Anderson Valley's fall weather was just too dry and sunny for a couple of years and to the dismay of Navarro dessert lovers we were unable to produce much late harvest wine. On October 13, 2004 the vineyard crew made an initial pass through the main field of Riesling selecting out clusters shriveled with the noble rot. The next day we discovered that mounds of leaves had blown off during the night in the lower rows and birds were beating us to the booty. We decided to pick un-rotted clusters for dry wine. The warmer upper portion of the vineyard still had good canopy so we crossed our fingers and let it hang. On October 25 we revisited. Skilled pickers again painstakingly selected only those clusters that had shriveled in the ensuing twelve days. A major storm was predicted for November 1 so right before it hit the weary crew made a third and final pass harvesting the fruit that was infected with botrytis but hadn't had time to shrivel. Each picking was fermented as a separate lot.
In 2004 Sarah is sniffing some preliminary botrytis in the clusters. A sensitive nose is the best way to insure that no vinegar rot is mixed in with the noble rot.
Jim lets it all hang out when he samples a voluptuous dessert wine.
Although it is counter-intuitive, the Late Harvest was picked after the Cluster Select Late Harvest. The juice from the final picking yielded 27% sugar. The berries were packed with honey-dried apricot-pineapple flavors from the botrytis but there was little shrivel. The Cluster Select grapes measured a whopping 38 degrees Brix from the October selections; it is concentrated and ambrosial with a tart, sassy finish. Get the pumpkin pie ready. Double Gold medal winner.
Simon surveys the oldest Riesling vineyard in Anderson Valley which is about 5 acres. We harvested 9.3 tons of rotted fruit and 4.3 tons of un-rotted fruit from the entire field, averaging only 2.69 tons per acre.