Harvest 2023 Update
I received an email recently from one of our vendors that described 2023 crush as “the harvest that would not end.” This is not far from the truth. We started with our estate Sauvignon Blanc on September 22nd, and finished with the estate Cabernet on October 30th, both two to three weeks later than “normal.” The Cab wasn’t pressed off and moved into barrel until the week before Thanksgiving. The latest of my career!
Because the cool weather that started it all in the spring continued (mostly) through the fall, we are not only late starting ML (malolactic fermentation), we are also trying to get it done in a very cold cellar. This slows the process a great deal. ML refers to a secondary fermentation whereby beneficial bacteria convert malic acid into lactic acid. In white wines it can significantly affect the flavor. In red wines (where we do it) it is largely for stability.
The good news is that quality is very high across the board. In coastal California’s normally warm, sunny climate, the only problem (and it’s a problem many other wine growing regions would be happy to have) is that we sometimes get sugar accumulation in the grapes ahead of flavor development. This year the flavors arrived well ahead of sugars, so the wines have an extra-full level of depth and complexity. It looks to be an exceptional vintage.
Bottling 2022 Vintage
Not to leave out the also-excellent 2022 wines, we got all the reds except the Cabernet bottled at the end of August. There was much less drama this time—no hailstorms or freezing rain as we had to endure during the spring run. Bottling is a mixed bag. While it is exciting to get each vintage safely into bottle, it is also a tedious, fiddly process where much can go wrong. I’m always relieved when it’s over!