Meteor Vineyard

Meteor Blog

Barry Schuler
 
October 8, 2009 | Barry Schuler

When the Grapes Leave the Vineyard

Yesterday the last of our Cabernet was picked. A long leisurely harvest season this year punctuated with a short monsoon this week. No harm as little of the fruit was left and they rode out the storm perfectly. Last night we were presented with this picturesque sunset highlighting the launch of the vines transition to Autumn.

I’ve grown used to the bittersweet feeling of staring at the post-harvest vineyard freshly bare of fruit. It’s like sending your child off to kindergarten. One era ends and a new one begins brimming with potential. And so, with all of the Meteor Vineyard fruit safely picked and crushed, the 2009 Vintage journey begins.

Time Posted: Oct 8, 2009 at 9:11 AM
Dawnine Dyer
 
October 6, 2009 | Dawnine Dyer

2009 Harvest Summary

2009 Harvest Summary

The 2009 harvest ended on Saturday October 17 as we scurried to bring in the last block of Cab before rain hit again on Monday.  What had been a near perfect growing season turned ugly when over 3 inches of rain fell in one day- not in itself a bad thing, but what followed was several days with humidity over 70%- perfect conditions for botrytis and mold.
At Meteor we had 3/4 of the fruit in before this weather event and made the decision to leave the last block, clone 4 in the vineyard for that last little ripening that turns beast to beauty.  Clone 4 always benefits from a little extra “hang time” to smooth it’s rather aggressive tannins and under normal circumstances, a little rain is a non issue.
The balance of the vineyard was picked on Oct 10, a full week earlier,  when rain threatened to bring our leisurely late summer to an abrupt close.  We started to see complete evolution of flavor and ripe tannin around Oct 5th, but with gently temperatures and little sugar accumulation felt no sense of urgency and squeezed every last bit of flavor from the season.  And with rain predicted for the 12th, we pulled the trigger on the clone 7 and 337.  Picked at night, the cool fruit was delivered to the waiting destemmer in pristine conditions.

Our partially tamed beast (clone 4) weathered the storm well, but we chose not to tempt fate by leaving it thru a 2nd storm and brought it in.  All the blocks are fermenting separately and bring unique elements to the blending… this year we have a tremendous palate to work with.

The final Meteor harvest news is the addition of just under a ton of Petit Verdot.  0.5 acres was eked out of the property and planted in 2004*.  Until now the young vineyard has been, well, a young vineyard with all it’s unruly characteristics.  This year the Meteor team made the decision to bring it into our fold and it looks beautiful.  At this time we’re not sure exactly how we’re going to use it, but in thinking about our 2 wines, it’s potential to be the perfect spice is compelling.
Overall season characteristics at Meteor
1. even bloom
2.  long, slow season
3. high pHs (universal in Napa this year)
4. majority picked before the major weather event

Time Posted: Oct 6, 2009 at 9:02 AM
Jason Alexander
 
October 3, 2009 | Jason Alexander

2008 Harvest – Reflections on the Year of Fire and Ice

Harvest always forces winemakers (and wine lovers) into a game of comparisons.  The singular character of a vintage is dependent on an incalculable array of variables;  from sunlight hours to rainfall, from the gradations of temperature to the frequency and intensity of wind, from the decisions to green harvest to the agonizing judgment of sending in the crew to pull the fruit from the vine.
The 2009 vintage was incredibly even until the freakish storm that swept in mid-October. But that was nothing compared to the disparate conditions of 2008.  Barry refers to it as the year of Fire and Ice.

Time Posted: Oct 3, 2009 at 9:00 AM
Jason Alexander
 
September 29, 2009 | Jason Alexander

A Walk in the Vineyard

While harvest is already in swing around Napa Valley for Pinot and white grapes.  We are weeks away, particularly in our temperate hilltop at Meteor Vineyard.  But time to check in and get a baseline on the physical maturity, brix and a little taste of the berries.

Clusters are plentiful but looking a bit light on berries.
For those not familiar with premium Cabernet Sauvignon fruit, we grow the grape, or berries in viticulture “speak” to be small and highly concentrated in flavor.

We pay particular attention to the seeds and the “jacket” of fruit around it.  a mature berry will have a brown seed and no jellied fruit clinging to it.  we are weeks away right now as you can see.

And finally a quick take on sugar content or brix.  Here is where my handy pocket refractometer is great for a quick read, although our various winemakers and viticulturists will do it the more traditional way.  22.1 ripe for Bordeaux and waiting 10 years to drink, but not even close for Napa’s finest.

