January and February begin our final stretch of tasting and decision making for our wines for the spring bottling. Wines go through a natural aging process from fermentation (primary and secondary) to aging in different oak and or steel barrels. We taste the wine along the way and make decisions on how much new oak versus neutral oak is needed to get our desired output. The January tasting is most exciting and gives the wine maker a very good insight if we hit it right! We taste wines 100% varietal and then if needed add a small amount of another varietal to give it the desired color, more fruit or more balanced finish. To make a great wine is definitely a blend of science and art! We develop our wines that are ready to drink after 18 months of aging but also create wine that has the complexity to age very well.
Answering questions such as did our medium toast new French Oak barrels impart the flavors we desired for our red pinot noir? Did our neutral American Oak barrels mature our Zinfandel fruitiness as wished, and how about the Sangiovese from Vine Hill?
This year was particularly interesting since we are bottling our first Sangiovese from Vine Hill Vineyard. The 2017 vintage is showing off well. Great color and fruit is coming along nicely.