It's oh.. so... quiet, shh shh.... just about all of the wines are tucked into their barrels for aging. We brought in 12.6 tons of fruit this year! The 2016 quality was excellent and the quantity was plentiful. I'm in love with this vintage!
2016 started early with Catie's Corner Viognier from Russian River Valley on August 19. Starting the first pick in mid-August, I got flashbacks to the fast and furious harvest of last year, but the weather cooled down and slowed the ripening of the grapes over these last two months. Fenaughty Grenache was the first red grape in on September 8, which was only five days later than last year. Next, Goldbud Mourvedre came on September 16. This is a new varietal for Tessier, but one I’ve wanted to experiment with for some time. The flavor profile of spice and umami are intriguing along with its moody dark color and tannins. These two Rhone varietals were lady-foot stomped, as the Grenache has been every year since I first starting sourcing the fruit in 2011. This year we had the help of three young woman interns that were very eager about getting a chance to do this task. Thanks, Corinne, Hannah, and Lauren!
September 21 and 22 brought in Alegria Cabernet Franc and Saveria Pinot Noir. The crop size was definitely bigger than 2015 but the same issues lingered like difficulties with fruit set which caused some shot berries (small, unripe, green berries) and small cluster sizes. The flavors and intensity are super fantastic! Our final pick was on September 29 with Gamay Noir. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get this fruit, but our trusty grower Ron Mansfield came through. This wine recently became my inspiration and then obsession after trying a Loire Valley bottling that blended in a little bit of Pinot Noir. It was a cross between a Pinot Noir and Grenache, and I felt like I needed this in the lineup. The fruit looked beautiful, so we went all-in and did 100% whole cluster along with more lady-foot stomps.
I know a lot of you are very excited about the upcoming Viognier, since our 2014 vintage sold out in a flash! While fermenting, it smelled of apricots and honeysuckle flowers—so lovely! The estimated release date is late February/early March 2017. Good things are coming out of this harvest, so stay tuned.
Enjoy some photos from harvest.