In addition to the notes and photos we post below on this page, a copy of our regular Facebook page updates can now be found HERE, on our website, without needing an account, or a user ID, as it is a public page. Click on the photos to see additional pictures and captions via the FB site itself, where you can interface with comments and postings of your own. Warning: you could get distracted; it is addictive.
Bud break has launched early, so we’re really pleased with ourselves that the pruning was complete in mid February. Here are two photos of the 2014 Sangiovese starting its 6 month count down to harvest. The tasting room is in the background of the second shot.
Below is the Zinfandel on 26 February showing the tendrils and clusters that have already formed. With grapes, this year’s crop was already “set” last year. The pruning technique limits the number of canes and the distance between them.
As we sell our last dozen cases of 2008 Zinfandel we thought we’d take advantage of the window of opportunity to offer a three year vertical tasting of this most-favored example of the potential of the varietal here in San Diego County. Not to be outdone, the 2009 Sangiovese is being presented side-by-side with its new 2010 sibling.
Both varieties are grown, produced and bottled on-site here in the Ramona Valley, making them “estate” wines, as is the case with all of our production.
The 2008 Zinfandel has been a good ambassador, and has made many friends. Our philosophy here at Chuparosa Vineyards is to let the wine speak for itself, and many, many folks have become Zin lovers after meeting this wine.
The 2008 Zinfandel is true to its variety: spicy, peppery, ripe and rich. It has blossomed as it aged two years in American Appalachian oak and now three years in the bottle. Some say that a Zinfandel is at its optimum at 5 years of age, and with this particular wine, we’ll have to agree.
Yes, we will miss the ’08 Zin, but stand by — the 2009 and 2010 are giving it a run for its money, developing quite an independent attitude themselves in the bottle, which suits them very well.
As pruning season begins it has been a very dry winter so far, with the typical waist-high weeds being a no-show as of mid-January. We’re providing occasional irrigation cycles to keep the roots alive, with 85 degree afternoons. It makes for most pleasant pruning weather (hat and sunscreen required), but we’ll see if the vines are fooled into an early mid-winter bud break, which would not be welcome. Stay tuned.
For 2013 we can show a very promising vintage aging in the barrel room, as well as a new dedicated Cellar Door building constructed for the sole purpose of introducing Chuparosa Vineyards’ estate produced wines to friends new and old, all of whom become ambassadors of our results.
For 2013 we can feel that the investment of blood, sweat, tears and treasury over the last decade may not have been for naught, but is a sound foundation for something that all of Team Chuparosa can be proud of (and you know who you are). While we have tried to keep all of the blood, tears and treasury contributions to ourselves, we are always impressed how many friends want to show up to contribute the sweat, determination, elbow grease, and encouragement to help make this project successful. For that we feel thankful, flattered, and energized.
We look forward to standing aside to allow the wines to speak for themselves, as we expectantly taste and release each 2013 wine in the years to come.
Here’s to a happy and productive 2014 for all,
Carolyn and Andy Harris
The 2013 harvest was early, hot and compressed. 8.75 tons of grapes were picked and processed from 4.25 acres of estate vineyards over a 3 week period, starting on 30 August with the first pass through the Malbec, and ending on 18 September with the last of the Cab Franc. The squirrels took more than their share of the Sangiovese, which means we’ll have only half of the North Block Blend dry rose’ for 2013 than we have enjoyed from the 2012 harvest. The August heat stroke took its biggest toll on the Zinfandel ever, which means we’ll have another vintage of precious “blood, sweat and tears” for 2013.
There is good news for all of us who fell hard for the first release of the 2011 Malbec this Spring. The 2013 crop was 2.2 tons (triple the yield of the already-sold-out 2011 vintage). The sugar level was moderate at 23.3%; just a bit lower than the 23.7% 2011 numbers, which means we should have another refreshing Summer red, which will contrast with the exuberant 2013 Zinfandel and intense 2013 Sangiovese. The big reds came in at 27.7% for the Zin and 27.2% sugar for our Italian friend, with more-than-decent pH and TA numbers (3.40 / .73 and 3.34 / .67, respectively). This bodes well for our goal of producing balanced wines with true heart and structure.
Many thanks are extended to the Team Chuparosa harvest crew. It’s a true friend who shows up at dawn over and over again until every last cluster is safely fermenting in the winery. We are looking forward to sharing the proof over the next two to three years that it was well worth the effort.
Our northern vineyard consists of three blocks – three varieties of grapes that were chosen and planted with this in mind – a field blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. We were thinking of a red, of course (and more to come on that in a couple of years), but on 3 October 2012 some of each were showing a perfect balance for a rose’. We took advantage of the situation, sprinted the grapes up the hill into the crusher, and immediately into the press.
We like our wines dry, and that’s what you’ll notice with this rose’. It’s a classic refreshing example of what happens if you keep your center of gravity over your feet so you’ll be able to make the most out of any situation – in this instance 48 cases of an estate grown, produced and bottled illustration of determination. Read more about this wine on the “Our Wine” page, and come sample some any weekend at our tasting patio.
Saturday and Sunday (11AM – 5PM)
910 Gem Lane | Ramona, California
UPDATE – Saturday, 12 January : The labels are approved and printed, and our first release of Malbec is available for sale starting today! Read more about it on the “Our Wine” page. It is sunny and calm today in Ramona, so we’re open. We now have a wood fire burning on the patio if we need to take any winter chill off. It’s time to start pruning, so if you don’t see us, we’re over the ridge. Give us a honk and we’ll be right there.
We’d like to thank all the super-nice folks who have found their way to our little tasting and sales patio overlooking the vines over the last several weekends. It has been a pleasure to introduce our wines and the feedback has been encouraging, to say the least.
We are open in January for sampling and sales. Current estate grown, produced and bottled releases available for purchase are the 2008 and 2009 Zinfandel, the 2009 Sangiovese, and now the 2011 Malbec. Learn about the upcoming release of the 2012 North Block Blend Rose’
910 Gem Lane | Ramona CA
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Saturday, 26 January: The drizzle has shut down the patio today. We’re spending the day working on the responses to the County Building Department in preparation for approval of a building permit for the “farm stand”. The building plans process has been seven months so far – but who’s counting? Have a great day, and we’ll see you only if it clears tomorrow – otherwise, next weekend is looking nice.