Journal | October 1, 2017
All the Merlot is now in fermenters. This could be the best Merlot Linden has ever produced. If Merlot’s job is primarily to be a supporting actor to Cabernet Sauvignon, it is definitely up for an Oscar nomination this vintage. There was one bump in the road that fortunately was caught in time: over ripeness.
Merlot doesn’t like heat. Last week temperatures rose into the 80s F. At first I was pleased that this would give us an extra boost to ripening. We picked Merlot on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. As we were picking on Monday I thought that maybe we could have waited a bit longer. By Wednesday I started noticing a few berries starting to shrivel. By Friday we had berries starting to fall from the cluster stems when put into lugs (picking baskets). I’m wondering if our “panic” leaf pulling earlier in the month (because of fears of hurricane rains and resulting rot) contributed by allowing too much sun and heat get to the clusters.
This got my attention. I’ve been constantly walking the Petit Verdot and Cabernet still on the vines looking for similar signs. Starting to see some shriveling in one block of Petit Verdot and some very young Cabernet blocks. Everything else looks good. Looks like we will re-prioritize picking. Tomorrow will start with Petit Verdot and possibly young vine Cabernet. Later in the week temps will get well into the 70sF, which normally would be welcome, but I am now a bit concerned and ready to pull the trigger on bringing all the reds in by the weekend. Vidal may have to wait. Vidal excels in waiting!