This coming weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the year! Why? Because it’s Fall Release Weekend, which means, among other things, the arrival of the new Monte Bello! And this year we’ve got a double dose of Monte Bello, because we’re releasing a Monte Bello Chardonnay as well!
We’re also releasing the new 2007 Lytton Springs, Pagani Ranch, and York Creek Zinfandels, and we’ll be pouring all five of these wines this weekend! If you’re going to be anywhere near either our Monte Bello or Lytton Springs tasting rooms this weekend, this is a flight you don’t want to miss! For full details, please click here for Monte Bello, and here for Lytton Springs.
And here’s a quick tip, be on the lookout for news about The Last Chance Chalkboard! It’ll be the straight dope, the inside scoop, the 411, the buzz, the skinny, the story morning glory …
In the meantime, here are some quick winemaker notes on the new releases:
2006 Chardonnay Monte Bello
Grapes were whole-cluster pressed, and the juice racked to barrel. Natural primary lasted four months; natural secondary took only three. In August 2007, we chose four exceptional parcels, which were racked, assembled, and returned to barrel. At eighteen months the wine cleared, and was bottled without filtration. This fine chardonnay will benefit from a year or two in bottle, and develop fully over another six or seven. EB (2/08)
2007 Lytton Springs
After a dry winter and spring, budbreak came early. Despite the lack of spring rain, temperate summer weather mitigated vine stress and created ideal ripening conditions. A warm August ripened the fruit earlier than expected, and we harvested the thirty-four parcels as flavors developed fully, fermenting each separately on its natural yeasts. We chose twenty-one lots for this year’s wine. Aged for fifteen months in air-dried american oak, this classic Lytton Springs is remarkable for its richness, balance, and elegant texture. It will soften and gain complexity over the next ten years. JO (11/08)
2007 Pagani Ranch
Fully-crushed fruit fermented on its natural yeasts in eight small, open-top tanks. As juice circulated through the skins, rich color and firm tannin extracted quickly. We pressed early, on day five, avoiding an excessively tannic structure. When uninoculated malolactic fermentation finished in late November, the lots were combined and racked to air-dried american oak barrels. This opulent Pagani exemplifies the complexity that can be drawn from old field-blend vines. Enjoyable now, it will develop fully over the next ten years. EB (1/09)
2007 York Creek
For the 2nd year in a row, the vines produced a full crop, which slowed ripening, and pushed harvest into October. We fermented each of the seven parcels separately, on their natural yeasts. Re-tasting after assemblage, we decided to include a significant amount of petite sirah for greater complexity and firmer structure. The wine was then racked to american oak barrels for twelve months of aging. This York Creek, though rich and structured, is one of the most supple and elegant wines we have made from the vineyard. Enjoyable now, it will continue to develop over the next six to eight years. JO (8/08)
2006 Monte Bello
Winter was wet and cold through April, but May’s warm weather let the vines set a full crop. Summer was unusually warm; picking began on September 18, ahead of schedule. Though a cool October slowed ripening, all parcels were harvested within five weeks, and natural yeasts started the primary within three days. Uninoculated secondary began in tank; eighty percent of the thirty-six lots were racked to barrel for completion. Thirteen were selected for the first assemblage in late January. Additions of petit verdot and cabernet franc contributed depth. Balanced and elegant now, this exceptional vintage has the structure to carry it for twenty-five years or more. EB (3/08)
Categories: Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Events & Photographs, Lytton, Merlot, Monte Bello, Petit Verdot, Tasting Flights, Tasting Notes, Tasting Rooms, Varietals & Blends, Zinfandel