September 29, 2011

End of the growing season

The winegrape harvest in the northern Willamette Valley is so close. In a normal year, I would be picking pinot noir from lower elevation warmer sites. This year we are still weeks away, with doom on the horizon.

Portland, where I am, saw delightful autumn weather today. A cool morning, then sunny skies with temperatures in the low 80s for a while in the afternoon. September has been warmer than July, just when we needed it after such a cold season. Vineyards have really been progressing this month. If things could hang on, you're thinking this could be classic.

Until you see the forecast. Cold, windy and rainy. Perhaps epic amounts of precipitation. Or maybe it's just the usual soaking here and there, with dry times in between, bad but now awful. Either way, tough.

Which makes me think of harvest 2005. The calendar is the same this year as 2005, and Thursday the 29th, 2005, was the last in a string of lovely days. The next three days saw two inches of rain in Portland, ushering in a month of on and off again rain and maybe two days at 70F or higher in October.

The moral of story. Oh my god. No, seriously, October can be cold and wet. We just need to deal with it, especially in what has been exceptionally cold and wet growing season. We just need to pick low brix, high acid pinot noir and make great wine, like people do elsewhere in the world with the same situations. I'm kind of excited about it. [what I don't want is rot and mold from rain and generally damp conditions. We'll see about that.]

So, it's going to be a long two weeks before I think we might start picking at one of our sites. The other two will be another week at least. What a late and, now, possibly wet harvest. All you can do now is watch the skies.

September 28, 2011

2010 Vincent Wine Company Pinot Tasting

Readers may recall that I make wine. When I pour my wines, it's always fun meeting people who read this site. I'm holding another event this weekend and readers, please, come and taste my latest wines.

I'm releasing all my 2010 Pinot Noirs this Sunday, October 2, 1-5pm at the Slate, a mixed use space at 2001 NW 19th Avenue in Portland. I'll be pouring with friend and Guild Winemakers partner Anne Hubatch, who will be sampling her latest release of Helioterra wines.

It's a drop in thing, very casual, open to the public. There is no charge to taste. We will be selling all our new releases, so please buy wines that you like. The holidays are coming.

I will have small amounts of both of my 2010 single vineyard bottlings available. 2010 is the third year I've made Zenith Vineyard wine, all Pommard clone on a shallow soiled knoll in the vineyard. Red fruited, delicate and subtle, aged completely in older oak. The prettiest wine I've made.

This is the first year of Armstrong Vineyard from Ribbon Ridge, on Lewis Rogers Lane just down from Ayres and Brickhouse. Darker, more black-fruited wine as you would expect here. 25% new oak, good density, a more substantial wine.

A few local shops and restaurants will have these wines, but not many. And not for long. Hope you can join us this Sunday to taste.

September 01, 2011

Late summer

It's summer and everything and nothing is going on. The tomatoes are coming on. The sunflowers tall and lanky.

And the nocino sits in the garden, baking in the daylight and heat. Brown now, the color of coffee but thicker. Chartreuse even, when sloshed around. The nocino will stay out here until November and still be a touch raw then.

Meanwhile I just got back from a short visit to the southern Okanagan Valley of central British Columbia. More on that later. But it's amazing how driving up US 97 through Washington, you go from nowhere Washington to the vibrant Okanagan valley on the Canadian side.

Immediately across the border it's orchards and vineyards tucked in remarkable places above the lake and below the glacier-carved granite walls. Truly wonderful landscape, and amid lots of good wine, I found what might be great wine. Certainly the best dry wine I've tried from BC. More later

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