Journal | January 22, 2019
Tasting Vintage 2018
The vineyard floor is ice coated as partially thawed snow was rained on then re-frozen. This makes pruning hazardous, especially on steep slopes. One slip can result in a self-driven slalom through the vines.
So this is a good week to get reacquainted with the cellar. Any winemaking game plan involves tasting first, which is what we did yesterday. Our focus was the 2018 vintage. It has been awhile since we have methodically tasted these developing wines. I find it best to not taste too frequently as one can lose a sense of the trajectory of development. A comparison would be the difference between parents and distant grandparents watching the kids grow. Parents are often too close to recognize the obvious, whereas visiting grandparents immediately recognize any seemingly subtle change.
Rosé was perhaps the most exciting wine of yesterday’s tasting. With loads of energy and precision, this will be an exciting wine to accompany the first warm days of spring.
Close behind Rosé in the tasting was Petit Manseng. The clusters of this grape can hang through any weather event, which was clearly evident in 2018. The wine is highly perfumed with a hauntingly crystalline acidity that lingers forever.
The Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling were in a bit of a reductive funk, which is their habit during the winter. The texture of the wines close down and their aromas remind me of scrambled eggs and onions. This can be off putting to say the least, but they always pull out of it, so we don’t worry. Well maybe just a little.
Chardonnay was all over the place. Boisseau was being stubborn and not showing much development. Avenius was joining Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling by showing some funk in the nose, but this is often typical for this vineyard. Hardscrabble was pure and classic, but skinny and needs to put on some weight. As we had anticipated, all the Chardonnay barrels will be blended to make a Village Chardonnay for 2018, with no single vineyard bottlings.
Sadly, there were no red wines made in 2018, which leaves a big hole in our winter tastings and blending trials. We did however taste the 2017 reds, which gladden the heart.