Vino In My Dino

Note from Home: The Resilience of a Vintage

October 24, 2020 09:11

Note from Home: The Resilience of a Vintage

The other night Ed and I had dinner with my parents, Jim & Phyllis, and my dad had picked a library wine to have with the roasted chicken we brought for dinner. Our 2010 Mother Clone Zinfandel. I’ve written about vintage stories before-reminiscing about what happened in our lives in a particular year on the bottle. This night we talked about the harvest year and what challenges it brought. In order to become a vintage story you begin with the harvest. Do you remember what type of harvest 2010 was? We discussed that over dinner while enjoying the 10 year old Zinfandel.

The 2010 harvest was a tough one especially for Zinfandel-a long cool growing season had us all wondering if the fruit was going to ripen before the rain came. So we did what many grape growers in the area did to help ripen the fruit-we pulled leaves to expose as much fruit as possible in order to open up the vine to the sun. Then we were hit with a massive heat wave over one weekend with temperatures rising to 115 degrees. And there was even more going on with grape prices plummeting making the situation worse. 

Reminds me a bit of this year-not that the heat wave went this high or rain came. It was more the loss of the fruit in the 2010 harvest-45% of the crop-and for the first time we paid the vineyard crew by the hour (not by the bucket as per usual) to bring in the crop. We are facing a similar situation this year with the overall loss of production at about 30%. And we continue the waiting game on test results for the quality of the grapes we did harvest.

The thing about wine from a vintage like 2010? It survived. I call it resilience. The bouquet belied the heat-I do remember when it was released the wine was quite concentrated and, in fact, we added a bit more Petite Sirah in order to help balance out the fruit and lend structure. Muted ripe berry and spice were in the forefront of this nicely aged Zin and more fruit with a nice kick of acidity and soft tannins on the palate.

As you know I love words and I enjoy looking up their meaning. The word resilience means ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness’ and ‘the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity’. The 2010 Mother Clone Zinfandel? Well, in my opinion, this wine stood the test of time and overcame the difficulties of the harvest. Its’ shape is that of the vintage and became a wine worth enjoying a decade later.

Resilience, along with the synonyms of flexibility and pliability, means so much right now as we progress through the challenges of the pandemic and the harvest we were handed. I can’t wait to try our 2020 Mother Clone Zinfandel in ten years and have the wine tell the story of this vintage.

And just like the vines, we make headway through the pandemic and other challenges with resiliency. I’d like to imagine us all meeting in ten years and reflecting on our story. How it has shaped us, with some of the sharp edges softened, our character developed, coming together to marvel at our maturity.

Blessed are the flexible for they won’t be bent out of shape.

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