2013 was a difficult growing season that metamorphosed into a fabulous fall harvest. Bud break was very late. Most of the summer was wet, resulting in unruly vegetative growth and extra vineyard work. August continued this pattern until the last week when the weather broke.
Every vintage has its personality. Much like raising children, some vintages are easy, but most are not. Wet vintages require more intervention and guidance as the vines, through no fault of their own, take on a bit of a wild streak. Ample water availability during the growing season makes vines unruly, like kids fed too much sugary junk food. This was the case for the growing season of 2013. Until September.
September defines the quality and style of the wine. The bad behavior of the previous six months can be easily forgiven and forgotten if September is bright and sunny. September 2013 rewarded us for all our diligence during the growing season. The wild child of summer finally found a niche and thrived into early adulthood. With the exception of one very brief rain shower, we had no rain in September. This is quite remarkable in the mid Atlantic. In autumn, dusty gravel roads and brown grass gladden the winemaker’s heart. Days were warm and sunny; nights were very cool. Ripening was slow, preserving very fresh acidity and aromatics in the whites. 2013 whites are stylistically, exactly what we want: moderate sugars, high acids, and loads of minerality.
Merlot and Cabernet Franc were able to take full advantage of September’s gift, ripening fully before the rains that began on October 10. With the exception of early ripening Boisseau Vineyard (already picked), the Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot had to be rushed in before the rains did too much damage. The resulting red wines have fresh acidity and a good core. They will be good candidates for aging.