Journal | September 22, 2017
For the last week I have been obsessed by the tracking of hurricanes Jose and Maria, well aware of the potential massive rains that they could inflict on our vineyards. Fortunately my staff understands the ramifications and therefor knows that I’m really not a nut job the way I keep changing my mind as to picking decisions. Turns out that Jose and Maria will stay off shore. In fact their positioning will be responsible for a very positive side effect of pumping warm, dry air into the mid-Atlantic for the next week. We are taking full advantage of our luck by delaying Merlot harvest until next week. This will be the ripest Merlot we have picked since 2010.
Yesterday we picked the old vine Hardscrabble Chardonnay and “Rosé”. The Chardonnay was worth the wait. Flavors had turned a corner and acid calmed down. This should be an important component of the Hardscrabble Chardonnay. We have five distinct blocks of Chardonnay on the Hardscrabble site. All five don’t necessary make it to the flagship wine. We will decide the blend next year.
Our Rosé pick is complicated as it involves all three vineyards and four grape varieties (Merlot, Cab. Franc, Cab. Sauv, and a bit of Petit Verdot). We pick parts of blocks, corners, edges, and designated rows. This year all the Hardscrabble Cabernet Franc went to Rosé. We started seeing berry dehydration that would probably prevent the CF from achieving the full maturity needed to make a great red wine. I think that it it a result of the dry June and July, as the vines struggles for water and nutrients. We are working with VA Tech on doing some forensics with plant tissue analysis.