This has been the coldest week I can remember since 1994. The pond has frozen enough for ice skating and most outside wall water pipes have frozen. However, we are not too concerned about any vine damage as the coldest temperatures have “only” been in the low single digits. Additionally the cold came gradually and the vines are at peak cold hardiness. If this would have happened in late February it would be a different story.

Under these circumstances our vines can handle about -5F. They aren’t affected by wind chill factors. But we are. This has been a very physically inactive week. Nothing happening outside. Cabin fever has yet to be much of an issue due to a lot of good books and waning holiday activities. We have copious amounts of firewood stacked and the pruning can wait for nicer days. Fortunately there has been only a trace of snow, so snow removal has not been a factor.

We had put barrels of wine outside to chill. if the wine temperature gets down to the high 20sF for a period of time they become cold stable and won’t throw tartrates (wine diamonds) later in the bottle. However we brought them inside earlier this week in response to my nightmares of exploding barrels and frozen wine running on the crush pad floor.

This week is Linden’s traditional start of blending trials. We have started with Boisseau and Avenius reds (all 2017). This vintage is an easy one to blend as we have so much good material to work with. Shari, Jonathan, Richard and I get together at 3:00 and first taste taste through every barrel (of Boisseau in this case). We take notes and discuss the merits and deficiencies of each barrel, then start with three possible blends, tasted blind. After two days we came pretty close, but we weren’t comfortable enough to make the final decision, so will re-visit in February.

The Avenius lots were much easier as the Cabernet and Merlot had great synergy. The first blending attempt was spot on, but ultimately we ended up kicking out one barrel of Merlot in order to increase the % of Cabernet and give more density to the wine.

Hardscrabble blending this coming week.