First of all I must apologize for not getting this post up last week but as you can imagine the first week of grapes is always crazy. We received Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc from California’s Central Valley as well as some Alexander Valley Gewurztraminer. This week we’ll be seeing our first Chardonnay as well. Everyone (including me) has been extremely concerned with how the weather was affecting the crops this year. So far it seems to be an ideal year for grapes. The acids have been near perfect and the flavors have been very nice even in some marginal growing areas however the crops have been smaller than average. Nearly every variety has picked light so far.
The two days of extreme heat were killer for the North coast. I’ve heard reports ranging from 15-50% loss of crop due to sunburn. The earlier ripening varieties such as Pinot Noir seem to be the worst hit because they were so close to harvest time already when the heat spike occurred. It seems that growers who were not pulling extra leaves to gain sun exposure were spared more than those who had tried to counteract the cooler season. All is not lost however. The Napa Chardonnay for Beringer I tasted yesterday seems to be developing flavor at a lower brix than in the past and all varieties are retaining lovely crisp acid due to very cool nights. If the current trend continues, the Beringer PR Chardonnay for 2010 will be fantastic!
It seems that this harvest may be truly exceptional for some vineyards as long as the rain holds off. I’ve seen signs of fall everywhere from the geese flocking over head in Napa valley to the foliage turning yellow and red on my drive on 128 over the mountains. While I usually love these early signs of the changing seasons it worries me this year due to the number of grapes still on the vine compared to other years. We can only wait and see how the harvest plays out. I’ll keep you updated!