Napa 2010 | our own wikileaks on wine
Our spies in Napa tell us that most wineries have now had a chance to assess their harvest and they’re feeling pretty good. This was a year of weather challenges but our inside scoop says that, “even though volumes were low, the grapes have great color, not too much sugar and just the right amount of balance for very elegant wines.”
There is a great debate of course between viticulturalists and winemakers as to whether mother nature or man really makes the wine. Is a great wine the product of nature or nurture, or perhaps a little bit of both? Regardless of which way you lean, there’s no debating the importance of weather on a harvest.
2010 in Napa was a year of great contrasts. It ended up being a long, cool season, just perfect for Bordeaux-style reds. The majority of the year was marked by dry cool days, however temperatures spiked in August and monsoon-like rains hit in October. The net result is that different wineries had divergent harvesting strategies. This should make for some really diverse wines.
We’ve heard of some wineries leaving plots until the end of November to harvest, while others picked in mid-October. Some were lucky to harvest their grapes before the heat spikes and rain, while others decided to put up with a large loss of crop in order to have more ripened grapes.
The grapes are in and our spies say they’re very elegant & balanced
After all the challenges of the season it appears that winemakers are very happy with the results. We hear that the red grapes tend to have thick skins and lots of tannins, so look for big, bold reds. The whites should be distinguished by the clarity of the fruit and their balance. The odds makers are saying this should be a great year for Chardonnays and Merlots (especially if you like them to be powerful).
And one final note to the naysayers who’ll tell you that Napa needs warm summers to make great wines. The weather office reports that both 1985 and 1991 were cooler years than 2010 and vintages from both of those years were great. So sit back relax, be a little patient and get ready for some really interesting Napa wines in the years ahead.