The heat returned with a vengeance this week, driving temperatures into the triple digits for a couple of days and otherwise being reminiscent of mid-summer in the Foothills. The heat caused some incremental ripening, but also inevitable dehydration, inflating both brix and TA.
We have met all of our commitments for primitivo and–crop estimation being a fine art that we’re still learning–have about 0.75 tons still remaining in the field. Given that we committed a little over 5 tons, this suggests that we were right on target for yield at about 2 tons/acre. The grapes are still usable for dry wine given a healthy TA level, but time is short due to the recent spike in sugar. After this weekend (Oct. 2-3), the remaining fruit would be most suitable for dessert wine applications, e.g. late harvest or port-style. Our 2008 homemade wine produced with primitivo from this field won a gold medal, Best of Class at the 2010 Amador County Fair.
The barbera is coming along steadily, and though we have suffered some inevitable attrition from dehydration, there is still plenty of good, plump fruit available for harvest. Over the past 6 weeks, we have gone back through a second time and dropped some main crop and most seconds from all of Block 4 and select sections of the rest of the barbera vineyard. Due to time constraints, we have only been sampling Block 4 until now, but will begin wider sampling soon. We expect that–depending on the irrigation block and client preference/schedules–this fruit will be ready for picking in 1 to 3 weeks. We hope that the long hang time has been beneficial for flavor development, and we will continue to irrigate proactively to try to keep the brix in check. Moderating temperatures forecast for the coming week are good news for nice ripening of this fruit.
As we had no takers for the Quinta (thanks for saving it for us!), we will be harvesting this wonderful fruit over the next several weeks and posting any leftovers for sale on this website. This fruit will be available only in home winemaker-type quantities (hundreds of pounds) and will be picked at a ripeness suitable for dessert wine.
Separate from the Quinta fruit, we have about a ton of touriga from vines that we grafted over from another varietal last year. This fruit was not cropped as sparingly as the Quinta touriga and so is a couple weeks behind in ripeness, but is coming along nicely and available at a discount relative to the touriga nacional in our Quinta. It makes a dark, fragrant wine, and is suitable for dry and (at higher ripeness) dessert wine applications.
Please see our latest grape chemistry posting on this blog for recent chemistry sampling information for all of the above grapes.