The seemingly basic task of pruning is actually one of the most important – determining the yield, spacing, even the quality of the next vintage. Since November, our crew has been hard at work cutting back last year’s canes.
These are a few shots of our last Cabernet block (Clone 4) to get the shear treatment.
The vines in their dormant stage. Once the leaves fall, pruning can get underway.
We prune in stages, first removing the top half of the canes, which sometimes involves wresting the canes off of the trellis wire.
Brian making the final cut.
We are so proud of our newest vintage of Estate 1856 Wines! Our 2011 Bordeaux Blend and 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon “Barrel Reserve” were both placed in the top 32 wines out of 332 JUST Cabernet containing entries earning GOLD MEDALS! The tasting of these top wines was held at the Old Mint in San Francisco and we enjoyed pouring these wines for enthusiastic wine lovers! This event is coordinated by Affairs of the Vine and sponsored by the Bay Area Wine Society.
- Estate 1856 2011 Barrel Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma County, $42.00
- 55 cases produced
Female: Seductive dark aromas of plum, rhubarb and pepper lead to an intense palate. Sweet, dark fruit with spice in the mouth. The finish has a lovely herbal quality that lingers on the palate with silky tannins. 90
Male: Lovely, classic nose which needs a little coaxing at first but is definitely worth the wait. Very smooth, lovely and balanced in the mouth. Just enough tannin. It’s very harmonious and invites another taste, which is just as wonderful as the previous ones. 91
Estate 1856 2011 Bordeaux Blend
Sonoma County, $38.00
- 105 cases produced
Female: Dark fruit and black tea aromas and flavors capture the senses. Cassis, tobacco spice and a hint of menthol swirl on the palate. Fresh and lively with nice oak integration. 90
Male: Punch of fruit with an herbal left hook. Black cherry, cola, olive, and iodine aromatics with a slight smoky undertone. Big tannins and deep fruit intensity on the palate. Black plum and bitter chocolate flavors with an intense but well balanced blend of tannin and acidity. Lingering cola, coffee and toffee on the nice long finish. 93
I am thrilled to share that our 2010 Bordeaux Blend won a DOUBLE GOLD medal, BEST OF CLASS and the RED WINE SWEEPSTAKES at the 2013 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. The award ceremony was this evening and we were so humbled to receive this industry recognition and honor. Our 2011 Bordeaux Blend also received a DOUBLE GOLD in the same category. I’m looking forward to pouring our wine during the Harvest Fair Gala next Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
September 9th – red grape sugar sampling results:
Merlot – 25.0 B – brown shoots & seeds, nice juice fruitiness, will be harvesting this week!
Zinfandel – 23.5 B – classic large berried bunches still need a bit of time for that classic Zin character development.
Finished all of our white grapes last week and we are looking forward to beginning our mid-season red varieties Merlot & Zinfandel. The Merlot was winery tested at 24.2 yesterday…so our testing results from tomorrow’s testing should let us know how the warm weather this weekend has affected sugar accumulation!
On Saturday we finished our Viognier harvest with fruit harvested for Bill Arbios and his Praxis Cellars label. We were so happy to hear from him that the 2012 Viognier (50% of our fruit) won a “Gold Medal” and “Best of Class” at the 2013 Indy International Wine Competition.
We poured our Estate 1856 wines at the Family Winemakers Tasting in San Francisco in August and he shared a taste with me from a bottle that he was there to show to the trade and consumers. Strikingly varietal, with tropical fruit notes and a long flavorful finish. Highly recommended!
Our 2.2 acre Viognier block is planted to two clones: clone 1 and clone 642. It is trained on a spur pruned cordon trellis with an extension arm on the afternoon side to prevent sunburn. We do remove leaves on the morning side for sun exposure as this variety responds with great flavor intensity when kissed by a bit of sunlight. Viognier is a very flavorful and complex varietal…with hints of tropical fruit, peaches, apricots blended into an intensely perfumed wine that has great depth and lingering mouthfeel!
This week we dove into our Chardonnay…harvesting it for Kendall Jackson. I really love the modifications that we made to our VSP trellis system…we added a high 24″ crossarm to create a “V” effect in the upper canopy…allowing the shoots to slightly spread out close to the cordon next to their spur position…and really spread out at the top! With our row orientation…SW by NE…it provides nice morning sun exposure while providing afternoon shade.