What an incredible week this has been: starting out last Sunday with a pick at the Berger Ranch, picking the Merlot, watching the moon set into the mist up above Sonoma Mountain – walking along with Lucy talking about art and music and artistic direction, and ending early this morning with the pressing off of the first Ancient Oak Pinot Noir off of the Siebert Ranch. All wild fermentation – wonderful smells. My wife Mara and I trading off at 3, 4 o’clock in the morning, putting it in to press. Wonderful fermentation.
And in between, so many things happening. It seems like a lifetime since we started last Sunday. Just so much has gone on – so much has happened – but so many wonderful things. I’m so happy to be working with Melissa and Ken. And my wife. And all of our kids. This is the life, this is what we want to do with our lives. We are living it right now.
The Merlot we’ve just tasted in tank, and it’s got some beautiful blueberry aromas, a little bit of herbal snap to it. It’s just started kicking off fermentation. And the Pinot Noir that we’ve picked – the wild fermentation is showing a lot of feral, growly, visceral elements to go with some blueberry and raspberry; great color. The inoculated fermentation is just starting to kick off, because it was in a bigger tank with lots of cold soak associated with it, and it’s showing some great classic Pinot Noir fermentation esters with a little bit of earth, and some berry elements.
I couldn’t be any happier right now. It’s been a very compressed vintage – everything’s coming in all at once. But I think we’re managing very well and we’re staying ahead of the curve. Really respecting the land and listening to what’s going on, and making the right decisions because we are listening to what the land has to say to us.
The Kent Ritchie Chardonnay also came in last week. We only got about a ton and a third, but beautiful fruit. There’s actually a little bit of maple syrup aspect to it. And some sweetness and richness. Texturally it’s a very interesting. The Kent Ritchie Chardonnay never really reveals itself very early. But I think this one is going to be very expressive because 2014 has been an early year, and we’ve been able to really work with Kent on picking up some very special areas that I’ve worked with before, and actually help to plant.
Lots more to come in the next several crazy, beuatiful weeks. Stay tuned.
Tags: Ancient Oak Cellars, Berger Vineyard, Crush, Greg La Follette, Merlot, Native Fermentation, Oak Shade Ranch, PINOT NOIR, Russian River Valley, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR, Siebert Ranch and Vineyards, Sonoma Mountain, Vineyard News, Wild Fermentation, Winemaker Notes