October 03, 2007

Harvest update - Many more tons of pinot noir, and syrah

Just back from the longest day yet of this harvest, for me at least. With many tons of grapes already in, there's lots of cellar work to do. So gently mixing fresh bins that aren't fermenting yet, kicking off fermentation in older bins, cleaning the press, punching down the bins that are fermenting (which I somehow avoid), and sorting fruit. Literally tons and tons of fruit.

First Syrah from southern Oregon, big jangly clusters of slightly wilting fruit, ripe and pulpy. We went through just a few tons, all very clean and nicely ripe. I have a bad impression of southern Oregon fruit, for whatever reason. But it is so nice to see this fruit, full of promise, and taste a delicious free run sample of newly fermented syrah from another southern Oregon vineyard that came in a couple weeks ago. These look like promising wines, even if the market doesn't seem too hot on Oregon syrah.

Then numerous tons of Pinot Noir from the Amity area, same source as yesterday but from a different block of the vineyard. Yesterday was all Pommard clone, today is all 115. There's some rot like yesterday, but really not a lot and we sorted it out pretty well. The crop on this particular vineyard seems a bit high, so there are a number of lesser ripe wings and shoulders that we weed out. All together, processing goes well and the fruit looks nicely ripe without high sugars.

After cleaning up, we eat and enjoy a couple wines, one in particular the 2005 Palmina Barbera Santa Barbara County. This is the label of Steve Clifton of Brewer-Clifton for his mostly Italian varietals. I really like this wine. It's clearly new world in style with its impeccable purity and cleanliness. But it's true to Barbera, with perfume, a soft texture, and ripe fruit balanced by bright acidity. What's not to like? I see this is $25 or so, which isn't cheap. But for Barbera of this quality, that's about right, certainly not overpriced.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am loving this blog. Keep up the good work.

Michael Alberty said...

Steve Clifton also flies up to Walla Walla to make the wine for his old USC roomie John Turner. The winery is Ash Hollow and Steve has a really deft touch when it comes to oak. And his Ash Hollow whites are just as impressive as the Palmina whites, which I like a whole lot. If you ever see a bottle of Palmina Malvasia Bianca or the Ash Hollow Somanna on a shelf somewhere, check them out.