By Justin Taylor
The annual date found on a label of wine is a symbol that conveys many details about a bottle and its life. For some, it is the anchor to their long term aging agenda, to see how a red wine evolves over time. Others look for the most youthful label they can find in varietals like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Rosé. Those closest to the production of wines find a mind numbing level of details in those vintages. How was the spring weather? Did we achieve good fruit development? How was weather around our harvest? How do the young wines stack up against previous vintages? This dream state of wine production always lingers, some years great, others a fight against mother nature.
The region in Polk County, NC was given several late challenges during the 2017 vintage that will change the wines we have produced this year. The first time in several years, against potential hazards from a warm winter, frost did not have significant impact on growers with early breaking varietals. During bloom and fruit set, vines were slightly affected by occasional rainfall, creating inconsistent development of berries on a cluster. The busy hurricane season provided the most difficult challenge, with heavy rainfall close to proper fruit ripeness. Earlier picked fruit will lead to wines with brighter acidity, vibrant, youthful flavor and aroma, overall more elegant.
In many parts of the west coast, dry conditions were looking very promising for extended ripening. At the end of August, Napa Valley was hit by a heat wave for several days that truly raisined grapes as they hung on the vine. Following this in early October a massive wildfire very close to wineries and vineyards created harvest and production impacts, which will have a long lasting effect on the wines of 2017.
Next time you buy that tasty bottle or pull it out of the cellar, think about what a difference a year makes in your wine enjoyment! Wine and Vine trivia answer is that glassware is very important to the final perception of a specific wine. The shape and glass base material can greatly alter your wine experience. I will bring more details in 2018 on this topic! Trivia for the beginning of 2018: Where did the term Bacchanalia originate from?