The 2018 growing season began with bud break approximately one to two weeks after what has been deemed “normal” in the last five years. Although we received some nice rain following the 2017 harvest, most of the season’s rainfall came in March and continued into April. The ideal timing of the rain allowed for unrestrained nutrient availability and vine development. Along with the optimal spring weather, the vineyards achieved generous fruit set along with healthy green canopies. Consistently moderate weather conditions lasted all the way through the season, developing beautiful phenolic maturity in the fruit, meaning the skins had very high potential to create wines with outstanding mouthfeel and texture. Although mother nature was generous, to keep crop load in balance, we did a healthy amount of crop thinning. This was very important to do before the critical ripening period to achieve concentration and depth of flavors in the fruit and resulting wine.
The harvest began one to two weeks later than previous years, with the majority of the Cabernet picked in mid to late October at the peak ripeness. Although a short burst of rain came and went at the beginning of October, the Cabernet’s thick skins were not phased. Cool nights, crisp mornings and sunny skies during those pleasant autumn days offered ideal conditions for tremendous acidity and development of the skin. In the 2018 vintage, you can expect plush tannins and generous aromatics, and well as a freshness and energy that you only get in a vintage with such “uneventful” weather. Although it is probably the largest vintage we have had since 2012, it is similar in the sense that the quality is very exciting. In the vineyards where quality and quantity were in perfect balance, you will see some phenomenal wines coming from this vintage.
For me personally, this harvest was as exhilarating as it was a test of endurance. With the larger crop, the harvest required a sense of mental focus and level of precision that kept me on my toes. I am humbled by the tremendous amount of work that went into this vintage and more appreciative than ever for all the hands that were involved.