The morning light shifts, imperceptible in its drift, until one day it isn't. A breath of breeze carries the tiniest hint of brisk.
And, the trees! They wear the secret; we can't look away. Liquidambars glow golden red at their tips. Sycamores, messy and brown. Our beloved harvest harbingers in both hemispheres -- the poplars -- move to yellow, fluttering, majestic. The time has come.
We are entering our third winemaking season.
Liquidambar photo by Jean-Paul GRANDMONT
Long before I felt the first electric thrill of handling winegrapes on an autumn day, the season held a sacred sense. A hopeful solemnity meets the transition at summer's end, even when one grows up in South Florida, where autumnal markers are scarce (though they do exist). Something about it lives in my bones. I was a September baby. My children were born in the Fall. This work of making wine resonates.
On the cusp for the j.brix 2011 vintage:
- Grenache, for the Uncontainable rosé, and then, a later pick for La Paloma Libresca. We'll visit the vineyard in less than a week's time, and, I think, find ourselves returning for fruit shortly thereafter. Rosé shall soon be in the house!
- Pinot noir, a first for the project, though it's not the first time we've worked with it. In fact, we cut our teeth on the good stuff when we first started volunteering to help with crush in the Central Coast.
- Riesling, for the second consecutive year. Which reminds me, we need to open a bottle of that 2010 Riesling and see if the Goblin's turned into Prince Valiant, yet. Oh, I do hope so.
- Syrah, from a site new to us this year. Details to come!
- (If We Had Our Druthers and/or More Room for Bins & Barrels and More Time to Travel and Also More Money (or, Maybe Next Year)): Old-vine Chenin blanc. Old-vine Carignan-Zin-Mourvedre field blend. Vermentino. Sticky. Bubbles (Riesling or Chenin? Hmmmmm).
So, friends, you see, there'll be plenty to keep the j.brix project busy, and your glasses full, for many, many vintages to come. As always, we thank you for coming along for the ride. Stay tuned for the details ... it's soon to be nothing-o'clock once more. Here's to Harvest 2011!