Every industry has an event that brings together the best of the best: think Academy Awards, the Grammys, Golden Globes, the Presidential race (wait, scratch that last one!). The wine industry is no different: our Academy Awards are called the Wine Spectator New York Wine Experience.
With thousands of wineries worldwide to choose from, Wine Spectator picks only their top 250 producers and gives them the honor of being a Critic’s Choice award winner. The event is attended by participants from around the world with the highlight being Thursday and Friday evenings where all of the attendees are able to taste the wines from these top producers and meet the owners and winemakers. It is a spectacular event and a huge honor to be selected to participate.
No award event is complete without a ceremony. It just so happens that in the wine industry our “ceremonies” tend to be tastings, which are way more fun than acceptance speeches! Imagine 250 of the world’s top wineries pouring their best wines for thousands of fans. That is The Wine Spectator Critic’s Choice Experience! That was our week last week and we rocked it!
Kevin and Garrett poured tastings of the highly rated Adobe Road 2009 Cabernet Franc. With Times Square as a backdrop, the wines took center stage and our Cab Franc was a shining star with winery colleagues, critics, and fans alike.
2016 has treated us winemakers and growers well. Really, there has mostly been good news to report with regards to growing conditions through the vintage in California. We had some rainfall during last year’s wet season, then the vines woke up a bit early and produced evenly ripened fruit into October. Not much mold, mildew, or other maladies to report with this year’s harvest and we are all rejoicing in Petaluma, Sonoma, and Napa for a beautiful year!
"Botrytis is a type of rot that is very special and particular in the world of fine winemaking."
But now I am hoping for rot." Yeah, I said it! I’m hoping my remaining grapes on the vine develop devastating, grey, fuzzy rot before I pick them. But wait, before you write me off as one of those “crazy alternative winemakers” let me explain. I only have one small lot of grapes left on the vine: Semillon in Knights Valley, Sonoma County. And we’re not making regular wine from these grapes. We’re making late harvest dessert goodness, and the kind of rot I’m hoping for is not your garden-variety fuzz.
Botrytis is a type of rot that is very special and particular in the world of fine winemaking. When the right grapes have been left on the vine to gain additional sugar and flavor; when the moisture and humidity conditions are perfect; when all the stars align and growing, weather, and winemaking conditions are perfect, that’s when “normal” rot turns into “noble” rot. Botrytis takes hold of grape clusters and sucks the water out of them, concentrating the sugar and flavor that remain. This concentration creates the highly flavored juice that we use to create classic dessert wines (think Sauternes in France). The most recent rains here in Sonoma County are helping make the conditions for perfect Botrytis rot on our dessert Semillion!
I am anxiously awaiting our last pick of grapes, and hoping for fuzz!
On Monday 9–6 at 6:15 AM Adobe Road officially started Crush 2016! The Famighetti Viognier was harvested and gently pressed in the cool of the morning on a pleasantly warm early fall day. Sound ideal? Well, that's growing season 2016!
Earlier in the season, light rains brought some temporary relief to California's drought struggle. Favorable weather conditions through bloom facilitated typical fruit set, and the moderately warm summer evenly ripened Adobe Road grapes. What's left is to wait patiently for the rest of our vineyards to gain the nuance of perfect ripeness before harvesting.
In the barn:
Famighetti Viognier, Dry Creek
Sangiacomo Carneros Chardonnay, Sonoma
Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir
Famighetti Zinfandel, Dry Creek
Green Valley Pinot Noir, Russian River, Sonoma
See you soon in wine country! Cheers!