Today is September 5, 2015 and we have officially launched into the Pinot Noir harvest, scheduling 15-20 ton picks for the next several days.
The weather has turned from hot and dry to cool, cloudy and occasionally showery with sun breaks rather than the endless sunburst we have seen since May. As an Oregonian sun worshipper I can’t believe that I am actually saying that it really feels good to see the Fall season set in. We were picking fruit at 6:15AM on August 22nd and we picked fruit today at 6:45AM. The sun is heading south for the winter.
Our early picks of Pinot Noir, which came from Bergstrom Vineyard blocks 1 and 2 and Silice block 4, are beginning to finish their fermentations and are deeply colored and very fruit driven with lovely acidity and a wonderful fruit forward bouquet. These were 100% whole cluster fermentations with a short carbonic maceration of 4-5 days and I really love them. We are doing more and more whole cluster fermentations at Bergstrom Wines because I love the dimension that stems give to red wine. Stem inclusion and carbonic macerations can turn a 1+1=2 into a 1+1=3 type of a wine. Wine does not have to just be sweet and fruity, it can be savory too and stems add that element.
Now we are getting down to the heart of the matter and beginning the big picks of Pinot Noir. We have picked some of Le pre du Col from blocks 2,4,6 and 7 as well as traded some fruit from Le Pre du Col with our friends at Gramercy Cellars for some of their Syrah from the Les Collines Vineyard in Washington. Expect to see their Syrah in our Gargantua program this next year!
We have also picked Silice blocks 3,4 and 5 as well as getting into block 2. The fruit looks great despite the damaging hail that ravaged the canopy and the pre-bloom clusters earlier in the year. Yields are down for sure but the slow ripening we anticipated due to the hail damage did not occur and fruit is ripening at a normal rate. We did however drop the most damaged clusters that were not changing color and then we had two episodes of sunburn and those clusters had to be dropped as well, so yields are far lower than previous years but we were able to fine tune the crop to only harvest the best from what the vineyard had left this year….which of course in a year like this means early.
We have also received the Bien Nacido Vineyard Syrah from Santa Maria AVA in California and the yields down there were drastically small as well. One tone to the acre will provide us with a smaller than normal Gargantua bottling from California this year but I believe that the quality is quite high.
In the coming days we will go back to Le Pre du Col, Silice, pick the Winery Block, the beginning of the Shea Vineyard and get back into the Bergstrom Vineyard. Big picks ahead so stay tuned for more updates.