My thoughts on our 2008 harvest

2008 was a very odd year. We had some early frost, which wiped out entire crops, but mostly just reduced the yields dramatically throughout the entire State. We also had fires that affected many grapes in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, but thankfully for us, not ours. Then we had rains in September that forced some people to harvest early, but if you could hold on through the early rain events, the rest of the Fall was sunny, dry and perfect for ripening.

Our grapes are all in late ripening vineyards, so we made it through the early rains. It is always anxiety provoking, however, to have the grapes hanging on the vine so late in the year as the threat of bad weather is always looming. This vintage should show concentrated and complex wines, although they may not prove to be as stunning a vintage as 2007 turned out to be.

We shall see!

Catherine Blagden

Wines from our 2008 harvest

2008 Sangiacomo Roberts Road Pinot Noir

Harvested 10/10/2008. Brought in 2.241 tons. Destemmed and sent to bins for a 5 day cold soak. We let warm and inoculated with ICV-GRE yeast because the grapes were not in terrific condition. Pressed sweet in a basket press, settled to tank overnight and barreled down the next day. 100% French oak, 36% new oak (Cadus, Remond). After primary finished, we inoculated with EnoFerm Alpha. We are bottling in late July.

Anticipated yield: 135 cases.

2008 Sangiacomo Roberts Road Chardonnay

Harvested 10/13/08. Brought in 2.467 tons. Whole cluster pressed in the Euro Press, settled overnight and barreled down the next day into 100% French Oak, 36% new oak. We inoculated with Montrachet yeast and barrel fermented. After primary finished, we inoculated with SB3 malolactic culture for low pH wines. We stirred weekly post primary until ML finished. We are bottling in late July.

Anticipated yield: 135 cases.

2008 Monte Rosso Cabernet

Harvested 10/16/08. Brought in 4.871 tons. Destemmed and dumped to tank for a temperature controlled long, slow fermentation. On Day 3, we bled off some juice for some Rosé. After a 5 day cold soak, we turned off the cooling and let the must slowly warm up, then inoculated with MT yeast. We pressed sweet to tank, settled overnight and barreled down to 100% French oak, 65% new oak. We plan to bottle after 15+ months in barrel, depending on tannin development.

Deep rich purple in color, the nose shows dark fruits and some Asian barrel spice. The velvety entry is rich and explosive, showing dark, sweet blueberry, plum and black raspberry. The finish is long, mouthwatering and lingering. The deep and balanced tannins enable this wine to go with food, but it is lovely to drink on its own!

Balanced and complex, this wine is drinkable now, but should age nicely for another 15 or more years.

Clone: No clone, Monte Rosso field selection
Rootstock: 110R

Inoculated with MT yeast and EnoFerm Alpha for malolactic fermentation
Cooperage: 100% French, 75% new. 21 months in barrel.

pH: 3.61
TA: 6.5 g/L
VA: 0.85 g/L
Alcohol: 14.8%

Harvested: 10/25/08
Produced: 224 cases