The Chard was being picked, over on a ridge in Russian River, close to Sebastopol but that meant nothing with this heat. He knew some of it would get cooked and the yields were already coming in low. So what could he do but go through the cave, taste the 14’s which were set to be bottled early next week. Barrel to barrel and each had a reassuring song, and a lecture telling him that he couldn’t expect each year to be a ’14, ’13, ’12. He knew that of course, and not that he did have that mind frame, but he was frustrated. And he knew he had to let go and just let nature happen and the sun hit the grapes, beat them like prisoners. The last block to come in, last year at 3.77 tons per acre, Chard, this year was 2.09. He rolled his eyes and tasted from barrel 17E, a micro-micro block out in Guerneville. Cherry, vanilla (and this barrel was a neutral as you could get, so this was something the wine wanted to say on its own), black pepper and lavender, which he thought was odd for any Pinot.
Peeking his head outside the cave, the heat nearly accosted him and told him to go back to his gunite-ensured hole. But he ignored and let the sun tell him the same it was telling the grapes. He couldn’t translate, just feel, and look down at the blocks that weren’t yet pulled, clustered exposed to southwest and west—Merlot, Cab, PV. “Shit,” he thought. Walking over to the rows, PV and Cab, he saw the fried fruit. And knew he could only watch, make a call to pick tomorrow. Hopefully the owners would let him.
Kerry went down to the pad and saw it being crushed, the Chard.. the juice was more tropical than he remembered and with a subtle subtext of light caramel, or toffee, or brown sugar, something, and before any oak.
He could only thank that heartless sun.