Yep it’s Autumn, which means hot in Southern California. It hit 115 degrees today in Santa Ynez, making me worry about our little crop of Roussanne out in Happy Canyon. Fortunately the clusters are well shaded and we can give them a little drink of water when the temperatures are extreme. The Roussanne is only about 18-19 brix, it is always one of the last varieties to ripen, so it should actually enjoy some heat (though this is a bit much).
We picked our Pinot Noir from Carneros on Friday of last week before it really warmed up. Amy and I processed the grapes and got them nice and cold (dry ice) and into the stainless steel fermentors. The numbers look good (as much as numbers can tell you), 23 brix (estimated alcohol 13.8%) and pH of 3.50. The Pinot will cold soak now until it starts fermenting on its own (what the natural wine movement calls a natural fermentation.
Still a few weeks away on the Syrah vineyards, but this heat definitely kick-starts things!
About 3 years ago the LA Times tasting panel reviewed a number of wines from California. Our 2005 Hocus Pocus Syrah was one of them. They did not like the wine and it was “not recommended.” Well, how tastes and times have changed. Earlier this month writer Patrick Comiskey wrote a piece about “artisanal affordable” wines being produced in California and we are proud to mentioned.
It mentions us and some other fine California producers. Read the article here: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-everyday-artisans-20100909,0,3319442.story
It’s true, harvest will start for Black Sheep Finds at the end of this week or sometime next week. Our Pinot Noir from Thomson Vineyard in Carneros, nearby Napa is just about ready to be picked, hurrah! I’m headed up there on Thursday to meet with Jennifer “the Farmer’s daughter” Thomson. Deciding when to pick is one of the most difficult decisions, especially when faced with a weather forecast predicting 90 degree temperatures starting on Friday.
Last year we picked on September 22, right around 23 brix. We’ll just have to see how things look on Thursday and whether or not to leave out there over the weekend.