Monthly Archive for December, 2010

The End is Here

Today, Wednesday, December 29, 2010 we can finally say that the 2010 Harvest is over. Bruce, Shane and Jesus are pressing the last three tanks. These have all had over 45 days of extended maceration and are dark, dark wines – Syrah, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon and as I was watching them press and taking photos the wonderful aromas jumped out. These are going to be fabulous wines, but because of their heftiness will not see the market for at least 3 years.

The photos were taken today – a drizzly day after a night of steady rain. It is definitely more comfortable watching from the Tasting Room. One photo shows Shane crawling out of a tank that he has just cleaned. Getting out is as difficult as getting in. I like the dark photo that silhouettes Bruce loading the press.
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Punching Down the Last Fermenters

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The harvest is still not quite over, we still have three tanks to press. Each tank is undergoing extended maceration, on average over 45 days. Two are Syrah, one of which winemaker Bruce McGuire is punching down with the hydraulic gizmo.

Each tank holds about 7 tons of grapes. Usually at this stage, in the extended maceration process, the skins have dropped to the bottom of the tank. These tanks, however, have been inoculated to begin malolactic fermentation and the gas released during this process (CO2) pushes some of the skins to the surface. Bruce is punching them down to keep them wet and then covers the tank with a blanket of CO2 and a light plastic cover. This is repeated every couple of days.

Malolactic fermentation which can occur naturally in the wine making process converts malic to lactic acid. For more on this process check Wikipedia.

Extended Maceration – Pressing Macro Bins 12.15.10

It may be the middle of December but we are still technically working on the harvest. Bruce, today, pressed three small lots – two Syrahs and a Lagrein.

These are wines that have had extended maceration, that is, fermented wine kept in contact with skins over an extended period. In this case 47 and 61 days – a long time – during which the wines not only absorb color and tanin but convert that tanin so that it looses its bitterness.

The resulting wine is big, dark and rich. Bruce does this for only a few selected lots coming from prime locations in the vineyard.

It’s not over yet there are still a few that have yet to reach that magic balance that Bruce is looking for.

Many of these lots are fermented in 1 ton macro bins whose content, in turn, can be dumped directly into the press – as shown in the image.
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Private Tasting for Groups of 6 or more at Santa Barbara Winery and Lafond Winery

For more information call: Santa Barbara Winery 805.963.3633 and Lafond Winery 805.688.7921

Winter in the Vineyard – View of Pinot Noir Block and Entrance to the Winery from Picnic Area

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New Release 2008 Lafond Winery SRH Chardonnay

Located in the western Santa Ynez Valley, the Santa Rita Hills AVA is an ideal environment for growing intensely flavored full-bodied Chardonnay.

This AVA is distinguished by a very cool and long growing season created by a convergence of unusual geography in this part of California.

During the summer, heat rising from the Mojave Desert 90 miles inland and the eastern boundary of our unique east-west system of mountains and valleys draws in cold air from the Pacific Ocean 15 miles to our West.

This guarantees cool days and chilly nights during the long growing season of the nine-mile length of the Santa Rita Hills AVA.

A blend of two neighboring vineyards, the 2008 Chardonnay SRH is winemaker Bruce McGuire’s selection to showcase the ripe, concentrated Chardonnay for which the Santa Rita Hills is known.

2008 was one of those years that Winemaker Bruce McGuire had an embarassment of riches as a smaller than normal crop yielded excellent fruit quality (small clusters and berries) through most of the Chardonnay blocks from our Lafond Vineyard and our neighbor Hill Top Ranch.

This wine is a good choice to pair with many cows’ milk cheeses such as Brie or Camembert, and as a nice surprise, the fantastic washed-rind triple-creme Cow Girl Creamery Red Hawk. Richer foods such as roast chicken or whole farm raised striped bass are also ideal pairings.
Suggested Retail: 22.00
To Order: Lafond Winery