Filed under: Winemaking | Tags: 2009, 2009 harvest, Amber Ridge Vineyard, grape sorting, Pinot Noir, Russian River pinot noir, Waits-Mast Pinot Noir
With all of the Waits-Mast 2008 Pinots settling into their bottles, our thoughts have eagerly turned to the 2009 harvest. With some late Spring rains and a consistently warm and dry summer, this year is shaping up to be a great harvest.
Of the different vineyards from which we source fruit, our Russian River grapes, from Amber Ridge vineyard in Windsor, California, are usually the first to be harvested. This year was no exception; on September 9th we welcomed and sorted the first of our fruit: Dijon clone 115 from Amber Ridge. We work a lot with 115 as our base clone because of the more elegant red fruit and floral characteristics. From there, we build and integrate other clones to add structure and complexity.
The fruit was beautiful and it was our daughter’s first trip up the ladder to the sorting table. She dug right in and loved the taste of the fruit (but complained about her sticky fingers). Brian built up his right bicep while hold her in one hand and sorting fruit with the other! We’re not kidding when we say Waits-Mast “Family” Cellars.
Building on the 115, on September 11th we hand-sorted the 667 and 777 clones from Amber Ridge. The 667 provides great backbone for the final blend and the 777 adds that punch of fruit to round out the variety of berry flavors. Off on a secret mission to find more Pinot Noir fruit sources, we tapped our friend Bryce to help us sort the fruit that day.
He reported that the fruit was in great shape and that the 777 in particular was “pristine” and “absolutely stunning,” commenting that “if all grapes tasted this way, I would survive on nothing else.” Wow. We’re sorry we missed the sort, but are pleased to hear this.
This year, we are doing two barrels of Amber Ridge, which allows us a little more versatility in working with these clones, oak and yeast, among other components. It also give us some more flexibility in the final blending process. It’s almost done with fermentation and the last of the sugars are converting to alchohol, so later this week we’ll be pressing the Amber Ridge…probably on the same day that we’ll be bringing in the “secret” fruit from Anderson Valley. More to come on that in our next harvest update!
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