Time Posted: Sep 29, 2009 at 8:54 AM
Jason Alexander
 
September 27, 2009 | Jason Alexander

Intro to Meteor Vineyard Video

Prior to Meteor Vineyard gaining renown for our own label, excitement was building among winemakers and proprietors throughout the valley. In this video we speak those whose passion for the fruit is close to our own. Winemaker and viticulturalists Andy Erickson, Annie Favia, Philippe Melka, Jon Priest, Franci Ashton, Dawnine Dyer and Mike Wolf talk about the unique nature of the fruit from the vineyard; while Fritz Hatton and Robin Lail talk about what compels them about the site and what it adds to their wines.

Time Posted: Sep 27, 2009 at 8:45 AM
Barry Schuler
 
September 24, 2009 | Barry Schuler

A Big Fan of Meteor Vineyard

With a Big Fan of The New York Mets Circa Rusty ;-)

Rusty Staub and Barry Schuler at the Staglin Music Festival

Time Posted: Sep 24, 2009 at 8:41 AM
Dawnine Dyer
 
September 21, 2009 | Dawnine Dyer

After the Rain

Just checked the vineyard after three cloudy days with some fairly significant rain on Sunday.
Less than 24 hrs later, a gentle breeze is drying off the clusters and we’re back on track for ripening. We’re not used to summer rains in Napa and tend to freak out a little, but mostly it just washes the dust off and makes the air smell nice. Even so, we’ll be a little more vigilant about botrytis, but for now things look great.

Time Posted: Sep 21, 2009 at 8:36 AM
Jason Alexander
 
September 17, 2009 | Jason Alexander

Riding out the Heat Wave

Here comes the inevitable harvest heatwave with HOT HOT HOT predicted starting tomorrow for the next week. With Brix still hovering around 22 we once again are thankful for our cooler microclimate 400 ft above the valley floor. Still we will give the vines plenty to drink to prevent a hyper sugar spike and keep the physical maturity, pH and BRIX all on our favored trajectory. The growing season always comes down to the nail-biting last four weeks. We’ll just keep sampling the pre-release 2006 to keep calm.

Time Posted: Sep 17, 2009 at 8:34 AM
Dawnine Dyer
 
September 10, 2009 | Dawnine Dyer

Final Days Until Harvest

I’m not pulling the trigger just yet, but really liked what I saw this morning- especially blk 1, clone 7.  Berries softening, even some dimpling, good tannin resolution in skins, color extracting easily, great fruit and brn seeds.  The dimpling seems to be comparatively free of raisin characters.  blk1, clone 4 still has some hard, green tannin in the skins- not uncharacteristically, and 337 is somewhere in between.  Only see positive in waiting thru this cool week and into next, but I think we could see some action by the end of next week.
Blk1, clone 7- 24.7 B, 3.74
Blk 1, clone 4- 23.4 B, 3.58 pH
Blk 3, clone 337- 24.0 B, 3.64 pH

Time Posted: Sep 10, 2009 at 8:26 AM
Jason Alexander
 
September 7, 2009 | Jason Alexander

Fine Wine in Hawaii

One of the most incredible things to watch over the last decade has been the growth of wine knowledge and consumption across the globe.  It doesn’t matter if you are in Hong Kong, Moscow or Hawaii – people around the world are compelled by the worlds greatest wines.
In fact, Hawaii was one of the first places in the world to actively embrace the inaugural release of Meteor Vineyards.  Warren Shon, one of the most savvy people in the wine trade the world over, has carefully culled some of the finest cabernets from Napa Valley (and Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gruner-Veltliner, grower Champagne et al.) to introduce to wine lists and retail shops throughout the islands.
On Maui, a thriving food and wine scene exists on both the West and South shores. On the West coast, the ever popular Lahaina Grill continues to offer one of the most interesting wine lists in Hawaii and the Kapalua Resort and it’s enclave of excellent restaurants continues to offer compelling food and wine destinations at the Pineapple Grill, Sansei and Merriman’s.  The South shore is home to the ultra deluxe Four Season’s resort and Wolfgang Puck’s Spago and the incredibly excellent Duo.  The other place that never disappoints is Capische! in the newly refurbished Hotel Wailea (one of the great deals in all of Hawaii).
Oahu, home to the bulk of permanent residents, has long been known for it’s cuisine and the wine programs have followed pace.  From the original Roy’s in Waikiki to Alan Wong’s eponymous destination, from the ultra deluxe Halekulani  to the adventurous retailers like Tamuro’s and HASR – the food and wine scene is HOT.  Check out the wine bar Amuse in the Honolulu Design Center for some incredible wines by the glass!

Time Posted: Sep 7, 2009 at 8:20 AM