Here are some “famous last words” from my previous report: “meanwhile, I stay glued to the weather forecasts, on the lookout for late heatwaves and early rainstorms. These are the main things that can mess with an otherwise glorious crush season.” Well, we got ‘em both. With all due respect to T. S. Eliot, April is not the cruelest month, at least not in 2022; September is. Just ask a winemaker.
Around Labor Day weekend, we sweated through five of the hottest days ever seen in this area, and the vines took a beating. Then, about ten days later, we got an unusually wet September storm. It was like whiplash. The rain didn’t do much harm, but the heat really did a number on the grapes. We got some unavoidable shrivel, and the ripening process pretty much stopped in its tracks for a while.
There’s always good news, however, and here it comes. I got the Wildcat Pinot Noir picked just before the heat, so it was safe. The white grapes don’t absorb as much solar heat as the reds, and they got through just fine; in fact, the flavors in our Sauvignon Blanc and Marsanne | Roussanne are as deep and fine as ever. The estate Syrah, which was very close to ready before the heat, is also looking stellar.
The Zins always shrivel a bit toward harvest anyway, so nothing new there, and they are likewise showing well, with perhaps a bit riper flavors than usual. The rosé is super tasty, but most rosé is made in hot regions anyway. That just leaves the Cabernet, which is very elegant and a bit more restrained than usual. All in all, given what happened, things are tasting pretty darn good! This winemaker is happy.