We are just getting started picking Riesling and we are about 3 weeks behind our usual schedule. The delay in ripening is due to a very cool growing season (it could end up being the coolest on record, see this earlier post on this). We are seeing two additional outcomes from the cool season, high acid and large botrytis infections.
We will have to see how high those acids come in, but I have never experienced acids that high, will they drop by the time we pick? can we rebalance with sugar? Will we have to de-acidify? Time will tell.
Botrytis is spreading quickly, especially in the Yakima Valley – big pad in the back for splitting our sourcing between warmer climate Riesling (Wallula Vineyard) and the Yakima Valley; it will really work as a good insurance policy this year. We usually don’t have much botrytis in Washington (at its best, botrytis is also called noble rot) and I look for it as a complexity agent. Well, we are getting it big this year but I that does not make me that happy. Why? -> a lot of botrytis brings a few winemaking issues including very low yields, high oxidation, off aromas and can lead on filtration nightmares. Awesome, no? we will also have to see when we bring the grapes in what we can do at the winery to mitigate those winemaking issues – it will add cost, no doubt.
At this point we have to compromise between the high acids, the botrytis, the low yields etc… I really feel like we have been teleported to Germany for one year.