Journal | September 13, 2016

Hardscrabble Journal

Grape Palate

This week continues another methodical harvest/crush sequence. Pick Monday, chill grapes over night, crush Tuesday. Repeat. This routine has been very productive and relatively relaxing. It has been enabled by the fact that we have been rain free. That may change on Sunday. I don’t put much weight on any weather forecast more than 72 hours out, but I can’t ignore an 80% chance of rain prediction. Friday will be an “open day” for old vine Hardscrabble  Chardonnay, meaning that if the forecast holds and if the grapes are ripe enough we will pick. Otherwise we will take a break.

Shari will be running the lab this morning. We have backed up a bit with the analysis side of determining ripeness levels, so the “numbers” (sugar and acidity) will be helpful. I’ve been depending more on taste and observation lately. In taking grape samples yesterday I’m getting mixed messages from the Riesling and Chardonnay. I’m not used to grapes ripening under such warm conditions, especially Riesling which is a cool climate grape. Jonathan, Shari and I share a great love for Riesling which is why we make it against all odds. We are trying to grow a cool climate grape in a warm environment. This conflict between passion and reality in our craft is not uncommon.

This time of year winegrowers quickly develop their grape palates. It is a unique skill to be able to taste grapes or juice and get a sense of ripeness, balance and winemaking strategies. The only down side is that when I taste wine, I find it less enjoyable as the alcohol levels always tend to be too high and aggressive. Can’t have it both ways.

This morning we will be crushing yesterday’s harvest of Avenius Sauvignon Blanc and Boisseau Chardonnay. All the white grapes are now picked from these two sites. Avenius Sauvignon Blanc are the most expressive and exciting grapes we have brought in so far.

Linden Vineyards / Learn More / Latest at Linden | Journal: September 13, 2016

Jim Law