After about five hours of moving barrels, hoses and other winery-related equipment around on Sunday there are a couple of us who are a little sore. Probably meaning it is time to hit the gym but that is neither here nor there. Anyway, we racked the 2012 vintage to remove the heavy lees from the barrels and we topped up all the 2011 barrels to make sure there wasn’t too much oxygen getting too close to the wine (oh so exciting!). Here is your quick recap and cellar update on the 2011 and 2012 vintages:
Vintage Two – 2011 Merlot:
Things are heading into the home stretch with the 2011 vintage. 2011 was a very cool year, but it was also very consistent. The wine has an awesome structure that is melding ever-so-nicely with the fruit and barrel characteristics. In fact, after 14 months all of the components are really coming together. The once and twice used French oak barrels have given the wine subtle vanilla and spice flavors while staying true to the classic red fruit flavors that Merlot brings to the table. Over the weekend these barrels were quickly topped up and put back to rest to await the final blending and eventually… drum roll please… bottling!
Vintage Three – 2012 Merlot:
Here is where the fun began on Sunday. At this point the 2012 Merlot had been in barrel for almost four months and it was time for the first racking to remove the heavy sediment that built up through the fermentation and pressing process. There is a great richness to this wine, but it isn’t what I would call juicy or jammy, it is just solid right out of the gate. It will be exciting to see how it will evolve of the next year and a half or so.
It is a little different than the prior vintages, primarily the color. There was some great extraction from the skins this year so it is a little darker than the first two vintages. The 2012 lots also came into the winery a whole month early when compared to the 2011 AND 2010 vintages. All the thanks goes to what we would call the a “normal,” hot summer that we had.
As you might have figured out, the 2012 harvest officially marks the third vintage of MTGA Wines. Which probably means that 2013 will probably bring something new and different to the MTGA lineup, in addition to the Merlot… maybe.
Until next time!