The first white grapes were picked and pressed from Klipsun Vineyard, starting August 29th. Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon were all completed and to barrel, Ovium barrel, or concrete egg by September 5th. We got started on reds with our first pick of the year being Merlot from Quintessence Vineyard on September 4th. Now, all Merlot from Red Mountain is complete along with Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, which will be completed by next week. I imagine we will be finished with fruit for Fidelitas by the end of the week of October 7th. Things move quickly on Red Mountain.
Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Block 75 Merlot in the Cellar
The quality level of this vintage is exceptional and reminds me of 2009 and to a certain extent, 1999. Both of those vintages turned out to be incredible years. We are consistently able to reach the flavors we are looking for at lower than normal Brix levels, leading to slightly lower alcohol levels and higher natural acids. My theory is that with more moderate summer temperatures, we had less days when the vines shut down to protect themselves from the heat. We were able to accumulate sugar at a more even pace and thus, a great year. It might be a bit premature to declare 2019 the vintage of the decade but it does show tremendous potential.
Clonal Cabernet from the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard
We heard from Will!
Ever since he left Woodinville to start his winemaking journey with Charlie, he has been quite the busy man. But he was able to climb out of the tanks to give us an update on how harvest is going and let's just say, this vintage will be one for the books!
- I'm writing this right before I start my split shift so I'll make it quick; harvest has picked up so half the crew at the winery is working 6am-4pm, crushing fruit, measuring fermentations and inoculating, + doing the morning pumpovers, punchdowns, and roll of the roller barrels while the second half of the team works 10am-8pm pressing fermentations into barrel and finishing with the pumpovers. Mitch, Chaz, and I usually meet right at 10am to taste through everything and decide what's going to get pressed that afternoon or next morning.
- The biggest thing we've noticed is how "bright" the wines are from this harvest - great acidity, light on the palate, without any overripe fruit characteristics. We've seen a gradual cool end of the summer which has allowed us to pick things at a nice even pace without worrying about everything getting ripe all at once. Sometimes we get pretty warm mid-September but the forecast is mid-high 70's with
- We're about 40% done with all the Fidelitas picks which is hard to believe but we still have lots and lots of cab coming in which tends to be the most work with all the different fermentation vessels that we use for those,
- Right now we have 33 red, 12 white, 2 rose active fermentations at Wine Boss
- The most exciting news yet is the 3 Estate Vineyard lots we have going, Merlot, Malbec, and Clone 169 Cab. Can't wait to try those after they getting closer to being dry. We've processed quite a bit of Quintessence fruit already so we'll have a good benchmark to compare those too.
- Fun fact: Malbec looks horrible when it gets crushed, the insides are lime green, everything falls apart, and the juice is like a beige/pale color. Then overnight magic happens and the juice is a dark purple color and tastes like wildberry jam.
Thanks for the update, Will! Now...get back to pumpovers!
We're now heading in to the time of year where I barely see Charlie and am happy to get quick texts from him and pictures from Will. Harvest is underway! Here is what we're hearing from Charlie: "We picked our first reds on Wednesday: Merlot from Quintessence Vineyard. The fruite seems to have more, riper flavors this year but at lower Brix than normal. I believe it is from having nice warm weather but not having super hot days exceeding 100F during the growing season. All of the whites we have picked have been lower brix than normal but have had great flavors. Things are looking great so far!"
pick schedule looks easy to start
Sauvignon Blanc in Artz Vineyard
out for the first pick: Klipsun Sauvignon Blanc early on August 29
first day of harvest...still smiling
the pick schedule is getting fuller...but he's still smiling!
Merlot in Quintessence Vineyard, consistently our first red block of the year
Quintessence Merlot coming in to the cellar
and then finding a rest spot to ferment in a Boutes tank