"A vintage to prove you don't know until you know"
It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon following harvest here in the Umpqua Valley. The vines have changed colors and are just beginning to drop their leaves as they prepare for the slumbering winter ahead. Earlier today Tucker and I put the last of the crush equipment away and the wines are all in barrel, acclimating to their new surrounding. Over the years, 37 harvests to be exact, I have seen many pronouncements of a new vintage that didn't end up turning out the way we had hoped. Having said this, 2016 looks to be one of the best vintages I have ever experienced in terms of its balance, color and fruit. More on this as the vintage matures.
Our international selection for this release is a wine with a lot of lessons for me. The 2013 Perfecti, our wine from old vines grown in the Roussillon region of SW France, speaks to the new world making wine in the old. To show you this, our new shipment will be the same vineyards but made by our dear friends Marcel and Carrie Buehler who live on the property. It is my hope that you will have the opportunity to taste our wine and Marcels and see the difference in a cultural palate. I always speak in the tasting room about how we are part of what the French call "Terrior" of flavor of place. Great wine not only reflects the soil and climate the fruit is grown in, but also the people that work the vineyards, their different philosophies, and taste. On to the Perfecti.
The best and brightest thought the 2013 vintage in Southern France to be a total wipe out. The year was besieged by flooding, rot, and hail. After a late flowering, the season weather was erratic and finally finished about three weeks later than normal. At the very end, all was saved by an Indian Summer. Some varieties like Grenache were severely affected by this with yields sometimes off by as much as 50-60%, but the Carignan and Syrah seemed to not only survive, but the older vineyards even excelled this year. As the wines went to bottle this perfume and brightness is something that speaks to nature's gentle hand this special year.
The 2013 Perfecti aromatics are much brighter and focused than is typical in this region. Aromatics of bright red fruit along with an almost Asian five spice lift off the glass. On the palate, the wine is focused and has a gentle power that finishes off with a nice structure of acid and tannin. Still what we call very primary, or youthful, this wine should have a very long future as long as you keep it in the bottle! Richer dishes such as game and risotto should be great accompaniments to this wine. Tonight we will be enjoying the open bottle in front of me with a little wild mushroom and venison risotto. A blend of Carignan, Syrah and a little Grenache - we produced 100 cases of this classic wine.