With ferments just settling down, wines going into barrel, and the winery finally back in order from the chaos of harvest, we have been reflecting on what made this harvest- and the upcoming releases- different.
Compared to 2022, harvest started much earlier this year and has moved quickly, with all of our fruit arriving in the cellar by the second week of October. It was a breath of fresh air (literally, less fires!) to have a more “typical” Washington state growing season after the more extreme conditions the last few years. The weather wasn’t too hot or cold, and there wasn’t copious amounts of rain either. The crop is significantly smaller this year than in 2022 with high concentration, intense flavors, and even ripening. By the time that the last of the grapes were picked, we had already bottled several pet-nats, including some new experiments and some secret projects. It is shaping up to be an amazing vintage, with many exciting new projects, partnerships, and collaborations underway.
As always we are extremely grateful for our harvest crew who braved a whirlwind harvest, all with a stellar sense of humor and amazing work ethic.
If we had to assign a word to this vintage, it would be healthy. The impacts of growing and sourcing organic grapes continues to amaze us in the cellar. Every bin of grapes we brought in, whether from our estate vineyard, or from our partner growers across Washington state, were exceptionally robust and healthy. A greater marker for this health is YAN (yeast assimilable nitrogen) - a measure of how much nitrogen is available for yeast to consume during fermentation, essentially indicating how strong the fermentation will be. Nitrogen is a critical grape which affects the rate and completion of fermentation, fermentation bouquet and style of wine. Despite sounding less than exciting, our YAN was incredible this year, with all our fruit coming in at the ideal YAN levels. Our ferments were fast and powerful, with absolutely no supplements of any kind needed.
One of the main pillars in our approach to natural winemaking is a commitment to natural ferments, no matter the environmental circumstances. Each year we have enjoyed the terroir reflected in the subtle flavors released from the natural fermentations, however this year, we cannot wait to taste the hardiness of such healthy vineyards reflected in the wines.
The runner up for the harvest theme this year is patience. While the pét-nats we make are fruit forward, light, and easy drinking, we have typically not aged them for extended periods of time. The past couple of harvest we have been holding a few pét-nats back to experiment with the impact of time and extended aging.
Several wines, harvested in 2020, 2021, and 2022, have benefited from time in bottle, and are tasting better than ever. Joining the 2022 vintage releases next year, will be the reserve pét-nats that we have been holding on to. While they are delicious, it has definitely been an exercise in patience for us over in the cellar. We have been anticipating sharing these wines for what feels like years, and we are so excited to finally open these bottles with you.