Monday, September 21, 2009

Petit Verdot Harvested

What a beautiful morning in Napa Valley!! Bright and sunny, with a slight breeze and cool was a fantastic way to begin VELLUM's 2009 Vintage.

It's hard to believe that we are working on our third vintage of VELLUM.

This year has gone by faster than ever - and our inaugural 2007 VELLUM is making its way into wine glasses of oenophiles all over the planet.

It's probably evident, but Karl and I find deep satisfaction in making wine and sharing it with all of you. We are excited to see a new vintage of fruit start its transformation from sweet juice into succulent wine.

Over the course of the next month, we will harvest grapes from 4 vineyards. Each of these vineyards contribute fruit/wine to our VELLUM blend. Our Bordeaux style is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, with small amounts of Merlot and Petit Verdot blended for added complexity, depth and aroma.

Today we hand-harvested our small lot of Petit Verdot. Petit Verdot is a darkly pigmented grape variety that imparts distinct characters of blueberry and spice to VELLUM. The vineyard - located on the eastern hillsides of Napa - yielded over 8000 pounds of fruit, a small amount more than last vintage, and we hand sorted the grapes 4 times before they reached the de-stemmer and stainless steel fermentation tank.

Notice I didn't mention crushing? VELLUM grapes are never crushed - they enter the tank as whole berries, one of our signature methods for ensuring gentle extraction of tannin during fermentation.

The juice tastes super-sweet with great acidity...and I can't wait to see how this develops after the addition of yeast. But first we will let it sit in tank, cold soaking for 48 hours.

Our next harvest day will probably be next week - as the Merlot and Cabernet blocks are quickly approaching full development.

Stay tuned as we dive in to HARVEST 2009 !!

- Jeff Mathy

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Harvest on Monday!!

VELLUM's Petit Verdot is ready for harvest - and we couldn't be happier with the start of our 2009 vintage. The fruit is looking and tasting wonderful...

The high sugars and woody seeds signal full development. But more importantly, the malic and tartaric acids in our Petit Verdot are perfect for maintaining a balanced wine during fermentation.

We expect to harvest about 3 tons from this vineyard, located on the southeast side of Napa County. The vineyard is on an east-facing hillside at about 400 feet in elevation. It gets great sunshine during the morning and midday, but cools down a bit in the afternoon. And the views from the property are spectacular!

Monday morning will mark the beginning of VELLUM's third vintage. Wow - how time flies!

And as if harvest isn't keeping us busy enough, we will be showcasing the 2007 VELLUM Cabernet Sauvignon at a handful of events this month. On September 26th we will be pouring wine at Fullerton, California's "Fullerton Uncorked" event. That evening we will also serve the 2007 VELLUM as sponsor of the Sixth Annual Cal State Fullerton Alumni Association Wine Tasting.

Why so many Fullerton events? Well, that's where I got my start in Agriculture - as a member of the Fullerton High School Chapter of Future Farmers of America.

With so many family and friends in Fullerton, VELLUM is proud to be a part of the community.

We hope to see you at the events on the 26th!!


- Jeff Mathy

The 2007 VELLUM is available for purchase here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Harvest is coming...

Hello VELLUM lovers,

The 2009 harvest season is well under way for most of Napa Valley. But our fruit is still a week or two away from being ready for picking.

It looks like the Petit Verdot will be the first vineyard we harvest. The brix levels (sugar content) has been rising steadily and is now approaching 23 degrees brix. We try to keep all of our fruit at about 23 brix in order to maintain a lower alcohol.

VELLUM's balance is dependent on keeping alcohol levels in moderation. For instance, the 2008 VELLUM will likely be 13.85% alcohol at bottling.

Low brix at harvest is ideal, but we also pick based on acidity, tannins and seed development.

The rains on Sunday helped to push back our harvest dates. Wet days in the vineyard mean lower brix levels and longer hang time. We are very happy!

Over the next few weeks we will spend countless hours in the vineyards, sampling berries (pictured above) and maintaining the fruit as it enters its final stages of development.

Stay tuned...

- Jeff Mathy

Buy VELLUM here