This has been one tough vintage to handle.
Poor spring weather led to problems with Strawberries, Cherries, and Blueberries, and
Poor weather in early spring led to poor grape berry set, and
Poor weather throughout the summer led to extremely low degrees of photosynthesis (sugar formation) in all crops, and
Poor weather throughout the summer and into the ripening period led to extraordinarily high levels of grape spoilage, and
Spotted Lanternfly just dumped more bad onto what was salvageable as good, and
And freak torrential rainstorms.
Plus, just trying to get people to work the vineyards when you need them to do so.
Even with this, we’re still making some very good wines from a not-so-stellar vintage. Varietal character (the smell of the grape as crushed) is at lower levels: we’ll have some very delicate wines this year, with some wines probably not be bottled under their characteristic name.
There are, however, some exceptions. Our supplier for Chambourcin grapes, who has been consistently diligent in producing meticulously raised fruit: the 2017 and 2018 Chambourcin red wines and the 2018 Logan’s Rosé are very nice with very good fruit aroma, good body, balanced acidity with very clean fruit flavors.
But, there will be no 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, like there was no 2013: we had to use it only for Cracklin’ Rosé as opposed to a red wine due to less than optimal weather ripening and vineyard management issues. Sometimes I have to make tough choices with what to do with the harvest. Expensive fruit for less than optimum wine. Sorry about that, but we do still have the excellent 2015 and 2016 vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon bottled, and the 2017 to be bottled soon.
The good news is that the 2016 reds, which have been bottled, and the 2017 reds which will be bottled very shortly are both very good wines and are tasting quite well. The 2016 reds have had around 11 months of bottle age and are developing their bottle-aged bouquets. The 2017 reds are clean, overall moderately intense of the grape variety with a nice complementing dose of oak, and should develop well over the next 5 years or so in the bottle.
The 2017 Riesling and 2017 Chardonnay, both currently available at our shop and at selected restaurants, are the finest examples of those grapes that I have tasted and seen in our past six vintages I’ve had the pleasure of making.
So, keep the Spotted Lanternfly at bay, report it to Penn State when you find it, and enjoy your wine in good health!