Joe’s Winemaking Notes: February 2019
WINTER SCENES IN RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
The early weeks of the year, in our neighborhood, can be quite varied, switching between multiple scenes on a daily basis. I love the unpredictability of this season’s weather, with opportunities to hunker down around a warm woodstove; or, hunt for mushrooms in the coastal forests.
On any given day, we can be exposed to a dramatic show of winter’s power, as storms unleash torrents of rain across our coastal mountains and whip tree branches into a frenzy. It’s fairly common for several inches of rain to fall over a 24-hour period, pushing the Russian River up its banks. Fortunately, the Goldridge soil at our estate vineyard is a good sponge, absorbing even the most intense rainfall. The bigger challenge is navigating the West Sonoma County roads, avoiding temporary flood closures, as we make our way between the winery and vineyard sites.
Other days may provide an opportunity to explore a refreshed landscape, feeling the warm, angling sun. It reminds me that spring days aren’t too far away. Often, low hanging fog blankets the valleys, with glimpses of the green vineyard floor below, and blue sky above. The days have started to lengthen, showcasing the beauty of our region, for a few minutes longer every day!
In the vineyards, although the conditions can seem uninviting on rainy days, preparations for spring continue. Alvaro Zamora has been leading his team through the vines, carefully pruning according to our goals and the vigor of each vine. He’s very careful to manage the detail work of pruning, so no one makes the “wrong” cut, and sets a vine’s progress back. By the end of January, about 40 percent of the vineyard was pruned and tied to the trellis wires. The remainder will be attended to before February’s end.
ED’S COOPER NOTES
We strive to produce wines of exceptional quality, at Ron Rubin Winery, with innovation being a key factor. Our Limited Edition (5 barrels) 2017 Ron Rubin Vicard Generation 7 Estate Bottled Pinot Noir has been in the making for over two years now. This wine showcases some of our best efforts, as we strive to be more innovative, in both our winegrowing practices in the vineyard and our use of oak barrels in the cellar.
Jean Charles Vicard and Ed Morris
Vicard Generation 7 sets themselves apart from other cooperages, by using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) technology, on select, stave wood. This is based on their oak tannin potential. By starting with perfectly uniform wood, and combining that with precise computer controlled toasting, Vicard Generation 7 gives us very consistent results. This practice is unrivaled by any other barrel supplier, at this time, and is important, for two reasons:
- We rely on our barrel partners to give our wines a vessel for resting and then aging.
- And, to also contribute to its character, by offering wonderful flavors and aromas.
This bottling is a blending of five different Vicard Generation 7 barrels. It’s 100 percent new oak, meaning all five barrels were new when they were filled. The beautiful fruit from our estate vineyard came together seamlessly, with the unrivaled craftsmanship of the Vicard Generation 7 barrels. The wine is powerful and rich, yet it retains freshness and vibrancy. The fruit is being preserved, by the powerful, antioxidative capabilities of the oak tannins.
Vicard Generation 7 Barrel
The Limited Edition 2017 Ron Rubin Vicard Generation 7 Estate Bottled Pinot Noir is a unique collaboration in innovation between both artisan companies; who are collaboratively pushing the envelope, for how wines and barrels are made. After two years in production, we’re all very happy to see this wine finally bottled. Look for the release of this wine on September 23, 2019, on the Fall Equinox.
SANTA LUCIA HIGHLANDS PINOT NOIR
Another exciting bottling occurred alongside the Limited Edition 2017 Ron Rubin Vicard Generation 7 Estate Bottled Pinot Noir, with our first vintage of the Ron Rubin Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir! This has been a dream of ours for several years, expanding the winery’s reach outside of Russian River Valley, to another premier appellation, this one on California’s Central Coast.
To make this a reality, we enlisted the help of Adam Lee, founder of Siduri Winery and owner of Clarice Wine Company. Adam’s been making wines from Santa Lucia Highlands for over 20 years, and knows the vineyards inside and out. Together, Adam and I were able to identify the best vineyards in the appellation, and craft a wine that expresses the beautiful fruit and lively acidity; signatures of Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir! This wine will also be released on September 23, 2019 on the Fall Equinox.