Monday, September 29, 2008

Vellum Cabernet grapes looking great!

Yesterday Karl and I met with Jerry and Marsha Linstad, owners and viticulturists of Linstad Vineyards. It had only been a few days since our last visit, but we walked the vines and took another sample to check for sugar, pH, and total acidity.

The grapes look stunning - lots of good development in the skins and seeds. The clusters are evenly ripening and the flavor of the juice is incredibly delicious and sweet.

This vineyard is located in a very slow-ripening part of Napa Valley. In many ways, the micro-climate is similar to vineyards in Bordeaux France. The fog layer typically lingers in this part of the valley, providing cooler temperatures and in our case, long maturation periods. All of this is VERY good for cultivating Cabernet Sauvignon of the highest quality.

The sugars are starting to creep up to the brix (sugar) level we desire, around 24.5 degrees brix. But with a cold front coming later this week, the three of us felt that the vines would gain even more development and concentration if we let the grapes hang a while longer.

Thanks again to Jerry and his family for their work this harvest. We are really looking forward to starting the crush.

But first we have the Petit Verdot coming in tomorrow morning. Wish us luck - and check back for tomorrow's blog with photos from the festivities.


Jeff Mathy

Sunday, September 28, 2008

HARVEST 2008!!

Hello All -

Greetings from Napa Valley! It has been nearly six months since our last blog entry - and we have been hard at work - to make the 2008 harvest our best vintage yet.

Vellum will harvest our small production of Petit Verdot on Tuesday morning, the first of four vineyards used in Vellum Cabernet Sauvignon.

Known as the Gobbler Grove Vineyard, this hillside property sits high above the valley floor on the east side of Napa. The vineyard's micro-climate is perfectly suited for producing world-class Petit Verdot.

Vellum uses a small amount of Petit Verdot in our Cabernet to add just a hint of blueberry and spice to the aroma of our wine. Petit Verdot is also a very dense wine with extremely dark coloring. The 2007 vintage produced a Petit Verdot that was opaque, almost black in color, with aromas of blueberry pie and baking spices. It adds a beautiful "fullness" to Vellum, blending seamlessly with wine from our other vineyards.

In addition to the Petit Verdot, on Wednesday we will harvest one of our Cabernet vineyards in northeast Napa. Located at the base of an alluvial fan (a small hillside), this Cabernet vineyard is older and more mature than any of our other vines. It produces fruit with rich dark berry flavors, edged by hints of espresso and smoke. The 2007 vintage is deep purple, inky and full-bodied. With such good development of the skins and seeds, we are able to harvest these grapes at a moderate sugar level which aids in the wine's alcohol balance after vinification and barrel aging.

These two vineyards are looking perfect. Karl and I could not be happier with the quality of the fruit and the uniformity of development. What a great way to start harvest!

More to come as the 2008 season begins...

Jeff Mathy