As we prepare for the 2009 harvest, a flashback to 2006…
Each year, as harvest approaches, we winemakers find ourselves looking for comparisons with previous growing seasons. No two are ever exactly alike- that’s part of the compelling nature of winemaking (and wine drinking!), but over the past 30 years I’ve come to expect to find some resonance or a pattern of behavior, or lessons learned from a particularly treacherous season. So, as the unfinished story of the 2009 at Meteor unfolds and we wait for the nextl installment, I look back at the finished story of the soon to be released 2006 vintage.
2006 was cool and wet through April; May was variable with cool temperatures in the second half of the month delaying the finish of bloom and setting up a situation for variable ripeness. Several heat spikes in June and one protracted heat wave in July took their toll on the vines and left us thinking about a premature harvest, but August and September returned to below average temperatures and a protracted waiting began. A little rain in October, followed by a final, blessed week with temperatures over 80, brought us to a successful harvest on Oct 28. Not a year for the faint of heart! At every twist and turn, we anticipated alternate outcomes… then the unexpected happened! I really can’t find the vintage to compare to 2006, but am glad to have lived and learned from it. Already, the press has written about the vintage… and I would agree with challenging and maybe even variable, but challenging vintages in the hands of skilled viticulturists and winemakers can be astonishing successes ( my favorite quote of the year- “2006 was not a year when the wines made themselves!”). Mike kept the vineyard going thru the heat and made repeated passes thru the vineyard during the growing season. His diligence in the vineyard reduced the challenges in the winery, but there again, sorting was the name of the game and the grapes that made it to the fermenter were in pristine condition. Blending is the second half of the story.
2006 was a year where intimate knowledge of the vineyard (and Mike, who planted the vineyard knows it better than anyone), access to a sorting table and selective blending all paid off and we are really excited that with our second release, we are offering even more intensity of character and depth of flavor than the acclaimed 2005 vintage. 2007 and 2008 confirm that this level of quality is indeed sustainable from Meteor Vineyard… and 2009? So far so good!