Posted by Adam Lee
As I have mentioned is some of my earlier blogs, I believe 2008 will be a vintage where blending will play a major part in determining the overall quality of the wines. Dianna and I briefly tasted through a selection of our 2008 California Pinots at the end of this past week, and I am convinced, now more than ever, that blending decisions will be paramount. We have some truly superb lots of 2008 California Pinot Noir in the cellar and … well … we’ve got some other lots.
Now before you go off and say that “Adam Lee says 2008 is a bad vintage,” let me get the proper caveats out of the way. All of the 2008 wines that we tasted were Pinots from California. The Oregon Pinot arrived so late that tasting it and the Syrah at this point would have been somewhat pointless. Second, the Pinots we tasted were just babies, with only two weeks to six weeks in barrel. And none of the Pinots we tasted have even started to go through malolactic fermentation—a process that can sometimes change the character and quality of the wines dramatically.
That’s it for caveats. I don’t think that there is any denying that the 2008 vintage is, at this early stage, more variable for California Pinot Noir than 2007 was at the same point in time. The 2008 Pinots are uniformly dark, concentrated and full-bodied. The best-tasting lots are already compelling. Other lots demonstrate all of these characteristics but are a bit rougher and clunky. I don’t worry too much about these lots either as these are the type of concerns often alleviated by malolactic fermentation. But then there are lots that are big, concentrated, full-bodied, rough, clunky and also possess an earthy, perhaps even stinky, somewhat reduced character. I worry about these lots.
Now, you do have to be careful in judging these too early. Sometimes the combination of new oak and the conclusion of fermentation will lead to this character early in a wine’s life, and then it will grow out of it. But I can’t help but worry that perhaps we missed something on some of these wines. That perhaps the topsy-turvy growing season, the combination of frost and drought, and the long, drawn-out conclusion of harvest led to grapes with some level of nutrient deficiency—and that has led to some of these flavors. I certainly don’t know that for certain, but it’s a good theory right now.
So, how will blending address this problem? What exactly does blending entail at Siduri and Novy? I’ve attached a picture to show how the blending process starts:
|Adam Lee and his team taste their way through every single glass before working on a blend.|
Brian Loring — Lompoc, CA — November 11, 2008 12:21pm ET
R M Kriete — November 11, 2008 1:05pm ET
Andrew J Walter — Sacramento,CA — November 11, 2008 2:44pm ET
Adam Lee — Santa Rosa, CA — November 12, 2008 6:45am ET
Adam Lee — Santa Rosa, CA — November 12, 2008 6:51am ET
Jonathan Berns — St. Louis, Missouri — November 19, 2008 3:33pm ET
Adam Lee — Santa Rosa, CA — November 19, 2008 5:32pm ET
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