An Update from the Cellar
With harvest now over but with plenty left to do, we caught up with Winemaker, Tim Bell in the cellar. Tim gave us his thoughts on the 2014 harvest. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation.
“Overall, I am very pleased with the quality of 2014 wines so far. The weather cooperated nicely for the most part. Harvest kicked off on August 12, making this one of the earliest starts in quite some time. I would say we are 7-10 days ahead of where we usually are, and reached a steady flow of fruit into the winery much earlier than normal. In fact, we expected to start harvest even earlier, but the fact that ripening in Sauvignon Blanc proceeded more slowly than expected in this early season was a clue that crop size was going to be larger than normal. Pre-harvest expectations had been that the drought might lower yields. We did not see this come true in Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc or the Bordeaux red varieties. Only Zinfandel crop size was lower than normal this year. Two interesting observations I made were that flavors in Sauvignon Blanc seemed to be peaking earlier than normal this year, relative to sugar ripening. The other interesting observation was that Cabernet Sauvignon wines took longer in the fermenters to develop the desired depth of body and color this year. I was concerned early on about the quality of Cab, but it turned out that I just needed to be more patient, and to continue working the cap longer into fermentations this year to achieve good color and structure. Harvest came to a close on October 11. This was 7-8 days earlier than the previous two harvests. It was a fast and furious pace this year, and the crew worked hard to keep up. I’m proud of what we did this year!”