As the calendar tips to September, we’re seeing Pinot Noir grapes spot-picked in certain pockets, mostly in the cooler Los Carneros area of Napa Valley. The white wine grape harvest is almost finished. Recent hot days and cools nights have created ideal conditions for the slow ripening that winemakers seek for even development of tannins and other phenolics, while also allowing grapes to retain fresh and flavorful acids. The refrain for this year’s harvest? Early, inspiring fruit quality and significantly lower yields than the last three above average years. Merlot, Malbec and a little bit Cabernet Sauvignon are coming in, too! It’s that crazy harvest time of year.
While we check grape cluster samples for sugar and acid levels, I find the flavor in the field, walking the vineyards tasting, touching the grapes to sense the softness of their skins in deciding when to bring our Pinot Noir grapes in. I’m looking for a transition in flavor from young and vegetative to a ripe and mature set of flavors, with a blend of certain blocks expressing red tone fruit flavors such as Bing and black cherries to others exhibiting darker fruit flavors including Satsuma plums and blackberries. This very early harvest is allowing us to pick fruit at perfect ripeness and I am particularly excited about the natural acidic characteristics of this year’s Pinot Noir harvest.”
Matthew Glynn, winemaker for Acacia Vineyard