Journal | September 12, 2016
This weekend we crushed and pressed more small lots of Avenius Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay along with Boisseau Viognier. Our strategy of “micro picking” parts of blocks based on soil, vine age and ripeness seems to be working. The goal with the whites is to retain freshness (acidity), but still have ripe flavors and good mid palate texture in the wines. Sauvignon Blanc is always a challenge under hot, dry conditions as its sugars spike quickly, but acids are slow to decrease. I my early years, when the mantra was “the riper the better”, Linden produced some Sauvignon Blanc close to 15% alcohol. These “Vodka wines” were hardly refreshing.
At this point our job is to react to what the vines are doing and to the weather. Looks like this week will be quite full with more Avenius Sauvignon Blanc, Boisseau Chardonnay (finally), and some Hardscrabble Chardonnay and perhaps Riesling. Always subject to change. The week’s weather looks good, with cooler temps (ideally I would like to see highs in the 70’s and lows in the 50’s) and little chance of rain. However we are at the point where the right kind of rain would be beneficial to refresh the vines. They are starting to look a bit parched. Rain coming from the north or west is welcome as they tend to be short duration with cool dry air following. Rain from the South or East is usually problematic as it can be persistent (several days) and muggy leading to rot pressure in the clusters. I can only think of three other vintages where we were hoping for some rain in September: 1991, 1998, and 2010.
The cellar now looks, sounds and smells like harvest. “Looks” because of the jumble of small tanks, barrels, hoses and equipment crowded into very available corner. “Sounds” because of the bubbling and whistling of fermentation locks letting carbon dioxide from fermentation to escape. “Smells” because of the wonderfully intoxicating fruity, yeasty aromas filling the cellar and wafting up into the tasting room.