As luck would have it the 2012 harvest season coincided with my first release. As most folks in the wine industry will tell you, things love to pile up all on the same week or weekend. Just to make things interesting!
The 2012 Merlot was all hand-picked and came into the winery on September 23rd, a whole month earlier than both 2010 and 2011. After one day yeast was added to get the fermentation going. Nine days later, after hand punchdowns in the morning and evening, the Merlot was pressed off and barreled down to begin the aging process. The three tons of fruit that came into the winery yield six full barrels of free-run juice, meaning no pressing was necessary. After all of the free run juice was extracted a very light pressing cycle was then used to extract what was left of the best quality juice from the skins to fill two more barrels.
Like the two vintages before it, the 2012 Merlot has been moved into once and twice used French oak barrels so that it does not get too much impact from oak during the aging process. There it will stay for just under two years.
At this point it is looking like it is going to be a stellar vintage, it sure didn’t hurt to have a perfect growing season!
Cellar Update – Vintage Two:
The 2011 Merlot has now been in barrel for almost a full year and is continuing to come together as the aging process moves along. It will be in barrel for another 8-12 months before it is ready for bottling. Thus far it is picking up right where the inaugural release left off in flavor and structure.
Overall I am extremely excited for the 2011 as it is starting to take shape more and more as time goes on. As I finish up my harvest operations I will be looking to start making the final tweaks to the 2011 Merlot for the home stretch of the aging process.