Blending The 2021 Vintage

April 7th, 2022

I am excited to share the most recent blending of the 2021 Hesperian Wines.

Since acquiring Kitoko Vineyard in 2010, I have worked hard to improve the vineyard. I started by re-training the vines from a quadrilateral to a cordon system which is more appropriate to the growing conditions of Atlas Peak’s rocky soils . Watering also changed a lot through the years as I noticed the vines needed more water to develop more harmonious tannins. I also started fertilizing a bit more (but still very small amounts) to compensate for the poor soils. All this resulted in happier vines, more in balance with their environment and thus producing more balanced wines. The higher watering created slightly bigger berries that made for juicer wines as the overload of tannins that tend to come with my growing conditions was kept more in balance. The vines are also 10 years older then when I started; they are now 22 years old which means they are mature and have larger roots systems that reflect the terroir better. The fruit to canopy ratio is more in balance too. I also sell less fruit now which allows me to harvest larger quantities of fruit. I harvest small lots, from 2 to 5 tons, at various levels of ripeness from my various blocks that have different slopes, sun exposure and wind pressure. Each vineyard lot is fermented separately and then aged separately in barrel. I also use three fermentation techniques now: pump-overs, punch downs and barrel fermentations. I have many small lots with different textures and aromas which allows me to craft more nuanced, complete, complex and layered wines

I used to blend 6 months before bottling and typically the wines were made up of two or three lots. For the 2021 vintage I blended 5 months after harvest or 15 months before bottling. It was a much more difficult proposition because I have to anticipate much further in time how tannins will  evolve but also because of the many small lots I now have. The creative experience is stressful for me, I carry it with me throughout the day and everyday until I get it right and I can be very unhappy and cranky until I get it right. In 2021 each of the 3 Hesperian wines are made up of seven different lots. This meant I had to do many trials until I was satisfied. I am now very happy with the result of my blends. The various components of each wines will be racked together and then put back to barrel until July 2023. I will keep a close watch of their evolution in barrels to make sure no deviations develops and that they remain perfect until bottling.

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