September 29th, 2010
Maybe, just maybe getting our La Encantada fruit from Sta. Rita Hills in next week. Our Hayley from Anderson Valley is still a few weeks off, despite the heat wave. Apparently a few days of 100+ degrees isn’t enough to speed up a slow summer. Looking good! More updates when the grapes arrive!
September 9th, 2010
The bizarre summer weather this year means that La Encantada, which normally is harvested in early October (relatively late for Pinot Noir), could end up being ready in the next two to three weeks. According to our consulting winemaker, the vineyard was managed really well with good canopy management and decent thinning of under-ripe clusters.
Then again, the weather in the next few weeks could accelerate or delay things depending on heat/UV exposure. Mother Nature is going to do what she wants — we just have to be flexible. Once the fruit is picked we’ll be done with the farming phase and on to the winemaking phase, at which point we can exert a little bit more control over things…
May 18th, 2010
Both of the wines we made in 2009 finished their fermentations and went into barrel back in mid/late October last year. So, they’ve both had about six months to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. Based on how they’re maturing and evolving right now, I’d guess we’re in the neighborhood of 5 months or less before we bottle them. At that point, we’ll hold onto them for a few months and release them some time in early 2011.
The first vineyard we harvested last year was Doctors’ down in the Santa Lucia Highlands. We ended up getting our fruit – 100% Swan clone – on September 30th. From that point, it took about 14 days to cold-soak and ferment before we put it barrel (33% new oak, 66% neutral). When we tasted it just recently, the floral qualities of the Swan clone were definitely in effect – roses, violets, hibiscus and raspberries was the best description I could come up with. It’s obviously still quite young and bright, but malolactic conversion is done so the acids have mellowed and the lack of huge amounts of new oak is keeping the tannins smooth and soft. The color was a brilliant ultra-violet but definitely has the light translucency that let’s you know it wasn’t over extracted. I’m really happy with how it’s turning out so far, and I can’t wait for it to calm down and see how it continues to evolve.
Our second and final harvest of 2009 was La Encantada in the Santa Rita Hills. This field blend of 115 and 777 clones was picked on October 9 and also spent 14 days macerating and fermenting before going to press. We ended up aging the La Encantada in a 1-year old barrel (0% new oak, folks!), and based on what I’ve tasted so far I am completely happy with that decision. It’s a beautiful garnet red and the nose totally blows my mind. Black cherries, black raspberries, dried mushrooms and fresh earth, “brown” spices (cinnamon, clove?) and some pepper. Absolutely stunning, despite being very young and racy. The acid was still quite bright, but the tannins were soft and chalky.
It’s a little early yet to make predictions, but as things stand right now I may have to go on record as saying that the La Encantada is probably the best wine I’ve made so far. I really do love everything else I’ve made so far. Each one has it’s own style and character, and has met and exceeded all my expectations. All of them share the common thread of being delicate, slightly reserved, but with an integrated complexity that shows off Pinot’s ability to be a chameleon. That said, the La Encantada really surprised me and put a grin on my face.
Of course, that could be because we finished off the entire bottle, but who’s to say? ;)
May 5th, 2010
After nearly three years and three vintages in the making, Aeshna Wines’ store is finally open for business! It’s an extraordinarily exciting and simultaneously nerve-wracking event, but I’m glad it all worked out the way that it did. Now that the ball is rolling and our doors are open, I’ll be posting a lot more here and on Facebook/Twitter so that I can keep you all up to date on everything that’s going on — tasting events, private pourings, future releases, harvest updates and other random musings from the cellar.
Feel free to contact us any time at the email address listed on the “Contact” page. And of course if you’re interested in tasting some of the fruits of our labor, head on over to the “Purchase” page. If something strikes your fancy, drop me a line before you complete your transaction so I can give you a discount code as a way of thanking your for being one some of the first people to taste our wines.
I’ve had a long time to really get to know these four wines, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
April 11th, 2010
Pardon the dust. Our new website is now up, but as you can see, not yet complete. I still have to tweak the look and feel on this blog to match the rest of the site, and we still have the all important integration with our store to do. We’re getting there, so check back soon! The rest of this should fall into place quite quickly!
December 23rd, 2009
Next Monday, our Split Rock Pinot Noir from 2008 will finally be bottled. Our ’07 had nice smooth tannins and a healthy acid backbone, which didn’t necessitate a long time in barrel — a little less than 12 months. The ’08 is more fruity and bright, but it lacked the natural tannins of the ’07 needed a little extra time in the barrel to pick up some structure and soften the mid-palate, so it actually spent about 16 months in barrel.
The momentum is building, and we’re excited to see that all the pieces will likely start falling into place in 2010.
Enjoy your Holidays! Check back in soon.
December 3rd, 2009
It’s worth noting that despite the lack of posts here since February, we’ve actually been quite busy with wine in ’09. More updates to follow, but in a nutshell:
- We’re now legally able to sell wine to you via the Internet (assuming your states’ wine shipping laws aren’t from the pre-Colonial era).
- We’ve got a website upgrade and storefront coming soon (to allow for #1).
- The labels for all 3 vintages (6 barrels, in total) are finally done, and we’re looking to bottle up the remaining ’08 Pinot Noir from Split Rock and get some clothes on the rest of those naked bottles pretty soon.
- The two batches of Pinot we made this year fermented beautifully and are now resting peacefully in their barrels. Tasting notes to follow in early ’10.
Check back soon!
October 29th, 2009
Both of the barrels we made in 2009 are now dry (ie., no more sugar left to ferment), and they’ve finished off at 13.8% and 13.98% alcohol. Nice! They’ve both been inoculated for malolactic conversion, and once the acids mellow it’ll be time for them to go to bed for a few months. Up next, barrel tasting in March (ish)….
The barrel of Doctors’ is in a 33% Zebra, and La Encantada is in a 1 Year Old barrel. Part of the decision to go with a 1YO was experimental in nature. The 1YO will impart less new oak characteristics, but will be more subtle overall, and I’m totally fine with subtle. Both barrels are from the Tonnelliere Francois Freres cooperage.
October 20th, 2009
My last fermentation of the season, the La Encantada from the Sta. Rita Hills, is almost done. It’ll probably be another day or so until it’s dry, so I expect to be pressing to barrel in a few days…
If you compare the fermentations from the two barrels I’m making this year, the Doctors’ Vineyard (Santa Lucia Highlands) started heating up and dropping brix almost immediately after we pitched the yeast. There was no help required other than 3-4 punch-downs a day to bleed off the heat and keep the fermentation from getting too hot and potentially killing off the yeast (resulting in the horror of a stuck fermentation).
The La Encantada reacted differently. For several days after yeast was pitched, the temperature rose, but the brix barely budged. This meant that the yeast were slowly multiplying as the must came up to cellar temp, but they were fermenting much more slowly. In the end, the yeast got going, and the fermentation progressed very nicely.
October 7th, 2009
The cold soak for the Doctors Vineyard Pinot Noir is done. The must is currently a chilly 6.9C/44F, so we’ll bring it up to cellar temperature and let fermentation start. Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble… Now the alchemy part of winemaking starts.