Updated 2010-10-10 15:59:13 ID=631:0

© 2010 The Romantic Table
©2009 The Romantic Table 2009-02-17 09:52:55:123
©2009 The Romantic Table

Larry McGourty writes about wine and food

Early Rain does not Dampen Harvest


The early rain storm in the Paso Robles Region was followed by clear weather and other than delaying the harvest for a day or so seems to have done little damage.

What an unusual growing season Paso Robles and the Central Coast is having this year. A long cool growing season, ending with record highs --luckily short lived, then a couple of days later cool rainy weather. Very interesting times indeed.

Rain levels varied, but the average was .3 to .5 inches, which for this time of year is high, but not unheard of. As long as the rain did not not exceed .5 inches, the weather cleared and we had a breeze to dry out the fields, local winemakers agreed most likely the rain would have little effect on the grapes. After the rain, everyone held their breath to see if the weather would clear the next day. Luckily the weather cooperated. The rain mostly did little more than wash the dust off of the grapes.

On the day of the rain, we had a pick scheduled to harvest the last of our Sangiovese grapes. This year the quality is excellent and the clusters are large, tight and evenly ripened. We were in the middle of the harvest and everything was at peak. So, we were disappointed to have to delay the harvest. The other issue we have with rain is the infamous Adelaida mud. When the soil saturates on the West Side, the ground become a boot pulling quagmire. We were concerned that if the vineyard really got a good soaking, it may be a couple of days before the ground dried enough to get back in.

This year we were in luck, The sun broke out the day after the rain and the wind picked up helping to dry everything out. After a day of drying we were back in the vineyard finishing up the rest of the harvest of the Sangiovese.

Things are really slowly maturing this year. We still have some Zinfandel to pick as well as our Port varietals. We are well behind our normal schedule --so far so we are probably going to finish up grape harvest about the time walnut season starts --paradoxically the early rain is helping to accelerate that. We usually get a few weeks rest in between, and time to clean up the vineyard equipment and convert over for the walnut harvest. This year it looks like the seasons will flow into each other without a break.

However, the extended grape growing season has an upside, the grape quality is excellent. The slow cooler finish to the growing season is allowing the grapes to mature in a very balanced state. Sugars, tannins and acidity should be at optimal levels for the region. Barring an early frost which is always a possibility this late in season, look forward to some really great Central Coast wines coming out of this harvest season.




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A tip from Sue!

Cut down on the splatters as you fry or saute

When you're frying meat or fish you can cut down on the splatters by either using a splatter guard or even easier, by simply using a cover for the frying pan. But adjust your heat down to compensate for the increased heat buildup.