Vintage 2021 - Winemaker Review
January 13, 2022
Mother Nature was anything but mild-mannered for the growing season of v.2021. Starting with an exceptionally dry rainfall season of less than 8" and an unseasonably warm January, the vines struggled with going dormant. The lack of dormancy correlates to low bud-fruitfulness and overall lower yields. Based on these difficult circumstances, we made quick decisions to adjust our pruning practices to give the vines every chance to have a successful season. As the growing season continued, flowering was also delayed across the Estate (about 4-6 weeks behind a 'normal' year) which meant one of the longest growing seasons we have seen.
Our first pick for Pinot Noir was on October 4th and was the first time ever that we have not picked Pinot Noir in September. Chardonnay came right on top of the Pinot Noir which added a lot of activity to the cellar. Nearly 2.5" of rain came over two days in October and, thankfully, our defining sandy soil dried out quickly with no ill-effect on the fruit remaining on the vine. The final pick of the season was Grenache on November 22nd, three days before Thanksgiving and which pressed off the 3rd week of December.
Overall, despite the challenges presented early on, our Pinot Noir experienced better yields and the Chardonnay persevered to maintain a normal performance. The wines at this early stage are showing great acidity and structure, and our signature native yeast ferments have been very well-behaved. Other favorite varieties from the Estate are also showing great promise. Chenin Blanc is balanced, with a very complex flavor note. We think this wine will be a very worthy successor to the v.2020 which was highly rated and is nearly sold out. Our v.2021 EFFORT Rosé is pale, crisp and has the first tiny portion of Mourvèdre to balance the Syrah and Grenache. Additionally, the Rhône varieties are just finally going down to barrel. Our experience has been that the Rhônes take a long time to develop and show their final form, but we are encouraged by the range they are showing both in flavor and color.
v.2022 is looking really good! We have had solid cold temperatures to develop good dormancy and rainfall is on track. We are hoping for a reset of the vineyard and a return to strong and more predictable growing conditions. We are especially grateful to our Insider Members for their steadfast patronage and support. We have grown together as a team and look forward to the next year and the continued experiences we will have together.
Nathan Carlson - Center of Effort Winemaker and General Manager