Like snowflakes, yearly vintages are all unique, no two being exactly the same, containing both ideal and imperfect elements. The one factor that will influence the quality of the vintage from year to year the most is the weather- the more ideal the weather, the better the grapes- the better the grapes, the greater chance the wine you make with them will be a superior vintage. So, with our harvest halfway done, I asked winemaker-hubby Derek, to give his “forecast” for the 2013 vintage. However, when you are married to a winemaker, you learn that there is not a “simple” answer to this question-reasons must be given to support this prognostication. So, I give you a synopsis of the growing season and harvest that has led to his prediction.
First off, due to the early and constant heat, this has been an unusually early harvest- we are half-way done at a time that harvest is usually just getting started. This actually took us by surprise, in fact, we started harvesting before our interns from Italy, who I introduced last week, even arrived. However, the weather we have been having has more than made up for the inconvenience of the early harvest. Due to the warm, steady weather pattern, the grapes have been coming in at constant, steady rate- not too much too quick, but also not a lot of down time. Normally, we receive the fruit in spurts- a large load of a couple of varietals, wait 8-10 days then another couple of varietals, wait, and so on. According to Derek, from what he has seen so far from the varietals picked- Viognier, Petite Sirah, Roussane, Grenache, and a couple of others, the quality has been “spectacular”. The fruit has been growing and ripening in way that promotes high quality fruit- small berries, loose clusters, and really well-balanced vines. Unfortunately, the down-side is that this has also meant less than expected fruit, but, we’ll look on the bright side and recognize that it will help make 2013 a stellar vintage.
So Derek’s forecast is calling for 99.9% chance of supreme quality followed by a high probability of excellent vintage, leading to mass, happy consumption.