Friday, October 14, 2011

End of Harvest

Another harvest season has ended for Missouri wineries, with Meramec's interesting heirloom Stark's Star grapes picked just last week. I've had the wonderful opportunity to talk to a few vintners lately to find out what we should expect of the 2011 vintage. Word on the streets of Hermann reported a fine season with cooler nighttime temperatures making up for July's heat and drought conditions. Meramec's talented owner is optimistic about this year's harvest, as well. The cooler nights saved the vintage.

We're nearing the end of Drink Local Wine week, an event that has spurred online conversations about how local wine should not be avoided, how it has changed through the years from the clunky super sweet junk to the rich, supple wines we have today.
The 06s are drinking very well now, if you can find them. Some wineries are selling their 09 Nortons which should be tucked away for a few years. I've tasted a number of 09s at local tasting bars and, truthfully, they're simply not ready. Norton needs time in the bottle. 3 years at the least, 5 and 10 years ideally. 09 Chambourcins are bright and lively and very drinkable.

My own desire to make Norton may be a reality next growing season. Home winemaking was a New Year's goal two years ago, but I've been too scared to do it, fearing I would make some junk that I wouldn't drink. Oh, and the cost of equipment requires serious planning when living on my salary. Ever since that first broken Italian conversation with the little old man grape grower who made the wine at our villa in Baiae-Cuma (near Naples), I've had a desire to make wine. But I need to be successful so that when I slam on cheap California wine that is as elegant as rat urine, I can add "even I can make better wine..."

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