I’d have to say that the number one question I’m getting right now in the tasting room is, “So what does all this rain mean for the vineyards?” With over 80 inches of the stuff this last winter, I wish I really knew what it all means.
I can certainly give you things I have noticed from empirical data. The first would be that the weeds (excuse me, I “meant” cover crop) just keep growing and growing and growing. And every time we finish mowing, it rains again for another generation of these guys!
I’ve also noticed that although our vines budded out normally (in mid-April), the post cooler cloudier weather has actually put them behind a bit. We’re in the latter part of May, and some vines still only have a few inches of growth. (Still, it’s amazing how a few warm days it takes for a vine to catch up!) We’ll see when we flower, and then we’ll know more.
If, however, I were asked to prognosticate as to what all this rain will mean for the grapes this year, this is what I would say. “It’s going to be a good crop!”
Now, first remember that wineries, no matter what they are talking about, are always thinking about marketing. Accentuate the positive and glaze over the challenges.
Madrona Vineyards welcomes you to Passport 2017, where we have designed a food and wine pairing adventure for your enjoyment!
Wine and Food – the ultimate and decidedly rewarding puzzle.
So….are you willing to exceed conventional wisdom, question pairing taboos, and explore beyond your food and wine comfort zone? We have devised a progression of courses paired with a range of wines, designed to astonish and delight. Let us guide you on this culinary journey!
(Further down, we have also provided information on the ART OF THE BLEND, featuring our El Tinto and our Quintet).
Pairing #1 – Naan Bread Pizza and 2011 Syrah, Signature Collection
The Recipe -A staff created recipe of chimchurri sauce with minced olive, fontina cheese and topped with a kale salad)
The art of pruning back a vine or a tree is all about finding the right balance for improving fruit quality and quantity.
The first thing to understand is that only buds from last year will produce fruit this year. So imagine a grapevine that has one cane from last year, and this cane has 12 buds. Each of those buds will produce a new cane this year (with two or three clusters of grapes). But the next year (without pruning) the vine may have 144 buds (12 canes with say 12 buds each) and following year (without pruning) might have 1728 buds (144 canes with 12 buds each).
The image is a vine out of control, trying to sustain all that growth with essentially the same root system. What ends up happening is that the canes get spindly and the grapes clusters (if there at all) are smaller and smaller. Thus the wild grapevine near a creek we’ve all seen.
For many, the beauty of vineyards is how the vines all line up perfectly with such spectacular precision and elegance. Screw those people! All this “perfection” takes time and effort on our part, both in the choice/implementation of the trellising system and the continual training of the vine.
If you think back to the origins of agriculture, no doubt the domestication of animals was one of the most important changes our distant relatives could have made. Equally innovative is the concept of preparing soil and the planting of gathered seeds to produce a needed crop.
But if you think about it, the concept of “pruning” is almost counter-intuitive. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word “prune” as “to cut off or cut back parts of for better shape or more fruitful growth.” That’s all good, but there’s a huge leap in thought that produces the concept of pruning.
Are you interested in a more intimate and education wine experience? Then we invite you to join our cellar staff (Ryan and Tim) for a intimate wine and cheese tasting in our barrel room. Ryan and Tim will walk you through 6 wines along with 6 cheese pairings, while talking about the art of winemaking, terrior, and food – all favorite topics of theirs!
Four sessions are available as follows:
Saturday, March 11 @ 2:00
Sunday, March 12 @ 2:00
Saturday, March 25 @ 2:00
Sunday, March 26 @ 2:00
Each session is limited to 8 people, but we also must have a minimum of 4.
By Tim Wright
As I alluded to in part one of this blog, my philosophy of wine tasting and wine discovery (wine appreciation, to coin a term) was heavily influenced by my being in the right place at the right time (working the crush in 1993), surrounded by the right people to expand my wine horizons (the Madroña family, including the Bushes, winemaker Hugh Chappelle, and my roommate at the time – another Bush by the name of Paul). Continue reading