People who know me know that winter is my favorite time of year. It’s not just because I love Christmas (which I do); I also love the gray, the cold, and the rain. My wife, Joy, sometimes refers to me as her Eeyore, because like me, he seemed to thrive in what A. A. Milne called his “gloomy place, rather boggy and sad.” There is nothing truly gloomy about me or about Bartholomew Estate in the winter, however. Even the cloudy days are beautiful, and the sunny days between the storms are positively spectacular!
Our winter weather is a real cause for celebration, in any case, as it’s the source of renewal. Without the
rain, nothing would grow, and without cold, the vines wouldn’t go dormant. This is a crucial part of their life cycle, and strangely enough, this winter dormancy is also my favorite part of the wine growing season. The vineyards may not be green, but in my mind’s eye, they’re simply bursting with potential. At this point the upcoming harvest is nothing but potential as well—and therefore potentially perfect.
No challenges have yet arisen: no spring frosts, no summer heat waves, no fall rainstorms, no difficult fermentations. Nothing to get in the way of my perennial quest for winemaking nirvana, the wines that make themselves, and make themselves into something irresistibly delicious. Fortunately, we have the tools and the talent to make the very best of what nature does give us, but a guy can dream, can’t he?
Speaking of the very best, let’s talk about Syrah. While we use most of our estate-grown Syrah as an essential element of our flagship red wine, Press Release, we also bottle a bit on its own for discerning fans. Deeply dark, lush and luscious, this Syrah has the additional distinction of coming from Viviano’s Block, the oldest-known vineyard site in Sonoma County outside of the Mission. It was originally planted in 1832, although the current vines are not that old. If you close your eyes, you can taste the history!