Notes on the 2015 California Vintage (and a little on Oregon) Posted on 28 Mar 12:47 , 0 comments

Early conversations about the 2015 vintage of California Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and a bit of Cab may be foretelling the future of climate change. The size of the vintage has shrunk mainly due to lack of rain. Even though we irrigate in California, the rain helps wash down the salts and other chemicals in the soil. A four year drought has stressed the vines and has begun to force the plants to produce less fruit. Some estimates are between 20 and 30% less fruit.

Now take that drought and add to it a little bit of bad luck. Early rains in the 2015 growing season were followed by very cold temperatures. This meant that at a crucial time, many vineyards found that their flowers either were damaged by rain or frozen. These factors affected the quality and yield of the fruit in the remaining flowers.

Another complication of the drought is likely to be wines with more concentrated and intense fruit, but also higher tannin. Expect the wines of 2015 to be big wines and need some time to come around. Many of the growers picked early and were able to keep alcohol levels under control.

And now for a little economic reality. These big tannic wines will be in short supply. We expect to see higher prices for this vintage to make up for the short volume in order for wineries to survive.

Oregon seems to have had a better growing season and are looking at a big yield, but with late rains, the wines may seem a bit diluted, but not in a bad way. They are said to be tasting very supple and silky with good balance between acidity and tannin.

After aging and bottling, we look forward to the finished product!