A View From Behind the Bar



Do you remember the Summer of 2012? It was the hottest on record, in addition, a severe drought had come to the Valley. Then there were the birds – thousand of them eating every grape in sight! Grapevines like stress, but this was extreme! The 2012 grape yield was smaller, but the grapes had a rich, pungent aroma. The red-black juice of the reds was concentrated by the heat, and drought and offered the promise of a strong ferment. Our whites were golden, and bursting with flavor. Would the wine that was produced be the same? We would just have to wait.

The wait is about over. The promise of the 2012 growing season is soon to be unwrapped. We have had a little teaser with our 2012 Vignoles released earlier this year. You know that whites come through first, and this season brought a few surprises. The 2012 Vignoles was highly acidic. The hot summer sun of 2012 literally “cooked” the berries on the vine, and when they gave up their juice for the wine we got an acidic wine that was beautiful in color and went well with spicy foods like Mexican and Szewan Chinese, but for some the acidity was too much.

In 2015 we roll out the 2012 Nortons. After three years of waiting we can finally start tasting what the 2012 harvest will bring. Will we be happy or disappointed? I rather think we are going to be happy. Our preliminary tastings have been encouraging, and while the wine is still in the barrel our first samplings lead us to believe that a unique, well-balanced wine with lots of flavor is on its way.

You can understand why we say that “patience” is a major ingredient in winemaking. There is no instant gratification – we know that. It’s why we do not release our reds for a minimum of 3 years. The aging period cannot be hurried. We’ve proven that patience is critical; for example: Our 2009 Chambourcin aged 5 years was deemed by many as the best wine we have ever released. Patience really paid off.

But we are excited about the 2012 crop. Was the great fruit and pungent juice we extracted on harvest from the hottest year a “teaser” for great things to come? Or will we be disappointed? We’ll know next year when we release our 2012 Norton.

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