This afternoon, for the first time in what seems like weeks (wait a minute…it has been weeks) the clouds have parted and the sun is out in full force. Four days of nice weather are predicted. The colors in the trees and fields are gorgeous. The sky has a lighter shade of blue than when we last saw it. Where did fall go?
For the past 10 days we have been dilligently harvesting between rainstorms and walking through countless rows tasting berries looking for those elusive flavors that we love so much in Oregon Pinot Noirs. For a while there we didn’t know if we were sad or actually suffering from S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder) The harvest had a strange feeling to it, slow, lacking energy, gloomy. But then I remembered something…no, it wasn’t the sign at the local pharmacy advertising antidepressants at 2 for the price of 1! It was this: It isn’t about the rain, nor is it about the sunshine. It is about the flavors! And the flavors are coming on strong!
Surprisingly, we still have more than 40% of our harvest to go. I have decided to let most of the older vines’ fruit sit through the rains in hopes that they would develop better flavors. And you know what? They did!
Throughout 15 days of heavy rain, light rain, sideways rain and as Forrest Gump once said “big old fat rain” our Pinot Noir has actually progressed. We have moved away from herbal aromas and flavors, through the green banana stage and even through the simple red candy character of just barely ripe fruit to a very nice level of physiological ripeness where the berries have good acids and mouthwatering flavors of cherry and strawberry and cassis and even some red plum. Now is the time to pick! We have four days of nice dry weather ahead and we are attacking with gusto!
Armed with bellies full of warm food and enough caffeine in our veins to kill a herd of small oxen, we are off to finish this harvest in a strong way! Wish us luck.