Wine Tasting

(Photo - Elle Hughes on Unsplash)

Compared to last year, the 2021 vintage has been a blessing for most winemakers — no fires, no smoke and no merciless heat waves.

While some varieties came up short this season, (Ghielmetti sauvignon blanc among them), and harvest stretched out due to the largely cooler weather, the long, slow- ripening conditions have proven fruitful.

Most winemakers, including Mark Clarin at McGrail, who brought in about 155 tons, are declaring it a great vintage. Wood Family brought in about 115 tons and Las Positas about 82 tons, all before the recent rains arrived. Darin Winton of Cellar 11 is happy to have all his fruit picked, including everything for Cuda Ridge. He’s especially excited for the albarino he got for the first time, describing it as having very crisp stone fruits, pineapple and mango with driving acid.

Dave Hendrickson of Occasio said harvest is a wrap for them.

“It feels great being done so early,” he said. “We brought in just under 20 tons, two of which were cabernet franc from Ghielmetti Vineyard.”

Not everyone got all their grapes in before the bomb cyclone storm though. At Rodrigue Molyneaux, winemaker Meredith Sarboraria said that half of their estate fruit was supposed to be picked on Friday, Oct. 22.

“At the last minute, the pickers decided they didn't want to work in the rain, so they took off and never showed,” said Sarboraria.

While she would have preferred two picks because of the constraints of their very small crush pad and cellar setup, they were planning to bring in all the estate fruit this week, which includes cabernet sauvignon, barbera and petit verdot.

“So far, the fruit has been good at least, and I'm excited for my first rosé since Crooked Vine,” Sarboraria added.

She and winery owners Garry Rodrigue and Nancy Molyneaux decided to make a rosé of estate cabernet sauvignon, which she said is Provence-style. They are on track to bring in about 19 tons of grapes this year.

Dane Stark from Page Mill isn’t quite done, either.

“We are still picking,” said Stark. “Out of 100, there are 12 tons to go, so very close. The quality seems exceptional this year. I've never seen acid/pH numbers as solid as this year. And the harvest was not super-hot ... should be a great vintage.”