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Napa Valley Vintage Report 2011

by winemaker Marc Gagnon / Bryant Family

2010 Vintage

Budbreak began in the last week of March at Bryant. It was about 2-3 weeks later than an average year.  Flowering and fruit set followed similarly postponed 2-3 weeks as the weather remained cool through the spring and into the heart of the growing season. With only a few heat spikes in August and September. The berries were small in size and reached an optimal ripeness steadily. At the estate, all blocks were picked within the third week of October.  The non-estate Bettina blocks began to be picked the first of October through the end of the third week of October. 

The overall long cool growing season produced wines of intense density along a brooding more dark fruit and savory spectrum while beautifully expressing varietal nuance and complexity.

 

2011 Vintage

The 2011 vintage had a similarly late bud-break to 2010 being in the last week of March.  Onset of bloom pushed back to the end of May and, due to varying cool and hot weather, heavy shatter occurred – reducing yields between 25-35%.  Temperatures during the growing season were on par with the preceding 2009 and 2010 vintages.  With heavy shatter and another cool year expected to unfold, cluster and canopy management was of utmost importance to maximize photosynthesis and produce optimal quality in the fruit. 

Patience and intense vineyard management was rewarded as we picked our estate over two weeks: October 17th to November 2nd.  The expressions of the different terroirs of our non-estate vineyards were intensified in 2011, with harvest starting in the warmer sites as early as October 3rd, and the cooler sites as late as November 3rd.

I find the wines of 2011 with an elegance and grace that harks back to earlier years of Napa Valley; wines that I originally fell in love with and drew me to this region.  I love the remarkable freshness and enhanced savory aspects that the 2011s bring in spades and will carry them through their undeniably long lives.

 

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