Viticultural nirvana has arrived. What does a perfect harvest look like? It looks like every ounce of what is headed our way.
There was no winter damage. There was no surprise spring frost. There has been almost record low rainfall the past couple of months and not much in sight. Record high temps are leading us to really ripe fruit early in the season with plenty of time ahead to get even more out of those hanging vines. 2013 was a high yield year and this one looks to surpass it. Hot ‘n Heavy ought to be this year’s motto.
Phenolics (smells and tastes) will be ripe Because of our hot summer, unripe notes along with pyrazines will likely be cooked out of existence before picking time.
Mildew has been practically a non-issue due to the complete lack of moisture we’ve seen recently.
Skins have thickened in this record-breakingly hot year, so we will see bigger color and bigger tannins. A bigger skin to juice ratio in the must will give us more of those great, ripe phenolics. We will have to be wary of sunburned grapes which will lead to quick oxidation and poor ageing of wines, not to mention poor color and weird tastes.
One of the downsides of hot weather is that acids can get cooked out of these grapes if we aren’t careful which could negatively affect aging. But most highly rated vintages emerge from growing seasons that are hot like this one. More likely than not the acid impact would be mitigated by great tannin structure along with a lot of great phenolic structure to work with so these vines will age beautifully
Doubtlesss, some bout of plague or 20 day early frost will hit, frogs will rain or just as awful, rain will rain- but until that moment, I’m going to look at graphs and charts and eat ice cream. It’s that kind of vintage.
Have a great weekend, Ashley
Addendum- since the initial drafting of this post this morning and the current publishing of it, we’ve had an absolute onslaught of rainfall…