Vintage 2023 kept us on our toes but rewarded our care and concern with stylish, racy, complex wines. It was another year for our growers’ expertise to shine through and an ongoing reminder of the value of trust and partnership in winegrowing.
This year mother nature made it clear she was in charge and would part with her fruit only when she was good and ready!
The late start to vintage 2023 had all of us in Sonoma County champing at the bit to bring in our fruit. A very wet winter, followed by a wet spring, a late bud-break, protracted bloom, and unseasonably cool summer set the stage for slow, delayed ripening and more than a few sleepless nights wondering when this vintage would start rolling in!
We finally began picking on September 11 in Dry Creek Valley with Syrah for Angels & Cowboys. The fruit flavor and complexity proved to be worth the wait! Fruit trickled in from the warmer areas of Sonoma before our Mendocino County fruit pulled ahead with regard to maturity and by the end of September our Mendocino fruit was harvested and fermenting away. We then turned our attention back to the cooler regions of Sonoma County (Russian River Valley, Carneros, and Sonoma Valley).
The generally cool temperatures (with just one short heat spike) rewarded with deep, penetrating color development in the grape skins and easy extraction of the color into our fermentations. Lower Brix (sugar) levels also rewarded with lower alcohol levels and a beautiful balance among, volume, tannin, and alcohol. We crushed our last fruit, delicious Russian River Valley Zinfandel for A&C Red on October 21st and finished draining and pressing on Nov 1, our latest vintage in seven years.
As we transition from fermentation management to cellaring, blending, and aging this new vintage we are giddy at the depth of flavor and enticing bouquets of the 2023 wines. Young white and rosé lots are lively on the palate with bright acidity, alluring minerality, and lifted fruit and floral aromas. The newly-drained red wines are focused and luscious, leading with soft tannins, elegant structure, medium to full body, and a delightful interplay of earth and fruit flavors. The balanced acidity of this vintage will ensure vintage 2023 ages well and structure will remain even after the completion of malolactic fermentation.