It's the end of August so it must be bottling time, and with a warm growing season the grapes are going to be ready for harvest maybe by the end of next week.
I spent this afternoon arranging all my barrels of 2015 Vincent wines for racking the next two days. That's when I'm assembling my blends, mixing these barrels and those barrels to come up with my various bottlings of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and finally Gamay Noir.
Blending is the art of finding barrels of my wine that I think most reflect what was great in each particular vineyard where I have vines. I look for barrels with good intensity and the right acid and tannin structure that creates harmony in a wine, literally how it feels.
With the 2015 vintage, I will produce six different single vineyard bottlings, more than any year ever. This fall I'm releasing my annual Armstrong vineyard designate from Ribbon Ridge. Next spring I'll release 2015 vineyard designate wines from Zenith, Bjornson and Silvershot (renamed Crowley Station).
Then a year from now I'll have two special bottlings from 2015 that I haven't mentioned much yet. One is from old vines at Temperance Hill that I got in 2015 but am not a lock to get it every year going forward. The other is a late bottled wine from Armstrong based on one fermenter of special grapes the grower and I selected, aged longer in older oak to showcase the elegant power of this vineyard.
Bottling happens this Friday, and then we'll quickly be getting fermentation bins and other harvest materials ready to go. Last year was my earliest harvest ever, starting Labor Day weekend. We might top that this year, just hope for cool, dry weather right at harvest. That makes such a difference.
I usually begin picking Pinot Noir at Armstrong on Ribbon Ridge before anywhere else, sometimes then Silvershot though lately Zenith and even Bjornson have been coming in beforehand. We'll see about the Gamay at Bjornson, it's a later ripener but the Gamay vines are still young here and that means they could ripen earlier. Then I have my cool sites for later ripening Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, which should come in last though who knows at this point.
Something will surprise me I'm sure.