Harvest 2012 Happenings - Or, It's On

Goodness, from the looks of this blog, we haven't been doing much of anything around JB-HQ. Quite the contrary! In fact, it's been so busy that the only updates we've had time for have been on the Twitter (Emily & Jody) and Facebook feeds. Here's the mid-harvest scoop:

Kicking it Off

We've unveiled this year's formerly top-secret project: Kick On Ranch Vineyard Pinot gris, fermented and aging whole-cluster in a beeswax-lined kvevri (clay vessel), in the original style of the Republic of Georgia, winemaking's birthplace. There's a video of how we lined the kvevri, an album of photos from harvest and crush, and a slideshow of how we sealed it after primary fermentation finished. We'll leave it on the skins through winter, and sometime in spring, we'll press and return it to the kvevri for more aging.

The kvevri, sealed for a leisurely winter's malolactic fermentation. Thanks to H.P. for transporting the Italian, Wonka-esque glass breathable bung.

Next Up: The Pink

After the Pinot gris party, it was time for ... the Uncontainable Vin Gris! Now in its third vintage, our pink Grenache is picked at the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard just for that purpose. It also received a gentle foot-tread, and was pressed directly to neutral barrels, where it's currently fermenting slowly and deliciously.

A little sorting, a little munching #cellarratperks

Another Pinot Party

One week later: Back to Kick On Ranch for Pinot Noir. The morning was chilly and foggy, which was just what the fruit needed. Back at the winery, it turned out to be the hottest day in 20-something years. Hallucinatory hot. Sticky. Just, so hot. How hot? *cringe*

We managed to keep the fruit cool, though, and it's almost finished with a lovely primary fermentation that exhibited remarkable aromas of Santa Rosa plum and sun-dried oil-cured black olives. It'll likely be pressed next weekend.

Grenache, Part Deux

Just yesterday, we brought in more Grenache from Santa Barbara Highlands for red wine. Two weeks riper than the pick for vin gris, the fruit that'll become 2012 La Libresca will see some carbonic whole-cluster fermentation for the first time this year. We're expecting the finished wine to be light in color, as Grenache often is; this is our fourth year working with this fruit, and the lightest shade it's been at this ripeness level. We're out to let the wine tell the story of the growing season, so lightly colored Grenache doesn't bother us a bit. (It shouldn't bother anyone, actually ... but for some reason, increasing/maximizing color in red wine is a thing about which some folks feel exceptionally strongly.)

Grenache Noir. It's so perfect. We love it, just the way it is.

The Waiting

We're more than halfway through! Still to come: Syrah, Riesling, and San Diego County Carignan. So far, Harvest 2012 is bringing fantastic results, and we can't wait to share them with you. Cheers, friends!