My initial concern had been for cabernet sauvignon, which is a late ripener and has been known to freeze out. But even little Mr. Cab has figured it out: It’s go time.
The sugars are rising, the acids are dropping and we are going to be picking cabernet before we even know it.
Now for the bad news- which may go away in three days if Mother Nature keeps up her game of “who’s who.”
Malbec knows that it doesn’t have to catch up. It usually ripens around here the first two weeks of October and we usually freeze out the first week of November. So in one sense, it is correct. But due to the lack of heat, malbec has had no reason to sweat out its acid. We are seeing malbec that has the right sugar (24-26 Brix) and the wrong pH (2.8-3.0) and the wrong titratable acidity (.9-1.0) This translates to battery acid.
So the choices are pick now and have a wine that has 13.5% alcohol and the kinds of acid that would clean a penny, or wait and see what M. Nature decides to throw our way.
Tero Estates is harvesting our merlot (stunning and possibly legendary this year) today- our first pick of the season- and I fully plan to wiggle those merlot clusters in front of the malbec in the hopes that a good role model is all that it needs.