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November 15, 2007 – Santa Rosa, CA. "A Tale of Two Harvests"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The less-than-usual amount of rain this past winter, in some cases down by about one-third, affected both the timing and the size of the vintage. It caused an early budbreak, which meant that even though harvest began in mid-August the growing season was long enough for the grapes to fully ripen, and also led to small berry size. This reduced overall cluster weight but resulted in highly concentrated fruit.
Smooth, even growing season
Dan Goldfield commented that everything ripened really evenly this year, a sentiment echoed by the panel. Steve Reeder noted that while there were a few heat spikes in the warm Alexander Valley, they occurred before veraison and did not have an impact on quality. Otherwise, sunny weather and warm but not hot temperatures up to mid-August allowed the grapes to evenly develop both sugars and flavors.
A tale of two harvests
Warm weather in mid-August combined with the early budbreak to commence a fast-and-furious initial harvest. Everything seemed to be coming in at once, as early-ripening varietals were a bit late and later-ripening varietals were a bit early. Just as tank space was about to become an issue, fog and cool weather arrived in early September to put a temporary halt to harvest, and in many cases, put sugar development into reverse. Most Sauvignon Blanc was in at this point, along with some Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel. Adam Lee commented, “Some Pinot Noir was ready early, and then there was a ten-day break before the rest came in. Surprisingly, there’s not much difference in flavors between the early-picked and the late-picked wines; they’re both impressive.”
The respite in harvest was followed by sun and cooler than average temperatures, leading to a long, drawn-out harvest of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. Low humidity during this period in the second half of September and October prevented any disease pressure, allowing growers to pick only when the fruit was ideally ripe. Unlike 2006, botrytis was not an issue at all, with several panelists commenting on the exceptionally clean and healthy fruit.
Steve Reeder stated that the relaxed pace allowed him the time to go out and taste every single block before it was picked. “What we’re looking for is physiological ripeness and flavor development, and this year we got it – brown stems, crisp seeds, and round, developed tannins.”
Panelists uniformly enthused about the quality of the 2007 vintage. The even growing season and cool finish to the harvest allowed phenolics and flavors to keep pace with sugar development, while the small berries delivered exceptional concentration.
Overall yield for the 2006 harvest is estimated to be 190,000-195,000 tons, well off the last two years’ record-breaking 231,000 tons in 2005 and 216,000 tons in 2006.
SINGLE VINEYARD TASTING
The 2007 Vintage Report was followed by a Sonoma County Single Vineyard tasting event with 56 wineries pouring more than 150 single-vineyard wines. Honore Comfort, executive director of the Sonoma County Vintners, stated, “This tasting represents what makes Sonoma County such a world-class growing region – these wines are a pure expression of the diverse soils, climates, and growing conditions of our AVAs.” More than 200 trade and media attended the successful event.
Sonoma County Vintners is the leading voice of Sonoma County wine, dedicated to increasing awareness and improving the quality image of its wines to consumers, media, and trade locally and globally. With 60,000 vineyard acres planted among the county’s 13 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), Sonoma County is considered one of the world’s premier winegrowing regions, producing an unparalleled range of varietals and wine styles. SCV has promoted this diversity and quality since 1944, and currently represents more than 150 member wineries. For more information on the wines and wineries of Sonoma County, visit www.sonomawine.com.
Wineries participating in the single vineyard tasting include:
Adobe Road Winery
Alexander Valley Vineyards
Blue Rock Vineyard
Buena Vista Carneros
Charles Creek Vineyard
Chateau St. Jean
Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery
Flowers Vineyard & Winery
Gallo Family Vineyards
Gary Farrell Winery & Vineyards
Geyser Peak Winery
Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards
Hartford Family Wines
Harvest Moon Winery
Hook & Ladder Winery
Hughes Family Vineyards
Inman Family Wines
Laurel Glen Vineyards
Lost Canyon Winery
Owl Ridge Wines
Paradise Ridge Winery
Paul Hobbs Winery
Peters Family Winery
Quivira Vineyards & Winery
Rodney Strong Vineyards
St. Francis Winery & Vineyards
Sapphire Hill Winery
Sbragia Family Vineyards
Schug Carneros Estate
Siduri Wines / Novy Family Wines