Reminder: September's Virtual Tasting is this Thursday from 7-8pm Pacific Time. Read more about it here.
The 2010 Harvest is underway in Washington State. Over the coming weeks, I will provide regular updates on what is picked, where, and when.
One of this week’s updates comes from Jonathan Sauer at Red Willow and Les Vignes de Marcoux vineyards in the Yakima Valley. Red Willow, one of the state’s finest vineyards, is the furthest western vineyard within the Yakima Valley. Sauer says that while the vineyard is not a particularly warm site, it is typically an early vineyard.
Sauer is just beginning harvest this Thursday, starting with Gewurztraminer. Of the 2010 vintage, Sauer says, “The early season varietals look phenomenal this year. Typically we would pick the fruit much riper than this, however this year it seems that the flavor development is ahead of Brix which is a complete contrast to last season.” Red Mountain vineyard manager Ryan Johnson agrees saying there are, “amazing flavors at low Brix across the board.”
Sauer says that some grapes at Red Willow are behind, saying, “Many of our Cab and Sangio blocks are around 20.5 Brix right now and will use as much season as the year will give us.”
Winemaker James Mantone of Syncline Wine Cellars says that the winery has not yet begun harvesting grapes. Mantone, however, is not concerned. He says this "may be the best Syrah harvest I've seen in my eleven years in Washington."
Many growers have likened the 2010 vintage to 1999. Sauer, who has been collecting data from a weather station near Red Willow since 1998 says that 1999 was the coolest year followed by 2010, which is about 50 units warmer. In comparing 2010 with 1999 Johnson says, “Wineries that enjoy the results from 1999 should not be afraid to trust their palates.”
The picture at the top shows Pinot Noir grapes at Evergreen Vineyard, courtesy of Kyra Wines. Grower Mike Wade of Fielding Hills sent along pictures from his Riverbend Vineyard in the Wahluke Slope. The first picture shows seeds from Merlot grapes, one manner of assessing ripeness. Another picture shows juice from Riverbend grapes along with technical information.
The information in the table below is aggregated from personal correspondence with growers and winemakers, as well as information posted on Twitter and Facebook. If you wish to send data for your grapes or vineyards (or correct any of the information below), please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a comment below, or leave a comment on the WWR Facebook page.
|Desert Wind||Gewurztraminer||Estate||9/18|| |
|CAVU||Sauvignon Blanc||Lonesome Spring||9/21|| |
|Hard Row to Hoe||Sauvignon Blanc||Lonesome Spring||9/22|| |
|--NA--||Gewurztraminer||Red Willow||9/23||First grapes to be harvested|
|--NA--||Merlot||Red Willow||9/24||Currently 24 Brix|
|--NA--||Syrah||Red Willow||TBD||Mid to late next week|
|--NA--||Cabernet||Red Willow||TBD||20.5 Brix|
|L’Ecole No. 41||Sauvignon Blanc||Klipsun||9/21|| |
|Cadence||Merlot||Cara Mia||9/21|| |
|--NA--||Merlot||Ciel du Cheval||9/22||Beginning to pick. 24.0 Brix to 25.0 Brix|
|CZ Cellars||Merlot||Shaw||9/25|| |
Walla Walla Valley
|Woodward Canyon||Sauvignon Blanc Dolcetto Chardonnay||Estate Estate Estate||9/15 9/20 9/21||Hoping to pick Merlot later this week|
|Three Rivers||Merlot||Seven Hills||9/21|| |
|L’Ecole No. 41||Merlot||Seven Hills||9/21|| |
|Reininger||Merlot||Seven Hills||9/21|| |
|Gramercy||Syrah||SJR||9/21||¼ picked. Tempranillo close. Les Collines Syrah close.|
|Amavi Cellars||Merlot||Seven Hills||9/22|| |
|L’Ecole No. 41||Merlot||Stone Tree||9/21|| |
|Fielding Hills||Merlot Cabernet Syrah Cabernet Franc||Riverbend Riverbend Riverbend Riverbend||TBD TBD TBD TBD||23.3 Brix 9/20 22.2 Brix 9/20 19.6 Brix 9/20 19.4 Brix 9/20 Estimate will start picking Merlot next week|
|Pacific Rim||Riesling||Wallula||TBD||Between 15-22 Brix|
|Pacific Rim||Gewurztraminer||Wallula||TBD||21 Brix|
|Ch Ste. Michelle||Sauvignon Blanc||Upland||9/22|| |
|Hard Row to Hoe||Riesling Cabernet Franc||Estate Estate||TBD||15.2 Brix 16.3 Brix|