2017 Riesling Harvest
WE ARE RELEASING THIS WEEK!!!
I am sure you have probably already seen the news on social media, but we are really excited to get 2017 Riesling in the market! The time between bottling and release is a weird in between when you want to share the fruits of your labor, but you want to make sure the wine is ready.
How do we know the wine is ready? - someone might ask
Well, this is something we are still figuring out as we learn more and more about the wine from Redwing Vineyard. Last year, we released very shortly after bottling, without knowing the full potential of the wine. We learned the longer we held onto the wine in bottle, the more it opened up and expressed the true varietal characteristics of Riesling. We have been tasting the 2017 Riesling frequently since bottling in January and we believe that it is ready!
I want to go into the details of our 2017 harvest with the Riesling and compare it to the 2016 harvest.
Let us start out with the numbers for us nerdy winemaking folk:
TA: 7.5 g/l
RS: 0.8 %
Harvest Date: September 24th, 2016
TA: 7.1 g/L
RS: 0.7 %
Harvest Date: September 16th, 2017
2016 was a cooler year which gave us the luxury of waiting for the fruit to hang on the vine and develop flavors at its own pace. We had the misfortune of having a picking crew bail on us, so with the help of 2 others, we pick the fruit ourselves! The wine fermented in a temperature controlled tank for 30 days, and then we slowly adjusted the temperature to slow down the fermentation to stop it exactly where we wanted. We racked into barrels and then let the wine relax until bottling. EASY FIRST YEAR!
2017 was not the same!
Charley and I wanted to give the old vines some nourishment, after so we asked our amazing vineyard owner to spread some compost on the vines. Little did we know, that 2017 was going to be one of the wettest winters California has seen in the past 30 years. This combination gave new life to the vineyard. The vines were big and healthy and the growth throughout the vineyard was much more consistent. However, it did require several more passes for suckering and tucking. Next surprise of 2017 was the crazy heat spike that occurred on Labor Day weekend. This spike scorched vineyards all over California, but luckily for us, our fruit made it through. Our site definitely hit temperatures over 100 degrees that weekend, but the site tends to cool down quickly with winds coming in from the Bay. We picked shortly after the hit spike and had fruit with very similar numbers and flavors, even though it was 1.5 Brix lower.
For fermentation, thanks to my hippy winemaking ways which I am slowly instilling in Charley, we did a portion of the wine with a native fermentation and the remainder in the same style as the previous year. The native fermentation was not temperature controlled, so it had a very slow lag time then a quicker fermentation. It started slowing down around 2 Brix and we were able to stop the wine at 0.7% Residual Sugar. The native ferment gave more spice to the wine, almost gewürztraminer aromas. The controlled ferment was easy to control and gave us the similar apricot and pineapple aromas from the previous year. We combined the wines prior to bottling and we think it added some complexity to the 2017 vintage.
We have really enjoyed these past 2 years making this wine, and we hope that you enjoy it too! Thank you for the support and I hope to share a glass with you sometime soon!