Wine Club Newsletter - November 2020
2020 Vintage for California & Oregon: Smoke Taint?
(Plus Thanksgiving Take-Out)
I think many of you are wondering how it’s going out there with Harvest 2020. Clutching a glass of wine while anxiously Googling vineyards you love next to a fire map. Closely following winemakers and brands on social media, trying to understand where they are in their process, and what will be the sum of their experience this year.
How much smoke taint? How little? Did they win the lottery and get away clean? What are they harvesting? What small growers are getting hung out to dry?
For us, we had the surreal realization that checking in on our peeps potentially affected by the wildfires meant talking to literally every single California and Oregon producer in our book. Come on 2020, just leave it already.
So first, I would like to acknowledge the winemakers, growers and their crews who are all currently earning their paychecks like the San Francisco Giants circa 2010. They are scrambling, balancing, learning, and probably remembering how to pray.
Next some wise words from our people across the state:
The quick and dirty on the 2020 vintage is …. It is too early to tell. Seriously! Smoke taint and its chemical analysis and sensory analysis are a 2-4 week process. Currently the labs are overwhelmed with samples and micro or regular ferments are a good way to analyze your wine, but even then you can get a false positive as guaiacol is a volatile aroma and builds (like volatile acidity) over time; so it can actually rear it’s head 3-4 or more years from now in bottle!...This year, we are all in this together and are all working to try to understand best practices to mitigate off aromas in our wines….
- Dan Petroski, Winemaker, Larkmead Vineyards and Owner/Winemaker at Massican Wines
I can say we've just seen a series of unprecedented challenges and given the fact that the vintage is meant to reflect the climate from which it emerges, this one is right on target: crazy and challenging. But maybe when it settles into wine it will bring peace, perspective, and joy…
- John Alban, Alban Vineyard
This will be a vintage that tests relationships, not to mention, between losses to COVID restrictions and reduced inventory, the integrity of ones business. With a few good breaks, we should be in reasonable shape, but I'm very aware there's a long way between now and barrels put to bed.
- Ian Brand, I Brand/La Marea/Le P’tit Paysan
Working outside has been super fun. - Mike Hendry, Hendry Ranch
In summation, we don’t know yet.
What we do know:
First, many white wines and potentially roses are coming in squeaky clean.
Second, production and yields were already going down in general (due to both the environmental and economic climate of this year), so it will certainly be a low volume vintage. Likely super duper low, to be technical about it.
Third, and probably most important; NOW is the time to SUPPORT DOMESTIC WINE! Let’s all make a push and help these guys out, please. Please please. I want their daily sales reports to reach out through the sweat and ash of this difficult time, and lift their spirits, just a bit. While they are still out there, trying to (literally?) make it rain.
Yes, that’s right!
It’s a different year, to be sure. While we may be uncertain as to exactly how we will be entertaining one of our favorite holidays this year, The WineSellar & Brasserie can lend a hand.
If you are keeping your company to yourselves, a 10-13 pound turkey can be a lot for two people. Lori and I have done it, and made turkey stock, turkey sandwiches, turkey omelets, turkey soup, and eventually turkey projectiles.
For you, and no matter what the size of your holiday party is going to be, you can make your life much easier and perhaps even tastier if you let us prepare your holiday fixings. Yes, that’s right!
We will have available for you, already cooked, and in an easy-to-prepare/plate format. Choose from:
Pumpkin Pie (Slices or whole)
Pecan Pie (Slices or whole)
Be on the lookout for further information coming you way via our email notifications.
Best wishes to you!