Cold and windy weather when the grapevines are in flower can have a variety of consequences for grape clusters. The most widespread effect we saw in 2015 was a reduction in berry size within each cluster. Not only were most berries for each variety smaller than in prior vintages, but the clusters typically were a mixture of small two-seeded berries with many even smaller, one-seeded berries. Rosé wines are produced from destemming red grapes and letting the clear juice macerate with the red skins to pick up color and body. Experience has taught us how much time each vineyard lot needs to spend macerating. However, berry size affects the ratio of juice to skins so we had to decrease our skin-contact time in 2015 to compensate for the tiny grapes.
Ulises Garcia bottling
Mendocino Rosé. The machine in the foreground cleans the bottles before they are filled with wine.
Harvest intern Mehgan Holt at the grape destemmer. All the grapes for this bottling were destemmed and the juice was allowed to macerate with the skins to pick up some color and body.
In January 2016, after the wines had clarified, we tasted the various wines and we were dazzled with the Pallini Grenache which is 86% of this bottling. Not only did the wine exhibit its typical strawberry-like flavors, but in 2015, there is also a panoply of seductive tropical-fruit flavors. The Tollini Carignane, 14% of the cuvée, adds suggestions of spring herbs and a firm backbone. Because of reduced 2015 crop and reduced juice yield we bottled less Mendocino Rosé than in prior years! A perfect complement for bouillabaisse with a dollop of rouille.