With El Niño conditions firmly in place, we were hit with our first significant harvest-time rain in recent memory on October 13th, 2009 which precipitated the harvest of this beautiful Valdiguié crop on October 22nd. Flavors were concentrated and yields low, following four years of drought in California. Valdiguié is a very large-berried variety requiring extra vigilance from our Greenfield vineyard team to prune to only one bud per spur, and to aggressively thin any extra shoots pushing from the spur area. Otherwise, our yields get too high and ripening becomes difficult for this late-maturing varietal. In our winemaking, our goal is to preserve Valdiguié’s wonderful natural acidity and fresh fruit flavors. We incorporate two different winemaking techniques to achieve this. In 2009, we handpicked roughly 15% of the fruit and put those whole clusters directly into the fermenters, in a winemaking process called carbonic maceration – no yeast or pumping over of the fruit is done. The other technique is to gently de-stem and crush the fruit going to the fermenter, pump over and extract with fairly short, warm fermentations. These processes give the wine a remarkable similarity to the wines of Beaujolais, with enticing berry fruit flavors, a vibrant color and soft tannins. Malolactic fermentation is discouraged in order to preserve bright acidity and fruit character.
Our 2009 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié was grown on Chualar loam soil in the Arroyo Seco appellation of Monterey County. Originally thought to be the Gamay Noir grape of France’s Beaujolais winegrowing region, U.C. Davis has since identified this grape to be Valdiguié from an area in the southwest of France. Regardless of its origin and identity, Valdiguié grown in the windy, cold Arroyo Seco produces a wine reminiscent of the ‘Crus’ of Beaujolais – Morgon, Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent.
|Origin:||Wildflower, Monterey County|
|Harvest Date:||October 22nd and 23rd, 2009|
|Brix at Harvest:||22.7° Brix average|
|Total Acidity:||0.69 g/100 ml|
|pH at Bottling:||3.31|
|Alcohol:||12.7% by volume|
|Residual Sugar:||0.66 g/100 ml|
|Vinification:||Stainless steel fermented
13% Carbonic maceration (whole cluster fermented)
87% Traditional red wine fermentation. Fermentation to 85°F
|Bottling Date:||December 4th,2009|
The 2009 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié is a vibrant, red-purple in color with bright aromas of boysenberry, Bing cherry, raspberry and banana. The fruit complexion on the palate is equally bright, yet shows suppleness and body throughout the mid-palate. The luscious fruit finish is dominated by boysenberry and raspberry, making this wine ideal as an aperitif or paired with grilled salmon. Drink your last bottle just in time for the release of the new vintage! Serve chilled.
Steve Peck , red winemaker