Thursday, October 11, 2012

Oregon wine grape harvest 2012

Today's Oregonian has an article (front page of the Business section) about the Oregon Pinot harvest. The photo (of Alloro's Pinot Noir grapes on the vine) looks pretty bad to me--many grapes are shriveled from this near-record-setting drought we've had this year. The loss of water in the grapes drives the sugar level crazy high. The article talks about the risk of excessive sugars and the resulting "hot" (high-alcohol) wines.

So I'm modifying my earlier statement about how this is likely to be a generally great vintage; I now think it might be great for some wines. I think the best wines may come from (a) vineyards that irrigated a bit in the past month, to keep the grapes plump but not so much as to dilute flavors; or (b) older vineyards whose roots have better access to groundwater even in this drought.

High-alcohol Pinot is no fun, and if water is added by the winemaker to reduce the alcohol, that can dilute the flavors.

The Fall rains come tomorrow night and hit in earnest on Saturday or Sunday. Goodbye to one of our longest, deepest summer droughts ever in NW Oregon.

Check out the shriveling/raisining on Alloro's Pinot Noir grapes (photo taken from today's Oregonian article):

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