Mother Nature has finally given us a little break, giving us the opportunity to take a deep breath and focus on other lesser thoughts about aspects of harvest. One of those is filling French oak barrels with our new Pinot Noirs that will soon go through malolactic fermentation. This traditional technique converts the grapes natural malic acid (think granny smith apples) to the softer lactic acid, adding richness and complexity to the wine. This will also allow us to create tank space for the continuous truckload of grapes arriving daily.

So far, we have received over 2,150 tons of Estate grapes with more to come. The focus of our week has been on Santa Lucia Chardonnay, mostly coming from Lone Oak Vineyard. Walking through a block the other day, I was engulfed in beautiful fruit aromatics. It was as if the fruit was telling me that it was ready to go with me to the winery. It was an experience that made me reminisce about the first harvest I had here. In our estate vineyards, we find that the fruit likes to give us indications or notions that the time is right. Only here do I find that.

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Moving a little south, the block right next to the winery and above the tasting room, we are handpicking Chardonnay from Block FS2, the same block we used for our Chardonnay sparkling program. All of this juice will be fermented in French oak barrels to create the complexity, mouthfeel and structure we want from our SLH Estate Chardonnay.

With excitement, I can share that we harvested our last block SLH Pinot Noir coming from Block ES2 and can admit Paul was right when he talked about this block in the last blog. This Pinot Noir from just above the winery will provide around 6 tons of grapes. We will ferment this Pinot Noir in two 3 ton fermenters for about three weeks before moving them into barrels.

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In the upcoming weeks, we will welcome our Arroyo Seco Chardonnay as well our Estate Grenache and Malbec. These fruits will find themselves put into Estate-only wine as well as our Hahn wines. I know I am speaking early for them, but this year should prove to be a great production!

While the cellar crew finds itself busy with grapes, fermentation and barrels, our bottling team is very busy putting our 2016 Hahn Pinot Noir into bottles. It is that seamless transition from barrel to bottle that keeps our harvest on track and prevents us from running out of places to put one of our largest harvests on record. Though we are working long days, there is nowhere else I would rather be.

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Until the next,

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Juan Jose Verdina