Margo Warnecke Merck, daughter of the famous architect John Carl Warnecke, lead us through the Warnecke property on a warm afternoon this last week. This property includes a mile of beach front, but more importantly for us — vineyards. We were there to see a block of pinot noir we will be using for a new Warnecke Ranch vineyard-designate. The property is in Alexander Valley, though very close to the border of other appellations such as Russian River Valley and Chalk Hill, and the hill referred to in the latter is actually on their property.
It’s hard to concentrate on tasting grapes with with a hilly vista spreading out in front of you and Margo’s dog Zephyr vying for attention at your heels, but we did manage to come up with some thoughts on the grapes, especially our winemaker Joe Freeman.Â From past experience with the grapes, Joe knows that they are kind of “sleepers” — in that they show even more finely in the wine made than one would expect from the fruit.Â We’re getting close to harvest time, so the stems are continuing the process of lignification — turning brown and beginning to shut down.
The seeds are starting to get more “pop” and crunchiness, with those tannins developing nicely, and the berries are developing nice strawberry and red-cherry flavors.Â We’re expecting some nice warm weather in the next several days, so all looks good for continued development of grape flavors and seed tannins.Â Expect some great stuff from this wine!
Ten miles away from our own ranch and vineyards, the Warnecke Ranch pinot is our next step in personal connections. Like all our other wines, it is from friends and neighbors, and will maintain our standards of quality. The grapes will be harvested on Monday, and then brought to the winery for a long transformation before they reach your table. Fall is an exciting time for us, bringing the bounty of the land and the promise of good wine to come.
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