Journal | Follow the 2019 Harvest | September 11, 2019
Dry conditions have afforded us the opportunity to precision pick. We have seven different plantings of Chardonnay at Hardscrabble. They range in age (35 years to 4 years), soils, and clones. By harvesting and vinifying each block separately we are able to better understand the personality of each parcel. We will also have a diverse palette of components for a bottling of what promises to be a very special 2019 Hardscrabble Chardonnay.
How do I know that the 2019 Chardonnays are special given that they are only just starting to ferment? It’s all about the grapes. We are constantly tasting grapes (and juice from the press). I often get a look of skepticism when talking about making winemaking decisions simply on impressions of grape taste. But just think of peaches or tomatoes: everyone can relate to experiences with grocery store purchases vs. right off the tree or vine ripened from the garden or local orchard.
And then there are bananas. In less than a week’s time they go from hard and starchy to mushy and pungent. We all have our preferences as to the best time to peel. While not as dramatic, grapes go through the same changes during ripening. Our job is to harvest them at just the right time. This is not rocket science, but experience helps.
This year the chardonnay grapes have wonderful balance, ripeness, and concentration. The season has been early and grapes are ripening a bit faster than I would like. The same thing happened in 2016. In some cases this year we are picking on the early side to retain more freshness and acidity in the grapes and therefore the wine.
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