1999 Vintage

A year of contrasts. The drought of 1998 continued. August gave us uncommonly hot days and no rain. Harvest began early with high sugars and low acids. Then the rains came. September was one of the wettest in memory. The Riesling was particularly hard hit by rot. The reds were real troopers. Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon held in suspended animation while the Cabernet Franc developed botrytis in a way I have never seen before. The Cabernet Franc developed wonderfully sweet, spicy flavors and was ultimately bottled on its own. The other reds held tight until the rains stopped in October and were picked with modest concentration, but wonderfully ripe tannins.

Whites are nicely balanced with good mineral acidity (no malolactic fermentations). The Chardonnays are aging particularly well and are taking on good Burgundian characteristics.

The reds are very supple and elegant with great finesse. These are hedonistic wines that are pleasing when young. They will be good for mid-term aging, but may not last as long as the 1997 and 1998 vintages. Drink now to 2009.

Jim Law