The 2015 vintage will remain in our memories as a year on weather’s edge. The vegetative year began in mid-April under cool, dry conditions that slowed early growth. After several weeks with temperatures over 80oF in late May, the first flowers appeared in early June, about a week later than usual. Cool, rainy conditions during flowering reduced fruit set and allowed Botrytis to become established in some varieties, requiring constant vigilance throughout the remainder of the vintage. The subsequent hot, dry conditions, with daily temperatures well above 90oF and less than inch of rain between July 4 and August 6, scalded the young berries, with some, especially the Cabernet Franc, wilting under the intense heat. Reduced water and nitrogen sped maturation of the berries, with veraison (the time when the fruit changes color) starting on July 24, about three days ahead of normal. September brought continuing dry conditions, with uneventful harvest of the Sauvignon and Chardonnay on August 27 and September 2 respectively. Cool, overcast conditions followed, however, slowing ripening of the red varieties. Heavy rain on September 29 (2.5 inches) and October 2 (almost 2 inches) encouraged the botrytis to bloom. With the constant threat of botrytis in the Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, harvest of these varieties was accompanied by extraordinary effort by the sorting crew to remove any less than perfect berries. We completed picking the late ripening blocks of Merlot under clear, sunny conditions on October 9.
Winemaker: Tom Croghan