' Paint Horse Winery

Growing Season

2004 Growing Season

Record breaking warm weather in March got the growing season to an early start, nearly three weeks ahead of a normal year. Early April brought cool weather and drizzle then another recording breaking heat spell in late April. The vines were in full bloom at this point and the heat combined with low cluster counts (as the result of cool spring temperatures in 2003) meant that the harvest size in 2004 was destined to be small. May and June brought more warm weather although July was cooler than normal with lots of fog. There was another warm spell in late August and early September then the weather settled into a typical fall pattern of warm days and cool nights. This mild finish to harvest allowed the Merlot and Cabernet to develop good flavor concentration and  ripe, supple tannins.

Winemaking

Winemaking for these wines combines the best of traditional Bordeaux winemaking and new, modern techniques. The grapes were hand harvested then carefully sorted prior to crushing and destemming. After a cold soaking period the must was fermented with Bordeaux yeast and traditional Bordeaux style screened pump-overs. At the completion of fermentation the wine continued to rest on the skins for an extended maceration to develop richness and complexity. The wine was gently pressed and placed in barrel for malolactic fermentation. The barrels selected were 100% French Oak, 50% were new. The barrels used were all produced by fine Bordeaux coopers that use tight grained, well seasoned oak to handcraft their barrels. The wine was racked several times during aging to develop flavors and integrate tannins.

 

 


 

2005 Growing Season

Bud break was early this year, however there were late rains that continued into April, May and even June which slowed the onset of bloom. Because the soil moisture was high, the vines grew large canopies and vines had to be shoot thinned as well as normal cluster thinning. The crop size was larger than average because the berries were a bit fuller than usual. The summer temperatures were mild and September was abnormally cold. October brought excellent ripening weather which continued into November; this allowed the grapes to have a long ‘hang-time’ without having sugar spikes that can come from heat waves. As a result of this hang-time the wines have good rich flavors without quite as high an alcohol content as in other vintages.

Winemaking

Winemaking for these wines combines the best of traditional Bordeaux winemaking and new, modern techniques. The grapes were hand harvested then carefully sorted prior to crushing and destemming. After a cold soaking period, the must was fermented with Bordeaux yeast and traditional Bordeaux style screened pump-overs. At the completion of fermentation the wine continued to rest on the skins for an extended maceration to develop richness and complexity. The wine was gently pressed and placed in barrel for malolactic fermentation. The barrels selected were 100% French Oak, 50% were new. The barrels used were all produced by fine Bordeaux coopers that use tight grained, well seasoned oak to handcraft their barrels. The wine was racked several times during aging to develop flavors and integrate tannins.


2006 Growing Season

This season was notable for its late start and late finish. Winter rains continued into early April so the vines started growth late but with the soils saturated with water. May was unusually warm and vines bloomed in early June with perfect weather conditions. The weather continued warm and sunny through June and early July. Then mid July there was a ten day long heat wave with days of over 110F. The vines did not suffer since they had gone into the season with lots of water in the soils. August and September were cool slowing the grape ripening. Harvest began to pick up pace when October arrived and most grapes were harvested by the end of October. There were no heat spikes during the harvest so the grapes were able to gradually ripened and developed great flavor and concentration as well as intense color for the Cabernet.


 

2007 Growing Season

The 2007 growing season provided low winter rainfall and a dry spring so vines faced dry soils as they began to grow. Bud break occurred in late March and early April with very little springtime frost. The dry soils hastened vine development and as a result early bloom dates in May. There was cool weather and some wind during bloom so clusters had fewer, smaller berries. These ‘light’ clusters meant 20-30% less crop than normal. The summer was mild with a warm period in late June and early July. A hot spell in late August brought a rapid increase in sugars and harvest began two to three weeks early. Most Chardonnay came in the middle to end of September. Cabernet soon followed in the middle of October. Weather was cool at the end of harvest with a few showers. The quality was high with deep color for red grapes and intense flavors in all varieties. The smaller berry size caused lower crop levels but resulted in excellent quality.

 
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