It would not be fair to say that our 2012 wines are better than expected, because we knew they were especially good from the moment the fruit arrived at the winery. Kelley Fox and I tasted through every lot in the cellar yesterday to get our first serious look at how the wines have evolved post-malolactic fermentation, and they are as excellent as expected, if not a notch even more exciting, if that’s possible. To say that we are jubilant would be an understatement!
From day one we’ve thought that the 2012s will be among the best Oregon has ever produced, possibly the best yet. It should certainly rank up there with 2008 and 2002 as the best vintages we’ve ever experienced. The wines are beautifully balanced, with alcohol levels in the mid-13s, rich mid-palate fruit that is just flat-out delicious, and they have the concentration and structure to age nicely for 10+ years yet they should drink beautifully on release. It just doesn’t get much better than that!
Each block of each of our vineyards performed very well in the tastings yesterday, with the standouts for me being Block 12 from Maresh and our new estate site Azana Vineyard, which shows a distinct mineral streak that absolutely thrilled me.
My best guess at this point is that we’ll arrive at four different cuvées for the 2012s – there will certainly be an Audrey, a La Paulée, and probably a single-vineyard bottling from Azana and another from Nysa. We’ll make the final decisions and blends in about three weeks, just before I leave for my next trip to Burgundy. We’ll bottle these lovelies in August, and may release the first of them in the spring of 2014, a year or so from now. So now that I’ve got you all excited about them, please forget about them for a year or so. Thank-you!
Meanwhile, the 2013 season is off to a nice start here in Oregon, with this dry and warmer than usual spring pushing nice early growth in the vineyards, and everything is looking healthy and strong at this point. We could frankly use some rain over the next few weeks – our January through April this year has been the driest in a long time, and it appears we have a warm and dry summer headed our way. Flowering should be happening around June 15th-20th this year, putting us on schedule for a “normal” season, which would mean harvest around September 25th or thereabouts (all subject to change a few dozen times over the course of the season, bien sûr!). In Burgundy and Champagne, they’re having a very wet and cool spring, and things are running later than usual, at least 2-3 weeks behind at this point…
More here as it happens. And don’t forget to join us this weekend - bring a friend Friday night to Scott Paul PDX for 2-for-1 tasting flights and a great introduction to the world of Scott Paul, and then Saturday here in Carlton it’s our annual pre-Memorial Day weekend Champagne extravaganza – yum!