Move over bottling.. that was so last week! Cairdean Vineyards kicked off harvest this year (just yesterday September the 3rd) with a pre-dawn pick of Riesling grapes from the Suisun Valley for our sweetheart of a wine Leannan. Leannan is Gaelic for sweetheart and is an apt name for this wine as it is fermented to only 8% alcohol leaving enough natural grape sugars on the wine to balance it and make it perfectly fruity and light and deliciously refreshing.
We quickly followed-up our Riesling harvest by bringing in Sauvignon Blanc grapes from Rutherford earlier today. You may think that we brought them in simply to keep our winemaking team from boredom at the winery, but really these grapes were also ready to come in, I promise you! These particular Sauvignon Blanc grapes are slated for our Fumé Blanc program so we even let them hang around about a week later than we would have if they were going to be fermented in a stainless steel tank. We use the name Fumé Blanc for our Sauvignon Blanc that ferments in oak barrels with a significant portion of that oak being new.
Next up on the sorting table is more Sauvignon Blanc from further up valley in Calistoga this Friday and then the very next day we will have the first harvest of the season from our Russian River Valley Estate Vineyard (Confidant) as clone 5 of our Pinot Noir is also ready and waiting patiently on the vine for our winemaking team. Now would be the time to ask when we plan on resting? Not until after Thanksgiving I’m afraid. Usually we bring our last fruit in either the day before Halloween or on Halloween itself. This year we are hoping that we may actually be able to participate in the spooky holiday since the fruit seems to be coming in a couple of weeks ahead of previous years. That all depends on the weather of course, so please hope for only warm and sunny days ahead and we may get our wish!
Currently the weather forecast continues for the foreseeable future with sunny days (yay!) where temperatures hover in the 80’s and 90’s and we are witnessing sugars and pH’s rise and acids drop rapidly as the fruit ripens in this optimum temperature range. There had been rumblings of potential rain coming only just a day or so ago, but all signs are pointing to clear skies now, thankfully. I want to thank all the rain dancers for their strike this harvest…
We are closely watching all our fruit these days but more so than other fruit we watch all our Pinot Noir almost to the point of obsession. Pinot Noir is not like other grapes, for example it is not much like Cabernet Sauvignon which can seem to just chill out and wait on the vine until you are ready to pick it (most years anyway). Pinot Noir can go from ready and ripe to overripe and raisined seemingly at the drop of a hat. So yes, we are thankful that today the Pinot Noir being harvested on Saturday is still holding up in this heat. We will be visiting it again tomorrow of course (see obsession is not too far off)!