Weather’s boring and easy for winemakers in the U.S., foreigners and other critics say. Sunny and ripe all the time, the argument goes.
Not in the central mountains and far down the coast last year. The AP added it together, killer snow in the Sierra Nevada (May 15! ) and a hard freeze in Paso Robles, then cold and rain all through what should have been a warm and dry May.
“This weather is causing all kinds of problems, but it’s not the first time and not the last,” Santa Barbara County Vintner’s Association Executive Director Jim Fiolek said. “Other products have a more ephemeral lifetime, but ours goes on and on and tells the story of the weather pattern.”
Tablas Creek reported a warm March followed by two all-night freezes in April, very bad news for Jason Haas whose dad founded the place as an American Beaucastel. Last year Haas already lost all grenache, grenache blanc, viognier and marsanne. What plants survived are behind schedule and pushing the prospect of harvests in late October and early November.
Mike Waller at Calera thinks he may pick pinot noir in November. Fiolek took it all in stride, “That’s what makes this business so damned interesting.” Sure there are problems “but it’s not the first time and not the last.”
Not a cheap answer, but I’ll lift a glass of 2011 to that with you, Jim. In the meantime, B-21 has a good stock of that 94-point Esprit de Beaucastel from 2008, grand for both red and white.