Harvest Report – Issue #7
We came into spring in good shape from the winter. A cool spring gave us a late start. We went from winter to summer. The vines were exceptionally fruitful at flowering due to the fantastic growing season of 2010 and a mild winter. July and August were remarkably warm and dry. We more then recovered from the late spring start which is unusual.
Sparkling wines came in early due to grapes ripening ahead of normal.
Baco Noir (the King of all grapes) is exceptional this year as it is the first grape to come in and they benefited immensely from this season as they were picked before the fall rains.
Rainy September presented some challenges so we choose to pick ahead of the rain whenever possible choosing to get fresh fruit and preserve the freshness in the wines. This was Henry of Pelham’s 23rd vintage (Yikes, I don’t feel that old!). Having the benefit of working with our estate vineyards and with a team of Bros, wine makers and staff who have experienced a wide variety of harvests together we made decisions that only experience can make. These vintages generally separated the Wineries in terms of quality, consistency and long term focus. I almost cherish them!
The wines are very typical of Niagara. Whites are aromatic, fresh with good acidity. Reds are showing bright fruit as well and are not overly tannic due to the enological ripeness of the fruit. We had good brix (sugar) levels, brown seeds (a measure of ripeness) and great flavours in the grapes. Some potential concentration was lost to rain. I would put this vintage ahead of 08 in general with whites on par with 09 and better for most reds.
Thanks to the stamina of our wine making and grape growing team who dealt with a very compact harvest, long days and nights and times where we had whites and red coming in at the same time for doing such an amazing job. We also brought in extra fruit as the overall harvest was above average in size so it will be a while before the Speck Bros can take a bath as they are filled too.