Things are progressing nicely in the vineyard as summer rolls along, but there's lots to do these days in the winery as well. This month we'll be bottling all 6 of our wines from the 2012 vintage.
The 2012 harvest was exceptional in terms of quality and yield, and we're expecting stand out wines across all of our varietals. In fact, our Syrah fruit never fully ripened in 2010 or 2011 so we didn't make a Syrah du Soleil during those years. But the 2012 Syrah tastes fantastic and we can't wait to see how it develops, along with the rest of our wines from what seems to be a banner year for winemaking.
Our wine spends around 19 months aging in oak barrels before it's ready for bottling, which is longer than many wineries choose to wait. However, our hillside fruit tends to be extremely intense and requires more time in the barrel to evolve. We know it's important to be patient to allow the flavors and tannins to soften and meld into the complex, balanced wines we strive for.
For our 2012 vintage we'll have around 1,300 cases total across all 6 of our varietals. As usual for our estate wines we're dealing with extremely limited quantities. Our 2012 production will be fewer than 400 cases made for each varietal, with even more limited quantities for our Syrah, Petite Syrah and Late Harvest Primitivo.
A few days before the wine is ready to be bottled, it's transferred from oak barrels into stainless steel tanks, and then on the day of bottling it is pumped from the tanks into the filling system on the bottling line, where it will soon make its way into the bottle.
All wines are subject to "bottle shock" when they are just bottled, a condition that results in a wine with muted or disjointed flavors and flat aromatics. After all, wine is a delicate creation that's constantly changing and evolving. It seems that that all the movement and activity from barrel to tank to bottle doesn't sit well with most wines.
In fact, bottle shock doesn't solely occur after bottling. If you have a wine in transit that jostles around too much, the very same characteristics of bottle shock may take place even in a wine that's been in the bottle for some time. Thankfully, after a week or two of peace and quiet in proper storage, a wine settles into its new environment and the wine's flavors and aromatics return in all their glory.
Don't get too excited to taste the glory of our 2012 vintage just yet though, as our wines at Collier Falls will spend close to another 12 more months in the bottle once they roll off the assembly line. Just as we give our wine ample time in the barrel to fully develop, we take that same approach to the wine once it's in the bottle as well.
Patience is a virtue, and we wait with excited anticipation to try our 2012 wines sometime in 2015.