2012 “Jean’s Block” Riesling
Vineyard: Our Clone 49 Riesling vines budded out very early in 2012, perhaps two weeks ahead of a normal year. Although this may sound advantageous, it was actually problematic. A sudden frost followed bud-break and many fragile buds were frozen dead. Luckily, we left an extra cane that could be tied down to add a few precious growing shoots to the sparse canopy. The summer growth period proceeded nicely with warm temperatures and little rain. A lighter crop load required less thinning and ripened quickly near the end of August.
Winery: The bulk of our Riesling is purchased by Fielding Estate Winery. In talking with Winemaker (and friend) Richie Roberts, I learned that he likes to harvest Riesling with fairly high acidity to give some vibrant life to the resultant wine. As a bit of a “Riesling rookie” myself, I decided to experiment with this approach and harvest our 2012 crop at a higher TA value than I normally would. We brought in our Riesling on September 13th (earlier than ever) and the pressed juice tasted beautiful! The higher TA meant a juice with lower pH, and consequently a sluggish start to the fermentation. Eventually, with the help of a little extra nutrient, the W15 yeast hit its stride and worked at a nice slow pace over the next month and a half. The fermentation was finally halted on Halloween at a specific gravity of 1.006, a point where I perceived balance on my palate. Over the winter months the wine was protein and cold stabilized prior to coarse filtration. We bottled 96 cases on March 26, 2013. The 2012 “Jean’s Block” Riesling is now available for purchase in our barn.