From the desk of our President Of Fun
Spring has sprung at Emeritus Vineyards, and with it lots of anticipation for the 2022 growing season! Throughout the vineyard delicate new buds have broken, and we’re keeping out our fingers crossed for no freezing overnight temperatures that would harm them. We see new growth in the vineyards in every day, brightening the landscape with little green shoots and leaves.
In the cellar, our winemaking team has the wonderful job of tasting through all the wines from 2021 harvest. What they’re finding so far is that these wines are just incredible, so intense and flavorful. There’s quite a lot to look forward to in the coming years!
The new releases that we have are also spectacular, tasting through them all as a team is one of my favorite things to do. The 2019s perfectly represent our vineyards and the philosophy behind every finished bottle: that soil gives the wine its character, climate gives the wine its personality, and people give the wine its spirit. I hope you will allow these wines to transport you to our beautiful home in Sonoma County as you enjoy them.
Spring has sprung in the vineyards, with more delicate new buds breaking out into the sunshine all the time. At Pinot Hill, we are seeing an average of two inches of growth every day!
With this growth comes a host of considerations for vineyard management. This week is shaping up to be a warm one, so our shoot thinning program begins soon, with our vineyard crew moving through both Hallberg Ranch and Pinot Hill to keep the amount of new growth at desired levels. Too many shoots will spread the vines’ resources thinner than we’d like. So, removing the excess will keep the resulting fruit concentrated with the amazing flavors our wines are known for.
Our cover crops between the vines are coming along nicely as well. Every year we till every other row to stimulate establishment of annual plants that provide wildlife food and cover. These low insectaries encourage local insects to stay out of the canopies of the vines when summer comes, as well as providing a handy snack bar for birds visiting from the nearby Laguna de Santa Rosa. Tilling now also helps preserve the water from recent rainfalls by forcing it down to the root systems and warms up the ground as the land shakes off the lingering chill of winter.
In these early days of spring, keep your fingers crossed with us that we don’t have any freezing overnight temperatures that might harm the new growth!
In the Emeritus cellar, David and Keith have concluded the new barrel comparison tastings from the 2021 vintage! The goal of this process is to drill down on desirable interactions between oak barrels and wines in order to find the best possible wine/barrel combinations. With 14 clones and upwards of 150 barrels to work with, there’s a lot to pay attention to in these tastings. Some of the comparisons that our winemakers had to keep in mind include:
- The three different coopers that we source our barrels from.
- Toasting levels from each forest.
- The different forests from each cooper.
- The same forest across coopers.
- A new barrel compared to a used barrel from the same cooper and forest.
You can see why this sampling took over 7 days!
In the end, our preferences shifted slightly more to the lighter of toasting from one cooper and found the perfect toast for a new forest that we started working with last year. David and Keith also confirmed some thoughts about a certain forest being more appropriate for the heavier structured wines, as well as a cooper selection that is nearly the perfect match in each of our most rare wines. The best solution, however, remains a combination of new and used oak. We’ve fount that the new oak component is most complete when a combination of coopers, forests, and toast levels is employed.
We’d like to thank Tonnellerie Rousseau, Dargaud et Jaegle, and Tonnellerie Remond for being fantastic cooperages and partners!