With the holidays now fast approaching and the 2015 harvest season finishing up it’s time to update you all on the goings-on here at Lotierzo Family Vineyards.
This year was a reminder to all in the California grape growing and wine making world that it is Mother Nature who always has the last word. After 3 consecutive excellent growing seasons, 2015 turned us all on our heads. No, it wasn't the infamous drought we are in that was the game changer this year, but rather the unusual weather this past spring that resulted in what is known in our business as ‘shatter’ or the French term ‘coulure’. These terms describe a condition wherein heavy rains and/or strong winds, occurring at the time the vines flower and ‘fruitset’ takes place, damage the developing grapes causing withering and fruit failure.
It took a toll on vineyards throughout much of the state and few growers and farmers were spared. It was commonplace to hear them speak of fruit yields down anywhere from 30-75 percent per acre. The resulting crop loss strained many ‘labels’ as winemakers had to search near and far to obtain sufficient grapes to meet commitments.
Fortunately, being a small operation here, we are not under as much stress as the big boys since we simply were able to elect to make less wine this year and the fruit that did survive benefited from the vines having less to ripen and thus the resulting grapes were in many cases very nice indeed.
I was once told that being a good winemaker is not about following the formula but rather being able to identify defects or weaknesses in the fruit and wine and knowing how to compensate and correct them before making, aging and bottling the finished product. This surely proved true this year and many of us were put to the test. We look forward to trying them once bottled in 2017.
Meanwhile in early August we bottled our 2013 Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. We are quite pleased with the resulting wines and are allowing them to bottle age before releasing them now that we are in November.
We are readying our club shipments and hope you will enjoy them with your families, friends and loved ones for the holidays. Of course, they will only improve with more time in bottle so you can also keep them for years to come as well. Should you elect to drink them now, we always suggest decanting and allowing them to ‘breathe’ for awhile before imbibing.
We thank you all for your support and for entrusting us to make the best possible wines we can for you to enjoy. It is our hope and expectation that year over year we will continue to hone our skills and make better and better wines that will find their way into your homes much to your enjoyment.