Scheduled First Pick!

I went out to sample this morning.  I stopped at the Frediani 181 Merlot in Calistoga first and grabbed a sample there.  Then I went down to Bressler Vineyards, and walked the Merlot vineyard with Bob and Stacey Bressler and got a sample.  We went into their kitchen and checked both samples.  They both seem to be running pretty even these past couple of years.  Sure enough both these Merlots are at 25 bricks, and tasting fairly similar.  I think the Frediani merlot is a hair ahead of the Bressler Merlot at this point. 

They both taste good, but they need a little bit more time.  Not so much to get anymore sugar, which will slow down in accumulation now that we have reached this 25 brick point, but to get a little bit more flavor.  Both Jim Frediani and Brad (with Abreu Vineyard Management) are going to put a hair more water on these to see if we can get them into the first week of September.  I’ll be out again on Monday to take a look at these as well as some other things.

Then I rode down to Hyde Vineyard to check in on the Sauvignon Blanc.  As I was driving in I ran into Larry Hyde and his vineyard foreman Jose.  We all stopped by the side of the avenue to talk. 

Larry says, “I’m glad I ran into you.  You saved me a phone call.  Do you want to pick in October or November?”

It was kind of a little joke, and it means his schedule is getting full when it comes to picking.  He not only picks sparkling wine material at another property that he has in Carneros, which is pretty much done now.  But he also has some young Chardonnay and other stuff that comes on early.  Normally Sauvignon Blanc is one of the first grapes picked, but with some of these low crop and young vines, things get going.  So pick dates are starting to fill up.  It’s the typical pressure from the grower to get things going.  It’s the cat and mouse game of the vineyard owner/manager and the winemaker.  Everybody is trying to get what they want out of the situation.  In the end everyone wants the same thing, but they want to get there a slightly different way.  So it’s humorous, but something you have to keep in mind.

Like the Merlots that I just talked about, in the past week the Sauvignon Blanc moved almost 2 bricks up to 23 bricks.  Like the Merlots the flavors aren’t quite there yet, but coming real close.  I got on schedule with Larry to start a pick.  We are going to go after about half of the creek block (newer block) on Friday August 31st.  We will probably go after the other half on Monday, September 3rd.  Everyone always works on Labor Day in the wine business.  We may even go after the old block (own rooted) Sauvignon Blanc the following Friday, Sept. 7th.

That’s how it looks right now.  I’ll be out again on Monday to do another round of sampling.  So far the only thing that is on the schedule is that first pick of Sauvignon Blanc on August 31st.

I’ll probably do a little more sampling at Frediani and at Bressler on Monday.  I’ll look at the Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot at Bressler and the Cabernet Franc and other block of Merlot at Frediani for Selene.

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