Cue the broken record…the 2013 Pinot Noir is rotting on the vine. We’ve done everything in our ability to nurse along these bursting clusters, but this last stretch of humid weather and looming rainfall (100% P.O.P.) has made our harvest decision an easy one. Excess rain brings the potential for berry split, the spread of sour rot and the dilution of all components within the grape pulp.
Thankfully, the fruit is ready to come off – wonderful flavours, browning seeds, shriveling berries and perfect acidity (TA 7.5 g/L). The sugar levels aren’t the highest they’ve ever been, but that’s not the most critical indicator of ripeness in my opinion. Others may disagree and choose to wait out the coming rain in an effort to squeeze out a few more degrees Brix. I envy their optimism, but my years (and tears) of experience with this fickle “heartbreak grape” will not allow me to take that risk. I will not sleep soundly until my Pinot is cooly soaking in sealed bins.
Prior to harvest I will scour my rows for rotten berries and clusters, surgically removing them where necessary. On the day of the pick we will re-sort every cluster to cull anything that was missed in the vineyard. If all goes according to plan (and it rarely does) I believe that each of the early varietals from 2013 could rival the tremendous wines of 2009.
Update 22/11/13: Over two barnstorming days dodging yellow jackets and ladybugs, we were able to harvest all rows of Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir! As forecasted, the rain arrived on Saturday in the form of an all day soaker – 54mm total. For the record I am now sleeping soundly.