Vintage Notes 2008

The average temperature for April was unusually warm and the vines pushed early with bud break on May 1. May was cooler than average but even so bloom was also early about June 16. June and July were both were warmer than average but unusually wet (lower solar radiation).

Veraison started in the early varieties about August first and was over by August 15. August was cool with only 70% (386) growing degree-days of monthly average (550 gdd). The last two weeks of August the rain all but stopped. The first three weeks of September were dry and of average temperature. The last week of September was also warm but wet. October was of average condition in both temperature and moisture. It is worth noting that 2007 was much warmer than 2008 in August, about the same in September and considerably warmer in October.

Our Riesling blocks developed botrytis cinera. Accordingly, we have chosen to produce Riesling wines with some degree of residual sugar. These will include one with 15 to 25 grams residual with the final balance to be determined as we continue to taste and evaluate the fermentations. In addition, Riesling grapes have been left on the vine (as of this date) for a Late Harvest wine anticipated to be of exceptional quality.

Looking across all varieties, red and whites, acids are fresher in 2008 than 2007. Reflecting the season and yield control, some varieties such as Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer showed better ripeness and balance in 2008. Only two wines were chapitalized, Chardonnay and Cayuga White (forms the base for our Summer White wine).

Cabernet Franc was riper and fresher, reminding me of 2002 a well structured, fresher and under appreciated vintage that followed the super ripe 2001. This year we also experimented with low yield block that was set for two clusters per shoot.

Our early tastings of young 2008 wines with Riesling still fermenting, and the reds progressing through ml are favorable. Whites are varietally characteristic, clean, well balanced and generally of medium body and flavor intensity. Riesling and Gewurztraminer look particularly promising.

The bane of all winegrowers, vineyardists and wine makers, namely Pinot Noir, has good varietal expression, looking to be a pretty wine, light colored and reminding me of 2001.

The other reds are in barrel and include Gamay, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. These have deep color; good extract, structure and are of Medium(+) body and Medium(+) flavor intensity. These wines merit patience as they continue to evolve and develop.

Bob Madill,
Winegrower & Partner

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