Frank Ostini and Gray Hartley, the winemakers/proprietors of Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post (H.O.), have decided that tomorrow, Tuesday Sept. 29, is the day to harvest their Sta. Rita Hills, Cargasacchi Pinot Noir.
It's been foggy and cool at night in Santa Barbara County, and I've been busy chasing wild boar from the vineyards so they don't eat the still-maturing grapes. Meanwhile I also pressed some Pinot Grigio, using a method more common to northern Italy and Alsace.
The 2009 vintage in Napa Valley is shaping up with some promise. It's also presenting challenges for grapegrowers and winemakers, as we have had unusual patterns of ripening. Some grapes in certain areas are maturing very quickly, while another variety growing right alongside might flatten out on its maturing curve. So this year, making excellent wine will depend on making good picking decisions. Here's what's going on with the vineyards and wines I deal with.
Picking of the young Merlot has just started at Château Giscours and Haut-Bailly, and the maturity of the grapes looks promising, both by the numbers and by taste. The weather is expected to be great through the end of the month, allowing us to move on to the older Merlot and hopefully start Cabernet in early October.
Peter Cargasacchi checks his bird nets to ensure his grapes are safe from voracious European starlings.
Kicking off her harvest blog from Piedmont and Tuscany, Gaia Gaja reports on the 2009 growing season to date at her family’s three properties—Gaja Winery in Barbaresco, Ca’ Marcanda in Bolgheri and Pieve Santa Restituta in Montalcino—and the start of the white-wine crush.
Peter Cargasacchi describes the 2009 vintage for his Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir Vineyards as harvest approaches.
Alexander Van Beek of châteaus Giscours and du Tertre and Véronique Sanders of Château Haut-Bailly will be reporting from Bordeaux on the harvest, which is just about to get under way at their estates. In the meantime, they sum up how the growing season has proceeded so far.
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