Harvest Begins On The Mountain!

It’s been one heck of a growing season. T’aint no doubt about it.

But I am happy to report that Monte Bello, the mountain itself, has officially joined the harvest season; in comes Chardonnay!

Viticulturist Kyle Theriot, mannin' the buckles ...

Jimsomare!

 We brought in one run of chardonnay before the rains came, and while the jury remains out as to its final quality, the fruit that came in on Saturday showed fantastic flavors, and after analysis, the brix levels are spot on. I tasted grapes as they came in on Saturday, and then tasted a pair of press fractions on Sunday, and it’s fine juice all the way around; needless to say, all are relieved!

Chard in the gondola ...

 There is something somewhat strange about seeing the grapes in gondola; they seem somewhat temporarily humbled. In the wild, on the vine, they were exactly that; wild. And soon, they’ll be wine; all the wilder still. But for this brief moment, the are cowed, contained, contrite, as if temporarily scolded for their wild ways. Soon, so soon, they’ll be launched into the wildness of their new lives, but for just this one moment, we, in the role of exhausted parents, get to enjoy them in their ever so temporarily suspended grace, on the cusp between their wild, unformed youths, and their eventual destinies.

Inch by inch, row by row -or- Block by block, brix by brix ...

Takin' notes; the official record ...

Cluster ...

 Such a simple gesture, to hold up a cluster of grapes, but in the hands of a winemaker, there is something both paternalistic and feral about it; something both exasperatedly punitive, and lovingly fatigued. Here, in winemaker Eric Baugher’s juice-stained hands, this living cluster could be a child by the arm, a cat by the tail, a poem by the high inverted volta …

Never forget though, it’s a working person’s game, and a hard-working person at that. It’s technology …

Machinery …

Sweat and blisters …

And a whole lot of hearts growing three more sizes every day …

I had the great pleasure of following the chardonnay as it arrived, and was subsequently delivered. And to borrow a quote from the video that follows, “we had somethin’ special” …



Categories: Chardonnay, Events & Photographs, Monte Bello, RIDGE Staff, Varietals & Blends, Video, Vineyards and Oenology, Winemaking

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