Early Start to 2013 Harvest at L’Aventure as Grenache Blanc comes in!

This morning at 7:30 AM the crew brought in the 2013 Grenache Blanc- all 2 tons of it! Stephan, Dave, and Guillaume, with the help of the sure handed Michael Dutchsorted through the clusters on the first of our two sorting tables, assuring that only those of uniform maturity made it into the destemmer. From there, stagiaires Victor and Aurelien, here from France to help out with harvest,  managed the second table, vigilant that the individual berries passing along it were all of a dimension indicative of fully mature, sound fruit. This selection process is a continuation of that practiced in the vineyard, where cluster dropping and shoot thinning result in net yields of scarcely a bottle to two  per vine, depending on the vintage and variety. This Grenache Blanc will constitute 50% of the blend for Stephan’s 2013 Estate Cuvee Blanc, a ton each of Viognier and Roussanne to round it out. That’s a whopping 240 cases all in!

Stephan describes this as “a small crop, maybe a bonsai crop” adding a snicker, in that many of the individual clusters were manicured around the verasion period. Clipping the shoulders and tips of this large clustered, somewhat gangly variety  has resulted in the fruit being more uniformly developed. This year’s earlier harvest has resulted in great, firm clusters of excellent acidity, characterized by a racy minerality, floral perfume, and flavors of lychee  nut and stone fruit.

Dave DeBusk, our Vineyard Manager, adds that “the fruit was absolutely disease free, and remarkably even, from top of the hill to bottom”. He attributes some of the exemplar quality of the block to the double guyot trellising configuration as well.

Roussane is just coming in. Let’s go have a look at it.