Thus far the harvest has given me an excellent crop of Tempranillo and Syrah. The favorable growing season that Joan describes was very kind to the fruit, and I predict 2012 will rival 2009 as an Arizona Classic vintage year. This will be my biggest batch yet of Tempranillo. That wine is currently settling in a big stainless steel tank, and within the next two to three weeks will be put into oak barrels for aging and maturing. Although a smaller crop, the same can be said of the Syrah.
I am most excited about the 2012 Scavenger's blend which looks like it'll be one barrel of a unique mixture. This year we had a small crop of Sangiovese and Malvasia. Those grapes have joined the Zinfandel, Riesling and Grenache. No doubt some of the Syrah and Tempranillo will join the blend. It's hard to describe the complex aromas wafting out of that tank. I can't wait to see where this wine will end up.
Summer in the Winery means it is time to think about making room for harvest. It takes a couple months to move wine from the barrel into the bottle, so with harvest usually hitting in September, that means July is time to get moving.
In the next few months I'll be assembling the 2009 Sangiovese from Willcox (Sweet Sunrise Vineyard), the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2009 Syrah from Sonoita (Rancho Rossa Vineyard), and finally working with the 2009 Monsoon Tempranillo and 2009 Monsoon Red Wine field blend from our own Canelo Hills Vineyard. I'm very pleased with my barrel samples of these wines and am looking forward to tasting their evolution after bottling.
I've been getting the white wines ready for our Memorial Day Release Weekend, and in order to do that I have to first put some red wines in bottles to empty out some storage and mixing tanks. So I've recently bottled the 2009 Nebbiolo and 2009 Estate Syrah.
I've been looking forward to the release of these wines for a long time. In terms of the weather and growing season, 2009 was a near perfect year for red grapes in Southeastern Arizona. The fruit was not injured by any summer "weather events", it was warm and dry at the end of the season, and we could time the harvest around the fruit instead of a threatening hurricane from Mexico.