My thoughts on the 2017 harvest

The year produced enough rain to officially end the California 5 year drought. There were various heat spikes during the summer of 2017, but overall the vines and grapes looked good going into the end of August. The heat spike in early September over Labor Day accelerated things – and there was weird weather all around. There were thunderstorms in LA which was odd.

Things cooled in mid-September which enabled the winery to process the early fruit and get ready for the next wave while the later ripening varietals continued to ripen at a nice pace. I brought in the van Der kamp Pinot in early September, which was unusual as I am used to later ripening Pinot Noir – and I am excited about this wine! Then I brought my Sangiacomo Pinot and Chardonnay in and the fruit looked terrific on the sorting table and the fermentations were strong.

The season was moving along nicely until on October 8thwhen fires erupted in Sonoma and Napa – high winds pushed the blazes and started new ones ultimately destroying structures, acreage and taking 44 lives. All operations were put on hold for several days across both counties to assess damage and regroup. I then on October 17th, picked my Napa Valley Cabernet. Wow, what a year.

This looks to be an especially fabulous vintage – the finished wine is tasting great.

The Pinots are concentrated, complex, juicy and delicious – and the two vineyard designates are both quite different from oneanother – although both are big and broody, yet nicely balanced. The Chardonnay is intense, focused, yet elegant and once again, overvintaging seems to be adding a level of complexity that I feel my Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays truly benefit from. How ironic and overall what a blessing, given the drama and trauma of the harvest.

Catherine Blagden

Wines from our 2017 harvest

2017 Sangiacomo Roberts Road Chardonnay

Pressed whole cluster in Europress to tank and settled overnight. Barreled down next day into 100% French oak, 20% new – creating a 100% oak fermented Chardonnay. Inoculated w CH 16 for malolactic fermentation. 16 mos in barrel.

Bottled: February 13, 2019
Produced: 122 cases

2017 Sangiacomo Roberts Road Pinot Noir

777, Swan and 115. After a judicious sort, I destemmed and crushed, then co-fermented in tank. We cranked the cooling down to enable a 5 day cold soak, then let warm up for a native fermentation in stainless, jacketed steel tank, pressed in the basket press to tank and barreled down next day. Inoculated with CH 16 for malolactic fermentation. 16 months in barrel, 100% French oak, 33% new. The final blend was compiled just before bottling. Bottled February 13, 2019. 95 cases.

Bottled: February 13, 2019
Produced: 95 cases.

2017 van Der kamp Pinot

UCD 23, La Tache, 777 and Old Vine came in two different waves. After a careful sort, I co-fermented in Macro 48s. After a 3 day cold soak, we let warm up for a native fermentation. I pressed them separately in the basket press, keeping the UCD 23 and La Tache together and 777 and Old Vine together. Inoculated with CH 16 for malolactic fermentation. 16 months in barrel, 100% French oak, 25% new. The final blend was compiled just before bottling.

Bottled: February 13, 2019
Produced: 68 cases.