Alas, we have finished harvesting estate Pinot Noir! Closing one door means we open a new door (and tank space) as we harvest our Chardonnay from Ste. Nicolas vineyard, located just a few miles south of Hahn in the Arroyo Seco AVA. Traditionally, these grapes are showcased in our Hahn Chardonnay; a wine with bold structure, fruit and oak.
While our 50-ton press continues to cycle daily, squeezing out a sweet, amber-hued, chardonnay juice, the cellar is also receiving Syrah and Grenache. The Syrah coming in the hopper is a rich and glimmering purple that will only deepen in color as it ferments and extracts color from the skins. The Grenache, which is much lighter but holds bigger berries, will be used as the base in our GSM blend.
As it is officially Fall, we are moving into cooler evening temperatures and milder days with some heat. This will give an even ripening to the hearty Cabernets that live in the southern region of Paso Robles. While it can be a bit scary when temperatures drop below 35 degrees and frost can settle on the grapes, we have yet to see that. A Fall frost can defoliate vines before harvest, leaving fruit that won’t fully mature or ripen to its potential.
I’ve spent several afternoons walking the vineyards of these luscious Cabernet grapes and I’m finding clusters that are medium-sized and plump. I see leaves that are softening in color from bright green to a pumpkin tinge, an indication that berries need to be picked. We are scheduled to pick most of the Cabernet by the end of next week and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Mr. or Mrs. Frost doesn’t make a visit before then.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, I can see it! I can also see pumpkins, ghosts, ghouls and goblins soon as well.