Saturday, February 7, 2015

and then...IT RAINED

It seems like forever since showers last came. In fact it was just after Thanksgiving, with a touch in December, bringing us up to 6 whopping inches....which has been our average the past 3 years. January was the driest ever at zero inches here, few elsewhere. But finally, finally we got the promised spring rain, hopefully the first of many. It is wet out right now...sloppy, messy wet and muddy. Beautiful. Just beautiful. More rain is promised not just a followup, but later in spring also. We had a couple inches and it is so dry it hits the soil and instantly the desert, almost, except we are in the Santa Lucia Mountains and foothills, and should be getting way wetter than we are. But, thank the Lord and whoever else sent us this rain. It was desperately needed.

The late fall rains resulted in the entire vineyard being a beautiful green in all rows and around the vineyard, with wildflowers in abundance in certain areas. No more than 40 yards from our Syrah, we have Pedicularis wildflowers out already, some 2 months early. These lovely fuchsia flowers are found between 5000 and 7500 ft elevation, according to mountain wildflower books...yet here they are, not far from our vineyard in dense forest. And to think, we are only at 1200 ft elevation right here. It is just one of the many wonders and delights of Cerro Prieto....nature, flora and fauna in abundance. Saw some mountain line sign last month which meant we had deer inside the fence. I assume they left as the lion went also. A huge badger has moved a monster limestone boulder to about a 30 degree angle from the ground, making his nest. Our doormats are all in tatters as grey squirrels, mountain Jays, and a whole host of other critters are using our mats for nesting materials. No matter what you do, it is impossible to not be in awe of the life around us.

San Diego Intl Wine Competition just notified us that our 2009 Merlot which was made for the wine club ( and disappeared into the wine club) received a 92 pt Gold Medal in the intl competition. I told you all it was good...ok, fantastic. To top that off our only other entry was our 2011 Pinot Noir from the really cold year, and it took 91 pts and the Gold medal there also. So altho we have been hibernating, our wines have continued to shine for us. Which brings me to....the spring wine club shipment. Since I was out of town, back surgery, then a prolonged flu, I have not been to the winery much at all, but belatedly we did get the 2012 Cab(Paso Bordo) and the Syrah el Bordo bottled.

With a mid January bottling, our wines will not be drinkable until probably mid June, but could be ready as early as May. We don't even have a shipping date with the shipper yet, so our wines will almost surely ship later than usual. Good news is that they aren't ready to drink anyway. But in barrel, the Paso Bordo was superb, reminding a bit of the 2006 and '07. Big blackberry wine with hint of cherry, strawberry and light trace of plum in background, with  mildly toasted oak tannins. The Syrah el Bordo was perhaps even better, with  big and  plummy with finely modulated tannins and a nice hint of blackberry finish. I think I can get some strawberry at times, but we'll see in bottle.

 Sure nice to watch this from the back deck with  a cup of coffe in hand than in the vineyard fixing leaking water valve.

Usually we hold our wines until ready to drink, but this time I will release them when they will still need to lay down. As such they will be $39/btl  and our 3 pack will include the remaining $89/btl Syrah la Terraza(94 pt Platinum wine from SD Inlt competition), but sold for $69 in the 3 pak. Total for the 3 wines will be $147 and a valu pak of 3 btls of 2011 Pinot can be added for $120 (regular price $49/btl).

Shipping time is not set as yet, but count on late March or into April if we can get a slot.  Also a reminder for those who forgot last fall. If you have a new or re-issued credit card, please let me know. Also if you are working and not at home during week, please send us a new shipping address at your work. Actually to cover all bases, any change in address, phone, or cred card, please let me know.

That is it for now, and I will say it is incredibly uplifting to look out at the vineyard we created from scratch and know that we don't have to get out there and work it 7 days/week. Instead we can sit back and enjoy a fabulous glass of wine at sunset and for the first time really get to enjoy this place called home...or as many have noted, paradise. It is remarkable here at present, raining cats and dogs and absolutely beautiful out. Incidentally, a few folks have wanted to come by for tasting , but until our 2012 Cab and Syrah are ready, we will only be doing wine club business. We have been closed to the public since Dec and will stay so until wines are ready in May or June, assuming they last that long. Meantime, you all can have yours sooner. Oh, we had to filter the Cab. Once for a chance of bacteria(unwanted kind) and once more for high VA, or volatile acidity. Typically our VAs run high and in part give rise to our huge bouquets. This VA, however ,was 119, just a touch below the TTB limit of 120, so we filtered a second time also.

 A little clearing after the rains. Yup, it's wet, but we love it.
Our Syrah came to just 26 cases and the Cab came to 38 cases. We lost almost 25% to filtering, but we do this only every 5 yrs or so, so we are used to it. That said, those that want to have more than a bottle or two or those wanting cases, it is first come first served for some awesome  wine produced in the mountains in a drought. As mentioned last time, 2012 -2014 will be the best years ever for California wines, and Cerro Prieto's will be better than that.  More on wine club shipments next time when we have dates for shipping.

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