvest started 9/22 with Sauvignon Blanc from Garnier Vineyard (Mosier, OR)
Ended 10/26 with Cabernet Sauvignon from Echo West Vineyard (Echo, OR)
Total tons: 40 (about 2400 cases – 28,800 bottles)
Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Barbera.
Unique Barrel Lots: 15
After a long, harsh winter, spring was typical in the gorge. Wet and cold, bud break was delayed for most NW vineyard sites. Reminded me of the cooler vintages of 2010 and 2011; a welcome break from the 2013,14,15 scorchers.
Mid-season temps were at or below historical averages, with more rainfall than typical. Mid-late summer demanded delicate balance of pulling leaves (so berries can see more sun due to the later start to the season) and avoiding sunburn. Oregon fires brought heavy smoke to much of the northwest. The increased solar reflectivity further slowed ripening throughout much of the region, though by this point we saw typical high temperatures and very cool evenings – which is a great combination for ripening grapes. The dense smoke in the western gorge did not affect grapes from our eastern vineyard sites.
Crush was long and drawn out with rain pressure at the end of the season. Even with weather-caused picking obstacles, grapes came in steadily, which gave me time to treat properly! This was my first vintage in new facility, so I found myself running a significant number of trials and finding interesting variables in the fermentation lots. Sugars came in nicely (not too high), with quite a bit of acidity for most varieties. Good flavor development from a cool vintage, without high sugar, makes for really nice wine! Overall wines are delicate and balanced, really showing off varietal & site character.
I have quite a few projects keeping me busy this spring. We will be bottling in March for May wine club releases, including my first vintage of whites for Jacob Williams. Cellar work will consist of finishing malolactic (secondary) fermentation and some early tastings to determine rack & return/elevage schedule for 2017 wines. Lastly, one of my favorite “jobs”, tasting the 2016 reds, to decide if they are ready to bottle, and putting together blends! I am looking forward to having some new wines in the tasting room and to start planning for the growing season ahead.