February 17th, 2011 by Debi | 1 Comment »
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If you think that this looks like just another Baldacci Family Vineyards’ winetasting then you would be incorrect. This tasting, called our “Vineyard Notes” tasting happens early each year with our Viticulturist, Garrett Buckland and our Winemaker, Rolando Herrera.
This tasting is the perfect opportunity to have a frank discussion about how the Estate vineyards (17 acres of Cabernet in the Stags Leap District and 20 acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah and Gewürtztraminer) performed last year. The expected “Wow, this is delicious” comments will occur but the more important conversations surround what Rolando might find lacking in the wines and what we can do from a viticultural and vineyard management perspective to change the fruit for the 2011 season (Mother Nature’s meddling withstanding). As many of you have heard Rolando say: It all comes from the vineyard, he just tries not to mess it up! Of course, we know that his modesty makes him believe that this is true – but we all know that his goal of perfection is what is making our Baldacci Family Vineyards’ wines spectacular!
Here are some of the comments as Garrett and Rolando tasted the wines from the 2010 vintage:
Sorelle Chardonnay – hints of orange blossoms, bright acid balanced with creamy oak. Vineyard Notes: we achieved the perfect light environment last year. Continue to monitor lateral growth so that we keep the middles of the vines open and airy allowing for airflow and dappled sun exposure.
Elizabeth Pinot – strawberry flavors, richer body than the 2008, elegant mineral layers. Vineyard Notes: these vines are a year stronger and can handle almost a full crop. Watch watering levels and make sure that the light environment protects but does not block the clusters.
Allwin Syrah – elegant plum, coffee, blackberry and mineral depth. Vineyard Notes: both blocks of the Syrah are very vigorous and we need to make sure that we continue to drop all excess clusters during the season so that the remaining fruit produces concentrated, powerful wines.
Merlot – plush mouth feel, black cherry and refined Bordeaux style. Vineyard Notes: currently this wine is part of the new Fraternity IV Sons blend. The Merlot component is needed for rich, full body. Focus on berry development (more berries per cluster not more clusters) to continue an increase in yields but without bunched fruit in season.
Stags Leap District Cabernet – Black Label – already refined with big (but elegant) tannic structure and black fruit flavors. Vineyard Notes: the valley floor vineyards continue to produce elegant wines. The remaining older blocks will continue to be the Cabernet component for the new Fraternity IV Sons blend and needs to be approachable and smooth. The newer vineyard blocks are mature and will be monitored for water stress throughout the year. The new blocks 3-4 will produce fruit for the first year and we expect to get no more than 1 ton/acre. These new vines will be farmed for vine health with less focus on fruit quality – more water and drop any fruit that the vine cannot mature.
Stags Leap District Cabernet – Brenda’s Vineyard – deep, rich flavors of dark chocolate, ripe red berries, and lingering tannins. Vineyard Notes: continue to cultivate the Brenda’s Vineyard in the same way. Strive for uniformity in the block to increase production in these vines – and hope for more than 2 tons/acre!
Stags Leap District Cabernet – Hill – serious mountain fruit flavors dominate the profile (hard to believe that it is Stags Leap District). Vineyard Notes: continue to monitor water stress on these vines and begin irrigation as early as needed to extend the vines health and give them enough stamina to make it through those heat spikes in September.