LA PLUS CA CHANGE/ GOES TO SHOW YOU NEVER CAN TELL
MARCH 2, 2018
Even without climate change, farming is a crapshoot. Eventually something goes awry: a frost right after bloom, a tractor axle gives out, ground squirrels girdle vine roots, virulent microbes, wildfire… Locusts! Zombies!
Still, somehow, every year, grapes get picked, tanks fill up, fermentations proceed, wines get bottled, all on a pretty reliable schedule. Every year is different, and every year one must tell, and re-tell one’s story. And every year the story must somehow differentiate itself from the story told the year before, and from the year before that. So much to remember, so much to forget!
2017 was the first vintage in quite a few that didn’t feature an exceedingly early start to the growing season, thanks to a really substantial Winter, (which included historically high levels of precipitation, and some extended periods of chilly weather). With their feet nicely moistened, the vines withstood several prolonged heat spikes fairly comfortably, and ripened their crops in pretty orderly fashion, providing us with grapes that, once again, featured nice ripeness with healthy levels of acidity and tannins, at modest sugar levels.
We’ve just bottled the first wines of our 2017 vintage, and are just now releasing two of them: the 2017 Heart Of Gold, and the 2017 Bone-Jolly Gamay Rosé. These two wines happen to be the ones I most frequently find in my glass, because they’re always light and refreshing, and, well…, delicious!
The Heart Of Gold from 2017 may be the best one yet; it seems to have all the brightness, and structure that I’ve come to expect from this blend (this one is 56% Vermentino, and the rest Grenache Blanc), with just a bit more of the rondeur provided by the Grenache Blanc, a touch more spice. And the primary lees aging was a bit longer than usual, so there’s just that much more texture and depth, and focus.
Just under 300 cases produced. $22.00 per bottle
Our rosé has had such a breath-taking run of so many vintages in which each edition has seemed to dazzle, just a bit more than the one which preceded it, that I’ve occasionally worried that a vintage might come along that wouldn’t delight me quite as much. (And, as the fellow in “Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms once asked: “ain’t that a foolish idea?”)
The 2017 Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rosé is just another in the string of these snazzy pink pearls; it’s got all the nerve, and freshness for which one’s jolly bones might jones!
Right around 800 cases produced. $22.00 per bottle
And, in case anyone may have forgotten the long history of Edmunds St John and Syrah, we have just released our 2014 Barsotti Ranch Syrah. Barsotti is the same property on which our red version of Gamay is grown.
Both Gamay and Syrah have a strong affinity for granite soils, and in 2014, the second year in which Barsotti produced some Syrah grapes, the taste of the fruit was so singular and compelling that I chose to produce a single-vineyard bottling from these grapes, just to get a more precise feel for what the vineyard might be capable of producing. I was particularly drawn to the firm structure, yet I’m also quite beguiled by the charm of the aromatics, and the texture. (It’s a sneaky kind of wine; maybe it’s that old story of the iron fist in the velvet glove) One for the long haul.
Just under 200 cases produced. $35.00 per bottle.
2016 Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir $22.00 per bottle
2016 El Jaléo (Shake Ridge Ranch) 29.00 per bottle
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