Grand Sumo

A lot of things have happened since my last entry, but let me start with yesterday.

We picked 9 tons of wonderful Blue Oak Cabernet Sauvignon for Selene on Tuesday. We crushed that at Laird. The picking went really well, the fruit looked good and came off clean, not too many leaves.

We racked a bit of the second lot of Sauvignon Blanc that we picked back in September out of barrels up to Tank. We took a little bit of lees with it. Then I used some of those barrels with the lees still in them, to use with the last Sauvignon Blanc that we brought in that was tank fermented. That tank was about 1200 gallons and is now in about 20 barrels.

We pressed the first tank of Frediani Merlot. It had a wonderful extraction, the color really came up in the tank nicely. I’m looking forward to tasting it as some of the solids settle out the next couple of days.

The Cab Franc is coming along nicely in the tank. I’m going to let it sit and macerate for a little extra time. It is still a little sweet, so we are down to about one pump over a day. It tastes really nice.

I had some visitors, Marty and Laura Austin from Connecticut, stop by the winery. They are fans of Selene, as well as other great Napa Valley wines. I tasted them on the Franc while they were here. They were out here helping a lot of people during harvest, especially sorting at the crusher. I told them they should get jobs as consultants! It shouldn’t be hard with their experience with all the sorting systems they have seen, some of the best of the best. They work with a lot of David Abreu clients. Laura pointed out they are well versed in cleaning them as well. It is very important to clean equipment, if you don’t want to set yourself up for problems later. I was told as a young winemaker that winemaking is 90 percent dishwashing and 10 percent art.

Today I’m heading up to Stagecoach Vineyards. We are getting a little long in the tooth in this season, getting towards mid October. I want to nail down a picking date for the last Cabernet pick for Selene.

Then I’m headed off to Palmaz Winery to walk the vineyards with the winemaker Tina Mitchell. We will be prioritizing their picks. Tina indicated that they would be picking just about everyday for the next week or two.

Then I’ll go by Laird to get the pump over requests in. The Bressler Cab Franc and Petit Verdot that is still fermenting tastes really wonderful. When I was there yesterday, one of the interns came up to me and said he had done the punch down that morning, and wanted me to know how good it was. I was lucky and made it in time for the noon punch time and it really looks good.

After that, I will go up to Fisher Vineyards. Like everyone else, they are also in the thick of it. I’ll be doing some tasting from fermenters, and going over what they have left to pick.

As far as this last weekend, I got to take a full day off on Sunday! It was the first time in 20 years that Japan’s Grand Sumo has been in the United States. So we went off to Las Vegas to watch the last day of Tournaments on Sunday. The problem was there was so many events in Las Vegas (two fights, two golf tournaments, Sumo, etc) the hotel had overbooked. The strip was crazy! Our hotel didn’t have our suite, so they kicked us up to the 62nd floor, in a penthouse suite. The view was beautiful. We got a lot done for a day off. We had a lunch meeting with our distributor, Vin Sauvage, and Sumo in the afternoon. Then we got right back to it on Monday. It was good to get a day away from everything, very refreshing.

We are getting down to it, with the last picks. We have one more pick for Selene. Bressler has one more pick this Friday. My other clients are starting to wind things down. When you get close to this mid October time, the weather reports start looking a little scary. Things can tend to be a little less on our side. We have enjoyed some very nice weather in September and October, but you can’t push your luck too far.