NEWS FROM HOMEWOOD
HARVEST NOTES 2012: On Sunday October 30th I pressed off the last open top fermenters of cabernet sauvignon and put my 25th harvest here at Homewood Winery behind me. In all those years, plus my five years as a home winemaker, I have seen less than a handful of vintages where the crop as a whole was high in quantity AND quality. I believe 2012 will be added to that handful. The weather stayed consistently warm throughout the harvest and, after two short crop years of varying consistency we picked ripe fruit this year not rushed by early rains. Some years you better be a good winemaker and some years you are the caretaker of good grapes.
The last vintage I received of Odmann Vineyard chardonnay was 2009 and Ann Odmann has retired I had been taking their entire production off 3 ½ acres since 1992. With the exception of 2006, when the crop was very short and I supplemented with a sauvignon blanc, chardonnay was the only white wine I produced. In 2010 I produced a pinot gris and 2011 I tried my hand at a roussanne, marsanne, grenache blanc and a late harvest Semillon. In 2012 I decided on viogner, albarino ( a Spanish white), and roussanne and hope to produce another dessert wine with a viogner/ albarino blend from some of the grapes . After all these years it appears I am finally branching out on the whites.
As for the reds, a lot of my "Redder the Better" workhorses of past vintages, zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah and cabernet franc did not ripen in 2010 and 2011. I was able to source other varietals, incuding two Grenache, syrah, mourvedre blends and a barbera I am very happy with. This year saw the workhorses back again and I have high hopes for the resulting wines. I even bought some sangiovese and believe I have enough cabernet sauvignon to try a Super Tuscan blend. Last, and certainly not least, Tom McHugh sold his pinot noir vineyard. In 2003, when I sold my Mt. Veeder vineyard and it's pinot noir, I started buying from the McHughs and grafted over the home estate vineyard from chardonnay to three clones of pinot noir (777, 114 & 115). My grapes always blended with the McHugh for the Los Carneros wine. It appears that this year will see my first estate pinot noir.
All in all 2012 has been an interesting vintage for old friends and new and I believe "high hopes" would be the operative term. As you know, I never say more until it is in the bottle? leave the hyperbole for some other winemaker.