When I joined the Talley Vineyards blogosphere, I vowed to not use my blog to sell anything. That thought is out the window for this blog, because I’m so excited about what we are about to offer our customers! At our annual Harvest Open House on Sunday, November 4th, we are going to start pouring wine on tap and filling growlers! What is a growler, you say? Those of you who are craft beer fanatics like I am probably already know that growlers are reusable containers that you can continue to have refilled where you purchased them. The first commonly-used growlers were metal-lidded pails that would “growl” as carbon dioxide gas escaped from the lid, though ours will be a more convenient and well-sealed 1.89 liter glass container.
On November 4th we will be starting off with a crisp Edna Valley sauvignon blanc. We will then be adding more taps and additional wines, allowing us to offer a variety of wines including some special, seasonal offerings on rotation. One of my favorite aspects of visiting breweries has always been the ability to taste and take home very limited run brews that were not produced in significant quantities for bottling. For the winery, that means that we can make special, small batches of wine and maybe even run a few trials. Additionally, wine on tap and growlers mean less packaging, which is environmentally friendly and reduces costs that we can pass on to you – the customer. So come on by for our open house, grab a growler full of wine and come back regularly to see what’s on tap!
I thought you might like to see the answers to my blog contest on some of our tasting room attendants I posted a few weeks back. Thank you to all who participated.
|Mike||A. Worked for thirty years as a school teacher and gives tours at Talley Vineyards|
|Lucy||B. Our Tasting Room Manager who has been at Talley Vineyards for over nine years|
|Jane||C. One of two attendants who work on Mondays and match their outfits, also our lead tasting room attendant|
|Sharon||D. Has worked at Talley Vineyards for over 20 years and considered our “tasting room mom”|
|Sarah||E. One of two attendants who work on Mondays and match their outfits, also our in-house chef|
|Marian||F. Runs in marathons including the 2011 Boston and Big Sur Marathons|
G. Is a retired doctor and drives to Talley Vineyards weekly from Cambria
|Bobby||H. Aspires to be a Brewmaster and brings a new beer for the staff to try almost every Saturday|
I often tell people that you can’t be a farmer if you don’t love the weather. More precisely, I mean that we must accept the fact that the weather is beyond our control and we adjust our schedule and practices accordingly. It’s important to keep this in mind as we ride the roller coaster that is harvest.
This week, we’re experiencing our annual Indian Summer—that last bit of warm weather that finishes harvest. We’ve had some of the warmest weather of the year during this period, with temperatures in the high 90s. This is due to high pressure moving over our area and the presence of Santa Ana conditions—a warm offshore flow as opposed to our typical pattern of cool onshore breezes. This mini heat wave came right on the heels of a rainstorm last week that dumped just over an inch of rain in the Arroyo Grande Valley.
At this point, everything on our ranches has been harvested with the exception of some chardonnay in the Rincon Vineyard, which we will finish on Monday. The other exception is about three tons of sauvignon blanc in Oliver’s Vineyard that we will attempt to make into a sweet dessert wine. The rain we received last week created perfect conditions for botrytis cinerea, often referred to as the “noble rot.” Botrytis is a fungus that grows ongrapes due to wet conditions and which causes the grapes to shrivel and the sugar and acid to become extremely concentrated. This is undesirable in most of the wines we produce, and we typically go to great lengths to prevent it, including leaf removal and thinning of infected grape clusters. Botrytis is critical for the production of white dessert wines and sauvignon blanc is one of the white grape varieties most suited to make this wine. Consequently, we decided to leave those grapes on the vine with the hope to let botrytis grow and to make our second ever late harvest sauvignon blanc. The only other time we did this was in 1994, when we had a very rainy harvest. That wine was legendary.
So here’s another way of expressing my “learn to love the weather” mantra: when you have lemons, make lemonade. When you have rain, make dessert wine!
This past summer Brian Talley packed his bags and set out to meet with some of the top food and wine writers in the country to share our 25 year portfolio of chardonnays. This precarious mission to meet with these most discerning reviewers and host a retrospective tasting has proven to be an incredible success. Over the past few months, numerous articles have surfaced in magazines and around the web about the true age worthiness of our wines. One of the most flattering in our recent accolades was when Food and Wine Magazine named Talley Vineyards as one of “The World’s Most Trustworthy Wineries”. We’ve been regularly sharing this press with our friends on Facebook, but just in case you missed it, here are a few exciting highlights of what the experts had to say:
I would confidently put any of the Talley wines toe-to-toe with Grand Cru French Burgundy. Talley’s wines definitely made a statement; not all California Chardonnays are equal, and California Chardonnays crafted in a classical style and grown in cooler climates deserve a second look. They also merit a place in your cellar, to be savored today and twenty years from now.- Katie Kelley Bell, Forbes
Talleys wines don’t have to be old to taste good. We also tasted five delicious Chardonnays that were brand new. The important thing about these wines is that they have generous acidity and restrained fruit. In other words, they are far more reminiscent of a European wine. - Austin Chronicle
Made in a Burgundian-style with an emphasis on the vineyards and creating a true sense of place, instead of manipulation in the winery, Talley Vineyards succeeds in delivering a lively white filled with citrus and stone fruit notes, balanced with layers of spice and nuttiness. Enjoy a bottle young, and then let one age for a few years and you’ll see the flavors develop into rich caramel notes while maintaining the acidity and brightness of the fruit. - Hayley Hamilton
The two best surprises came from the oldest bottle we tasted, the 1994 Talley’s Vineyard, as well as the 2001 Rosemary’s Vineyard which both maintained their consistency in structure, balance and acidity, proving that these wines could easily continue to age an additional number of years. – D Magazine
- Talley remains one of the great estates in California that has yet to be fully discovered. As a result, prices remain exceedingly fair considering the quality of what goes into the bottle. - Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate
Wow, it’s already October, which means we have been harvesting for over a month now! Almost daily picks of Pinot Noir kept us busy all September, with the sorting table and destemmer going nonstop. The winery has been at capacity, with fermentors of grape must in every open corner, and hand punchdowns happening nonstop. Now that many of the Pinot fermentations have been finishing up, we’ve been able to start pressing dry lots and racking them to barrel, where they can finish malo-lactic fermentation and give us a chance to start focusing on the Chardonnay.
With last weekend’s heat wave, many of our Rosemary’s and Oliver’s Chardonnay blocks got just the push they needed to finish ripening. As the seemingly endless bins of Chardonnay arrive we will send them straight to the presses to be whole cluster pressed and then put straight to barrel for fermentation.
During hot weather weeks like this, we really see what a difference it makes that our vineyard crews hand harvest at night. On big pick days the crews will start anywhere from 8 PM to midnight and continue until sunrise, delivering beautiful, cool fruit that’s ready to be processed at the winery. Big thanks to the vineyard crews for all their hard work and crazy hours to get us the best fruit possible!